Flynn Heath Holt's New Book, The Influence Effect, Offers Unique Solution to Office Politics Barrier for Women

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New research reveals five strategies for women to bust through gender barriers

We women do not like unbridled competition, backroom deals, or trading favors. We favor collaboration, inclusion, and win-win outcomes. The distinctive missing link is influence.

In the business world, what’s one thing that men and women both think men are better at doing? Office politics. And this is holding women back.

That’s according to research done by New York Times bestselling authors of the new book, "The Influence Effect: A New Path to Power for Women Leaders," published by Berrett-Koehler and released today. The Influence Effect is now available on Amazon and at all major booksellers.

The authors of New York Times bestseller "Break Your Own Rules" combine years of experience coaching more than 10,000 female executives with original research in The Influence Effect—one of the first books to offer a unique solution to the uncomfortable subject of office politics for women.

Grounded in original studies, the women at leadership firm Flynn Heath Holt (FHH) reveal why women struggle with office politicking, and share practical tools to move them beyond political games to strategies of influence.

“Studies show that imitating male behavior doesn't translate to professional advancement for women. We women do not like unbridled competition, backroom deals, or trading favors. We favor collaboration, inclusion, and win-win outcomes. The distinctive missing link is influence,” explains lead author Kathryn Heath, founding partner of FHH.

The authors conducted executive interviews and reviewed several thousand 360-degree feedback reports, and discovered why both men and women thought men were more innately skilled at office politics:

  • Women and men define politics differently.
  • Women are judged more harshly than men when engaging in office politics.
  • Lack of access to sponsors puts women at a disadvantage.
  • Women and men have differing approaches to power and influence: collaboration vs. competition.

The term “Influence Effect” describes the positive lift that women experience as they use influence to make voices heard, create powerful connections, and drive agendas. The book outlines five big strategies designed for women to use to for gaining an “influence effect”:

  • The Power of the Informal helps women work behind the scenes to gain support from colleagues and strengthen relationships using informal networks and power.
  • Relationship Maps show them how to look around and identify key stakeholders—decision makers, influencers, and adversaries—to secure strategic connections that make political maneuvering less complex.
  • Scenario Thinking helps them identify the nuanced options in a situation, remain two moves ahead in the political process, and manage the dynamics of gaining formal support when it matters most.
  • Influence Loops is a systematic approach for enrolling others in our ideas, bringing them on board, and getting their buy-in—and doing it over and over.
  • Momentum describes how to use early wins to create a tipping point of support as they begin to accumulate influence.

Put together, these strategies produce an empowering effect that promises to help women achieve the success they want.

"The Influence Effect" has already received rave reviews:

  • "Influence is critical in getting to the C-suite. The strategies offered in 'The Influence Effect' highlight the value of influence and how female executives can achieve it—without sacrificing their authentic selves." —Peter Grauer, Chairman of Bloomberg LP and Founding Chairman of U.S. 30% Club
  • "Most books out there tell women how to act like men. How to compete. How to do backroom deals. But women are collaborative. 'The Influence Effect' knows this. It is one of the only books I have read that leverages the unique strengths and approaches of women to give their careers (and organizations) a new path forward." —Susan Penfield, Executive Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • "'The Influence Effect' is a must-read—a captivating blend of real stories, research, practical advice, and humor. It's an essential and powerful tool for all women interested in simplifying the path to success." —Claire Shipman, Journalist and Co-Author of Womenomics and The Confidence Code
  • "Who wins when we close the gaps between men and women? Everyone. Thank you, Flynn Heath Holt Leadership, for focusing on ‘building influence’ as the way forward. I recommend 'The Influence Effect' to every leader who wants fast clarity on what's at stake—and how to make the outcomes much better for people, better for business, and better for the world." —Michael C. Bush, CEO, Great Place to Work

"The Influence Effect" goes toward helping the authors, who have held high-powered positions at organizations such as Time Life, First Union (now Wells Fargo), and University of North Carolina-Charlotte, achieve their “red suit vision”—having women make up at least 30 percent of all top leadership positions in corporate America by the year 2025.

For more information, visit

The Influence Effect
By Kathryn Heath, Jill Flynn, Diana Faison, and Mary Davis Holt
Berrett Koehler Publishing
Nov. 6, 2017
216 pages
Paperback, $19.95; Kindle, $14.72
ISBN-10: 1523082763
ISBN-13: 978-1523082766

About the Authors
All four authors of The Influence Effect: A New Path to Power for Women Leaders are consultants at Flynn Heath Holt, a firm dedicated to moving women leaders forward faster. They are inspired by their Red Suit Vision, which calls for women to make up a minimum of 30 percent of all top leadership positions in corporate America by the year 2025.

Kathryn Heath, Ph.D., is a founding partner at Flynn Heath Holt. She serves as a developer of leadership programs, coach, and training designer. One of the hallmarks of Kathryn’s work is addressing organizations’ specific business targets through customized programs that move women forward faster.

Jill Flynn, M.Ed., is a founding partner at Flynn Heath Holt. She specializes in partnering with corporate clients to design and implement tailored strategies that result in higher retention and promotion rates for their women leaders. Jill is widely recognized for her coaching, training, and consulting expertise, and has a roster of happy clients.

Diana Faison, M.Ed., is a partner at Flynn Heath Holt with over twenty years of expertise in the fields of leadership training, executive coaching, and performance consulting. Her passion for empowering the next generation of female leaders has led her to coach and design programs targeted toward millennials.

Mary Davis Holt, MBA, is a senior consultant at Flynn Heath Holt. She is an executive coach and keynote speaker on business, women, and leadership. As an in-demand voice, Mary shares her hard-won insights and promotes the firm’s new rules for success to a wide range of audiences.

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