Okay, I know you are not running for office, in the office, but what if you were? As you rise through the ranks, the more political your job will become. It doesn’t matter that you don’t like it — it is simply a fact of organisational life.
And, I don’t mean all the negative office politics; what I mean is the need to take a strategic approach to making things happen through the social network of your organisation. At senior levels, right and wrong start to diverge from fact and enter the realm of opinion — often widely contested opinion.
This means that, as a senior manager, you need to become an opinion former — someone who is out there pressing flesh and gaining support for your version of the right solution. Ideas vie for attention and compete vigorously. The more support you can win over from the opposition, the higher the probability that you will succeed.
Of course, this means that you have got to have a clear vision of the right policy to adopt, and the wherewithal and courage to make it happen.
And here I have to own up to a desire to really stretch your thinking. If you are serious about being successful in your organisation, you really do need to get a firm idea about how the organisation and the people who inhabit it should change. You need a vision of the future to captivate and enthrall your voters. Those who simply do their job, keep their heads down, and go home at the end of the day — well, that is okay, but this article is not for you. This article is for those who aspire to becoming elected to high office.
So, if you decide you need to create a political campaign to drive forward your vision (or objective), what can you do? Think like a politician for a start.
A successful politician might start by asking themselves these questions…
- What issues are the voters concerned about? Replace “voters” with “powerful people”.
- What issues are the voters concerned about? This time, replace “voters” with “employees”.
- What can I do to address these concerns?
- How are my competitors trying to woo these voters?
- How can I differentiate myself from the opposition?
The answers to these lead into another set of challenging questions…
- What is my manifesto? See also Corporate Manifesto.
- How does my manifesto address the voters’ concerns?
- Why is my policy better than the opposition’s?
- In which ways is the opposition better than me?
- Why should people trust me?
- What credentials can I put forward?
- How do I compare in trust and credibility to my opponents?
- How can I get backers (powerful people) to support my ideas?
- How can I woo voters?
- What can I do to build and maintain momentum?
- What other questions do I need to be asking myself?
And you don’t have to do this on your own, recruit your team into the campaign. All candidates have people backing and supporting them. Backers provide resources and political muscle. Supporters knock on doors. Naturally, you will need to think about payback once you have won.
- Aristitle, Rhetoric and Influence
- Your Corporate Manifesto
- How to Develop Political Courage
- Making Sense of Political Upheaval
- Power Vacuums and Unstable Systems
- How to Map the Politics Around Your Work (Premium).
- Leading Your Team with the Stakeholder Influence Process (Premium).