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                                                                                 - Roberta Prescott


 

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NEWSLETTERS


"POLITICAL SAVVY: A COMPLIMENT OR AN INSULT?" - Part Two
By Roberta Prescott

In Part One I talked about the expression “Political Savvy” having a bad rap because people think they will be perceived as manipulative or looking out for number one.  Yet having “political savvy” should be considered a compliment because it is the unwritten rules of the business road.  It’s about building working relationships so that you get things done.

Part One focused on BEING BUSINESS SMART including Thinking and acting from a corporate point of view and Understanding the expectations and needs of your boss.  (See Newsletter Archives at http://www.theprescottgroup.com/).

Part Two focuses on the other key element of having “political savvy” --

BUILDING A NETWORK OF RELATIONSHIPS.

Cultivating contacts, nurturing alliances (whether in the next cubicle or the next building) and developing productive partnerships will build trust and influence.  You can establish rapport without having to become anyone’s best friend.

CREATE A LIST OF POTENTIAL STRATEGIC RELATIONSHIPS

  • Find a mentor who can help you understand who you need in your network.
  • Whom do you know?  Who knows you?
  • Notice who are the “go to” individuals.
  • Observe the informal unrecorded network in your organization.  This could be individuals who are connected through:
    • Old school ties
    • Commuting together
    • Children’s sports activities
    • Community service
    • Hobbies / interests

DEVELOP SOME NETWORKING PATHWAYS

  • Serve on a committee that showcases your skills.
  • Choose high visibility assignments.
  • Meet people beyond your cubicle / department.
  • Attend leadership seminars, and reconnect with fellow participants.
  • Seek out people in other departments with whom you have common ground.
  • Volunteer for a community project sponsored by your company.
  • Chat with others in line at the cafeteria or coffeepot.
  • Pay attention to all levels.
  • Go to company social events.

NURTURE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

  • Think of building relationships as a long term activity.  Not just to be done when you need something.  Being genuine and authentic rather than opportunistic is the key.
  • Know that most relationships are two-way.  You need to give as well as receive by:
    • Supporting others’ projects and ideas.
    • Being generous with time and praise.  Publicly giving credit to someone in a meeting costs so little and buys so much.
    • Saying “Thank you”.  It goes a long way.  e.g. , “I appreciate the extra time you gave to this project.  I know you had a lot on your plate and it meant a great deal to me.”
    • Offering development opportunities.
    • Becoming an information resource for others.

Tips:  Don’t:

  • Always have an agenda.
  • Use your relationships to obviously promote yourself.
  • Break a promise.

DEVELOP NETWORKING SKILLS

  • Master the one-liner for casual hallway or elevator conversations.  e.g.,
    • “Congratulations on your new assignment.”
    • “How was your trip / seminar / meeting?”
    • “Mark just got the official news of his promotion. Can you join us to celebrate?”
    • “Did you see the game last night?”
    • “Did you see what the market did today?”
    • “Great presentation.”

Tips:  Don’t:

    • Discuss confidential information in public.
    • Try to pin down commitments.
    • Interrupt if they’re talking with someone else.
    • Attempt to accomplish it all in one go.

Being “politically savvy” by building good working relationships in an ethical way will help you build influence and trust, get things done and have a positive impact on your career.

 

© The Prescott Group

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