Saturday, December 15, 2007


Are you and your good ideas going to survive the invetible counter-coalitions? In Get Them on Your Side, Samuel B. Bacharach writes about counter-coalitions and what to do about them.

It's More Than Strategy and Tactics
Bacharach writes the following:

"Effective coalition leadership isn't only about getting the strategy and tactics right. There are two important dynamics that political competence demands: You have to be aware of counter-coalitions and the insularity within your own coalition. Failure to be aware of counter-coalitions and of the tendency of coalitions to become insulated can derail the most effective leader. Failure to be aware of these two forces will guarantee that your coalition will be a short-term phenomenon, unable to get results over the long term."
Success Won't Shield You
Bacharach writes the following:
"It is inevitable that counter-coalitions will emerge. Leaders of counter-coalitions may believe that their agenda is superior to yours. You may think that over time others will come around to seeing things your way. You might hope that as your agenda becomes successful, that success will shield you from criticism. The reality is that there are always critics and multiple perspectives on any issue. It is not a question of "if," but of "when" a counter-coalition will emerge."
Understand Opposing Perspectives
Bacharach writes the following:
"Politically competent leaders recognize the inevitability of counter-coalitions. They understand that by building their coalition, a counterforce will likely surface. In other words, the very success of your effort, could, in fact, make you more vulnerable to challenging counterforces. Your responsibility is to recognize the existence of counter-coalitions. You need to understand the opposing perspectives, rather than brush them off as inconsequential, and leverage the strength of your coalition to pre-empt any efforts to derail your agenda."
Monitor and Assess Counter-Coalitions
Bacharach writes the following:
"Preparing for and responding to counter-coalitions is easier said than done. Counter-coalitions will emerge and their potential power is easy to underestimate. More often than not, you will dismiss their potency until it is too late. You need to have people out there, monitoring dissenting activity. You need to interpret activity of counter-coalitions, understand their aguments, and assess their strength -- and their potential strength."

Key Take Aways

  • Assume counter-coalitions happen. If you assume otherwise, you'll be flying blind.
  • Embrace counter-coalitions as an integral part of the leadership landscape. This helps you prepare for the worst, while you hope for the best.
  • Maintain a strong vantage point. A strong vantage point comes from having a wide span of awareness and considering multiple perspectives.

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