Politics in Business: You Gotta Love It
How often have you felt that business would be much easier if it wasn’t for the politics?
But the reality is that politics in business is here to stay — because different people will always have different objectives. And that’s the crux of the issue. Different objectives.
The less clear the organizational values and visions/mission are for an organization — the more likely you will see politics — because there isn’t a clear rallying point supported by agreed behaviours.
Yet, even in an organization that has clarity, politics arise as conflicting priorities get involved.
So how do you embrace your internal politician to get things done?
My Perspective: Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind when navigating the political battlefield.
- Understand the players: Who are the players that will be affected by your initiative? How might they be affected? When should you start to get them involved and onside? Who will be the key decision-makers?
- Understand the impact of your initiative: What will your project take resources away from? What initiatives will benefit?
- Understand your leverage: How can you initiative help other achieve their objectives? How can you make your project mutually beneficial?
- Understand your enemy: Get all the issues out on the open early. Encourage debate and discussion. This is an opportunity to understand what the problems are and have the opportunity to address any issues early versus having them go underground and come back later and bite you.
- Understand the art of the possible: Compromise can be a first step towards success. Don’t insist that it has to be all or nothing. Sometimes you can get enough buy-in to do a test or trail or even a partial implementation — then use the initial positive results to convince the hold-outs.
- Understand the big picture: Overall success comes from developing alignment across multiple stakeholder groups.. Communicate how your initiative or idea is aligned with the overall goals of the organization and can support their objectives. Work with people who might object to see what modifications are needed to get them on-board.
It’s easy to use the excuse that politics are holding you back — but if you embrace your inner politician in a positive way — you may find that great results are just around the corner.