Surviving office politics: Play to win

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training,Office Politics,Workplace Communication,Your Office Coach

"Z" offers insights into what it really takes to get ahead. This 25-year veteran of the corporate battlefield has climbed the ranks to head a $100 million information services company. We have agreed to protect Z's identity in the return for his promise to hold nothing back.

People who fail come in all shapes and sizes. In my years in business, I've seen them all. Some rose through the ranks quickly, only to stall and drop for good like punctured balloons. Some were geniuses who perennially were underappreciated and not rewarded enough. But most were simply hard-working people with good ideas and instincts who got permanently stuck in ruts.

I've also seen a handful of people who—regardless of education, intelligence, manners, appearance or other obvious factors—rose steadily through the ranks and then stayed on top through fat and lean times. They were the type who, either consciously or instinctively, knew the art of political survival.

These people didn't get ahead as a result of immoral or amoral behavior. Don't think that for a minute. They succeeded by throwing out an overblown, overly polite crippling world view that keeps most of today's executives tripping over themselves to avoid offending other people.

Early in my career, I began watching people around me. What I found, in careers both big and small, is that those who succeed have that ability to question and discard some, if not all, of the rules that ensnare and ultimately immobilize others.

Obviously, you already have considerable political skills. The key question to ask yourself is whether those skills can take you onward and upward from here. The Black Book of Executive Politics

Our society teaches us to blindly accept hundreds of rules. These strictures have been so ingrained in us since childhood that we don't even feel the crippling limitations they impose on our daily lives. Consider the following "rules":

  • There are two sides to every question. (The fact is, sometimes you're right and the other side is wrong. The opposite can also be true.)
  • Always insist on getting credit for your ideas—and on giving credit to others for their ideas. (Letting other people use your ideas can be more advantageous to you than to them if you "cash in" on the favor later on. And I've noticed that many other people have good ideas they don't mind lending.)
  • Work hard and success will invariably follow. (No one will notice hard work unless you make sure they do.)
  • Success results from teamwork and cooperation. (The fact is, success often follows periods of conflict and discord.)
  • The best ideas occur when everyone has a chance to contribute. (This is bunk; some of the greatest ideas in history have come from one visionary thinker.)
  • To get people to work hard, you have to get them to like their jobs—or like you. (A quick glance at corporate history disproves this one. Lee Iacocca, for example, was not popular with his subordinates.)
  • It takes time to come back after a failure. (In reality, stunning successes often follow stunning failures—provided a winning mind-set is at work.)
  • Behave consistently if you want other people to respect you. (People won't know you think a situation is threatening unless you get a little excited from time to time.)
  • People will like you more if you fit in. (In reality, it is differences that win respect and set you apart; You're smarter, better connected, faster at making decisions and so on.)
  • The best way to deal with people is to treat them as you would like to be treated. (Sure it's the Golden Rule, but nine times out of ten people would like to be treated differently from the way you would.)

Do these opinions sound like the mental baggage you've been lugging around? Have they been slowing you down? If so, good. We've got something to work with.

If I can get you to toss out or just bend one or two of the stale, outmoded, ultimately useless ideas I just mentioned I guarantee your career will change in ways you'll hardly believe.

You've got to have a little faith in me—and a lot of faith in yourself. But if you're ready to change your life and your career, read on and let's get started.

Become one of the sharpest political operatives ever to outfox an adversary, build an intra-company constituency, beguile a board of directors and take a company into a more profitable future in The Black Book of Executive Politics

People like to call company politics a "game." But, like it or not, it's a game you have to play if you want to survive and succeed. What's more—in view of the enormously high stakes—it's a game you'd better know how to play well.

The Black Book of Executive Politics tells you have, giving you the moves on offense and defense to prosper in the all-too-real world. The Black Book will help you progress from merely competent to outstandingly effective.

This priceless volume contains 43 street-smart hints, tips, shortcuts, ploys, strategies and approaches for surviving—and making it big—in the company political arena. How to defend yourself. How to get an edge on adversaries. How to win allies. How to work the system. How to lead. How to stay on top.

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