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                                                                                 - Roberta Prescott


 

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NEWSLETTERS


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

Why does the expression “political savvy” have a bad rap?
Because people think they will be perceived as manipulative or looking out for number one.

Having “political savvy” should be considered a compliment. It is the unwritten rules of the business road. It’s about building working relationships so that you get things done.

If you are politically astute others will:
     Have a high level of confidence in your competence
     Want you on their team / want to work on your team
     Drop other projects and make yours a priority
     Intercede for you in a difficult decision
      Recommend you for a promotion

Being “politically savvy” has two key elements. They are:
     1. Be Business Smart
     2. Build a Network of Relationships

This issue focuses on BEING BUSINESS SMART including Thinking and acting from a corporate point of view and Understanding the expectations and needs of your boss.

Being business smart is not about how you do your job. It’s about how you think strategically about your job and how it fits into overall corporate goals.

THINK AND ACT FROM A CORPORATE POINT OF VEW
      What are the business pressures on your company and your
        boss, especially those that spill down to your area / job /team?
     What are the competition and general marketplace doing that
       affect your company’s sales / earnings / growth / profits?
     
 What does your area / division contribute to the bottom line?

     What are the corporate mantras / newest messages? And how
       are they being quoted in print and other media?

     What business issues are your internal and external
       customers facing?

     How does your project add value to the business?
     What are the political minefields to avoid?

UNDERSTAND THE EXPECTATIONS AND NEEDS OF YOUR BOSS
Everyone has a boss, and managing up is a part of your job. To build an effective working relationship ask yourself …"
     What pressures are working on your boss? Delivery? Quality?
       Profit? Delivering extraordinary customer service?

     What is his or her work style? Impatience (I want it
       yesterday)?
       Decision-making by consensus? Quick to conflict? Laid back?

     How does he or she like to receive information? Thirty
       thousand feet overview with bullets? Lots of detail? Trusts you
       to know the details and just wants the bottom line?
     How hard will you be pushed for results?
     How do others perceive your boss?

Once your analysis is complete choose behaviors that add value.

DO
     Make sure your boss gets critical information that prevents
       him or her from getting blindsided.
     Provide the data that needs to be presented up the food chain.
     Contribute recommendations and solutions, not just problems.
     Build connections with other departments.
     Be an advocate of your boss’s policies.
     Advertise success in a low key way.
      Be positive in the way you present information.
            “Here’s what I want to do, and here’s why.”

            "The issue is … and here’s what I’m doing to fix it.”

DON’T
     Skip levels
     Make assumptions or decisions without key information
      Push unwanted or discarded ideas forward

     Hold back until you can give faultless results. Take a risk. No
       one is perfect. Situations change, and you need to be flexible
       enough to change with them.
     Be defensive. If your manager pushes you on deadlines
       or metrics, think about the business pressures that are
       causing the push. Rather than “It can’t be done.” Your
       manager needs to hear:
 “The best case delivery date is ... The fallback delivery
                  date is “
           “This is what we CAN give you in three weeks … “

Being “politically savvy” is a compliment when, in an ethical way, you can build influence and trust and get things done. You will build lasting relationships that will have a positive impact on your career.

© The Prescott Group

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