Office Politics: Survival of the Savvy

Political savvy is a vital competence for any executive, but it’s not taught
in leadership or grad school courses. In fact, the term “office politics” has
received a bad rap. (Words like “Machiavellian,” “manipulative” and
“conspiratorial” come to mind.)

Tales of political sabotage, power plays and turf wars are part of any
organization’s history. Nonetheless, political competence is the one skill
everyone wishes to have more of—but no one talks about it.

Until recently, few books explained how to use political competence to build
one’s career, improve a team’s results or boost the company’s bottom line.
Samuel B. Bacharach, director of Cornell University’s Institute for Workplace
Studies, recently published Get Them on Your Side. Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman have written Survival of the Savvy: High-Integrity Political Tactics for Career and Company Success.

Political competence is the “ability to understand what you can and cannot
control, when to take action, who is going to resist your agenda, and whom you need on your side. It’s about knowing how to map the political terrain and get others on your side, as well as lead coalitions
,” according to Prof. Bacharach.

Many individuals have good ideas that, if implemented, could yield positive
results for their companies. Sometimes, these ideas fall flat because the
leaders who propose them cannot gain support from key people.


The full, 2000 word article discusses these concepts:

Defining Political Savvy
Ignore at Your Own Risk
Three Phases of Political Competence
    1. Map Your Political Terrain
    2. Get Others on Your Side
    3. Make Things Happen
The Political Analyst
The Consensus Builder
Reducing Risk through Politics
The Politically Competent Leader
Two Political Styles
Organizational Savvy Continuum

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