Office Politics

by Erik Sorenson | May 11, 2009

  • My Vault

Who isn’t worried about their job rightnow?  No matter how high up on theorganization chart, any executive who isn’t looking over his or her shoulder thesedays needs a reality check.  We areall vulnerable in this kind of economic turmoil and with unprecedented businesschanges likely in 2009.  It seemslike an excellent time to brush off the lists of do’s and don’ts in theimportant and still-popular game of Office Politics.

Do:

·       Understand where the power is, how decisions are made

·       Know the mission & priorities of your operation

·       Volunteer to champion new projects

·       Appreciate the culture of your operation and adapt to it

·       Communicate your successes assertively

·       Accept responsibility for mistakes quickly

Don’t:

·       Point fingers (“those who live in glass houses …”)

·       Complain (people will listen politely but no one wants to hear)

·       Dwell in the past

·       Advance your own career by hurting the business or harming colleagues

·       Second-guess decisions already made

This last one is critical, especially in adifficult, fast-moving environment brought on by the current economicclimate.  In a new book aboutcareer success (There’s no Elevator tothe Top by Umesh Ramakrishnan) the author quotes Coke CEO Terry Marks whosays:  “When we break huddle, whenwe leave there, everybody runs the play. If the quarterback thinks you’re running a post and you run a curl,you’re going to have an interception. You’ve let everybody else around you down, not just yourself.”

Even worse is the co-worker who breaks huddleand runs over to the sideline to complain about the play to the coach or otherteam members.   Alsoproblematic is the player who is still complaining in the second half of a gameabout a play run in the first quarter. Not only will it turn teammates against him, the behavior runs a seriousrisk of screwing up the next play called and the one after that.

I know some “free thinkers” in the careerspace wish for a less dogmatic set of principles but sometimes the truth is thetruth.  Human nature really doesn’tchange and the fundamentals of good teamwork are eternal.

Filed Under: Workplace Issues

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