From the likes of several recent conversations, it appears that Politics 101 needs to be taught in business school as one of the skills necessary to survive in business. Picture 25 students being lectured to on the proper way to stab someone in the back, cut another's career off at the knees, or put someone's head on the chopping block. Mind you, this is all being done as your reputation goes down the drain for lack of productivity, being two-faced, or just ignoring the basic tenets of conducting business.
Yes, there is a need for jockeying for position within a firm. Senior execs shoot for the one CEO or presidential position, managers must make friends with multiple departments or key parties to insure they increase the odds of "moving on up." Unfortunately, this jockeying for position often seems to be at the expense of others and the organization as a whole. In the firestorms that have stumbled across my ears, the parties trying to appear above the crowd are in fact losing credibility at every turn and the unprofessionalism is spreading like wildfire.
How often, when the term “politics” is used in conversation to discuss government issues, is the context positive? Not often. Then why do these same games get used between individuals and corporations like a food-fight party in "Animal House." The reality is, good management and solid leadership know the difference between using what you have (skills, talent, flexibility, passion, intelligence) and playing the political game.
1. Work with firms that play the game poorly. It is as easily said as done. It's a matter of choice.
2. Get involved in the "mess." It's just that .... a waste of time and effort.
3. Sleep with the enemy. Stay as far away as possible from the battles.
1. Move your career, business, or organization forward by producing profits, changing your firm, or being the leader of the pack.
2. Keep your eyes and ears open. The people on the move are often targets of the ambush, and you cannot win if you're not sure who the enemy is.
3. Make sure you're with friends and in an organization that rewards producers. It's a no brainer.
Yeah, it's true—some people always seem to come out on top. Witness former President Clinton. The game is just that—a game. It involves relationships, people, tempers, and passions. Learn to play the game and win from both a personal and professional vantage point, as the game of life may also keep score.
© MMI David & Lorrie Goldsmith
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