do I navigate my ideas through the corporate minefields?"
-- IT Professional.
This is certainly the right kind of question.
Too many bright people never even think of it. They just develop
their idea, research it well, present it well and hope upper
management does the right thing.
Navigating ideas through the system is how the Political Savvy deal with ideas. Their compass is
ethical influence and their north star is
sticking with what is in the best interest of the business
as a whole.
The Political Savvvy approach starts with
the OPMT (Organizational Politics Mapping
Technique) which maps out the influence terrain. They build
support for their idea using a systematic informal
process and tools like the 51% Guide, Agenda
Linking and Credibility Pathing.
Using a Plan-Act-Plan-Act approach, they
systematically spot possible mines or obstacles and flow around
them using their networks.
These strategies are central to the Savvy
Advantage and are experienced in the Gateway Experience
seminar as discussed in the Political Savvy book.
do I avoid becoming victimized by corporate politics?"
-- Marketing Manager
Often, people can do a great job in working
with clients, only to find they have been outmaneuvered in
getting a promotion by an unethical peer who sold less but
did a better job of buttering up the boss back at the office.
Another all too common example is when the boss steals the credit for an idea that a subordinate originated.
Our work strongly supports the finding that
those who try to avoid entering the influence areana because
of the strong negative stereotype associated with politics
are the ones most likely to become victimized by them.
The Political Savvy are seldom victims. First
they have the networks throughout the organization that keep
them 'in the loop' of what is really going on behind the scences
and who is doing what to whom.
Second, the only creature that sharks avoid
is the porpoise. They have less teeth but can outmaneuver
and even hammer a shark. The parallel in organizations is
that the Political Savvy are like the porpoise. They can swim
with the sharks but are and are seldom victimized by them.
Political Savvy products show how to use ethical
positive practices to best deal with sharks and avoid being
victimized by negative organizational politics.
Ethics is Power
politics sounds like an oxymoron. Does it really work?"
-- Financial Director
Yes. Like most people we originally considered
ethical behavior as a 'shouldism', an obligation to do the
right thing. However, individuals identified as political savvy
by those who knew them recognized that operating ethically
is not only the right thing to do, it also increased their
influence and impact in the organization.
Other talented people prefer to work with
someone who is ethical. There are no hidden agendas to worry
about. They know they will be treated fairly and don't have
to watch their back.
Upper management is more willing to listen
to someone with an ethical reputation because they know the
persons is operating in the best interest of the business.
As a result of these types of issues [see the 'ethics is power'
page on this website] an ethical person's reputation or 'rep'
grows in the organization. The higher ones' rep the more influence
they tend to have. Therefore they are better able to get their
ideas across and make an impact.
It is an unfortunate misnomer that a self
serving 'shark' who consistently cuts corners can be more
The Savvy Advantage shows how being an active ethical influencer actually has greater performance and greater career success than either 'sharks' or political avoiders.
"Shouldn't the merits of my work speak for itself? Why
should I have to schmooze in order to be successful"--
Research and Development professional.
In the ideal capitalistic world the organization
should operate as a pure rational meritocracy. In that ideal
state the rational merits of one's work should be both necessary
and sufficient to determine one's success.
However, as the overwhelming amount of data
in our research supports, organizations are not purely rational
systems operating purely by rational rules. Organizations
are human systems that operate by the rules of human nature.
Human nature is more than rational. Courage,
heart, trust, commitment, etc. are aspects of human nature
that are not just rational and are vital for company success.
The Political Savvy view organizations as
human systems and work with the grain of human nature when
influencing the business. As a result the general operating
assumption of the Political Savvy is that the merit of ones'
work is necessary but often not sufficient to ensure success.
Therefore every good idea needs the originator to initiate
leadership to influence the system in a political savvy way
to maximize the odds of success.
The mindset and the tool set included in the
Savvy Advantage help people ensure the merits of their work
receives the treatment they deserve.
Self-Serving / Machiavellian
"I work for a self serving (Machiavellian) boss. Is there
any thing I can do it about it"-- Office
Too many people believe all they can do is take it. While it is a difficult situation, one is not entirely helpless.
The Political Savvy have several options at
their disposal. They might look to be on as many cross functional
teams as possible. Connections made on these teams can provide
routes to laterally move out from under their current boss.
Supporting the part of the boss's agenda that
one believes is in the best interest of the business gives
one a way to still contribute as they wait for an opportunity
to get out from under.
Additionally the Political Savvy use their
existing networks to find opportunities to work on tasks that
can lead to working for another boss.
If the boss is truly a manipulative tyrant then the boss is bad for the organization as well as subordinates. The Political Savvy will look for ethical and savvy ways to get the true nature of the boss known to those higher up in the organization.
There are other possible actions to take that
deal with this type of tough situation including allowing
such bosses to do themselves in. The Savvy Advantage provides
a range of options.
"How do I survive the daily soap opera of office politics?"
-- Office Worker.
People sometimes confuse office politics with organizational politics. When this occurs advice is often more misleading than leading one to be effective.
Our work demonstrates that while there is some overlap there is a clear difference between office and organizational politics.
Office politics concerns itself with the daily
jostling for management favoritism, peer one upmanship, and
boss's petty power plays over subordinates. At this level
interpersonal skills, and micro tactics can be very useful.
Yet surviving the daily soap opera seldom
has much to do with influencing major decisions in the larger
The Politcal Savvy were found to deal with petty office politics by often just ignoring them. Their focus is on larger issues and their ethical behavior helps keep them from losing focus and getting caught up in the tar baby of office politics.
The Savvy Advantage helps people see the larger picture while keeping from being damaged by local office politics.