Home » Archive » Yes (and other lies): Know thy enemy

, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

Every new seat at the power table must weather the intense scrutiny of all ordained power holders.

Perched precariously between a growing power holder and the ensconced, legacy power holders – every neophyte endures just one important question: Are you valuable to me? While attempting to answer that question, never underestimate the usefulness of the word “yes”.

“Yes” is unique. It is one of the few remaining plastic but still potent words we’ve got. “Yes” assuages bloated egos like no other word in the English language and can mean anything from unconditional consent to not opposed.

Fortunately not opposed is still understood to mean unanimous support and it will be your conveyor belt, transporting formidable foes into the lukewarm waters of indifference. If everyone at the table believes you are useful to them personally, or at least not opposed to their opinions, they will languish in apathy until disturbed.

While this initial power dynamic is easily recognized; regularly overlooked is the need to choose enemies from among the hot-tubbers.

Too few of us are ready to admit that, right down to the smallest working unit, there is competition at work. You have allies and enemies. Being one who intends to climb into power, you must know that power is a finite good. To get some, you take some. And everyone you take it from will be angry.

The trick is that while everyone is focused on the winning and everyone fears the losing, almost everybody forgets about not winning. You should care about this. These are power holders who are hungry for more that won’t win. They’ll make a play and it’ll fall flat. You want to be there when that happens. You want this to happen to your banker.

Why? Because every power holder, including your banker, is in the category of enemy. You are in the business of taking. No one likes that. But being in this category is independent of anyone realizing this is true and if you’re good, no one will.

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