Post by Jane K. Stimmler, contributing Women On Business writer
The national political scene has sure gotten ugly lately. Though I have always maintained that politics – corporate politics specifically – doesn’t have to be negative, it’s a harder sell lately. When we hear every day about the dirty fighting, smear tactics and stealth moves to trump the “other side” which are employed by our elected officials, it’s difficult to envision the word “politics” in a positive light. No wonder so many women reject the idea and say they “just want to do their work.” Though it’s certainly understandable to want to avoid what appears to be a very ugly game, let’s see if we can find a positive view of politics within the business framework – one that involves more collaboration and less alienation.
In its best light, political savvy should really about building alliances in order to get things done. And we women are great at this! Collaboration with others is one of our strong suits. And, if you think about it, you’ll realize how often we need support from others to make things happen, in addition to their technical knowledge, expertise and perspective. The idea of identifying people who can help you move forward in your career and on your ideas, and endeavoring to create good relationships with them, is potentially a win for both. While you may have intentionally identified individuals who can be helpful to you – it’s highly likely that you may be able to assist them too.
And, the more positive business relationships the merrier.
I’ve heard women say that the idea of identifying valuable connections, and then setting about to build these relationships seems calculating somehow. The other way to look at it is that it’s strategic and just plain smart. We’re not talking about deep friendships on a social level, but business allies and contacts. If you really look at it, everyone in the business world has the same goal – to be successful at what she or he does. That success can certainly be enhanced by “who you know” within your organization, in your field and in your community.
So, go ahead develop a strategy for seeking out key people and broadening your circle. Be clever about determining who might impact on your success and who knows who, and then work towards building positive relationships with them. Then you can use collaboration to put forth new ideas and initiatives, and get ahead. This isn’t dirty politics – it’s expanding your horizons in a strategic way.
What do you think? Please share!