Sunday, August 15, 2010

Secrets to Winning at Office Politics - Part 2

[This was originally posted at]

Following up on my previous post, here are several good quotes from the other chapters of the very good book, Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.

Chapter 4: Political Psych 101: Allies and Adversaries

  • "Positive relationships build political capital." (pg. 53)
  • "Allies can be grouped into three categories: Friends, Partners, and Connections." (pg. 55)
  • "colleagues usually judge your personality and your competence separately." (pg. 55)
  • "Those who loudly complain that 'it's who you know' are usually the same ones who never take the initiatives to get to know anyone." (pg. 59) --> as an introverted hermit, this hits home with me.
  • "adversaries fall into three groups: focused, emotional, and vengeful" (pg. 63) --> you want to be aware that someone who seems adversarial because they're just focused on their goal is not necessarily out to get you personally.
  • " is not an adversary - [they're] simply a difficult person." (pg. 67)
  • "Usually, the most effective containment strategy [with adversaries] is to increase your leverage." (pg. 68)

Chapter 5: Political Games: Moves and Countermoves

  • "Political games re played for emotional rewards" (pg. 83)
  • "Political game players always have a socially acceptable explanation for everything they do." (pg. 83)

Chapter 6: How to commit political suicide

  • "If you want to commit political suicide, simply start engaging in any behavior that consumes a disproportionate share of management's time and attention." (pg. 107)
  • "Once people arrive at a conclusion, they unconsciously continue to gather evidence that supports their opinion." (pg. 109)
  • "There are four common causes of career destruction: (1) poorly controlled emotions, (2) a victim mentality, (3) self-centered foals; and (4) foolish reactions to change." (pg. 110)
  • "Many political suicides are so caught up in their own concerns or delusions that when the ax falls, they are totally shocked." (pg. 121)
  • "It's a heckuva lot easier to blame somebody else." (pg. 123)
  • "if your colleagues are happily  and productively engaged while you're fuming with rage, then you need to take a closer look at yourself." (pg. 124)
  • "When someone indicates that your behavior is a problem, don't automatically reject that possibility." (pg. 126)
  • "When you are trying to recast your image, remember that others will not immediately notice the change in your behavior. If you're waiting for the applause, it may seem awfully quiet for a while." (pg. 127)
  • "if you're not the problem, but people think you are, the political effect is unfortunately the same." (pg. 127)

Chapter 7: Power, Power, Who has the Power?

  • Don't confuse "power" with "authority".
  • "... any strength, carried too far, becomes a weakness." (pg. 137)
  • "Here are some questions to consider in determining a person's power level: ... Do they talk more about the past or the future? ... Who can they go see without an appointment? ..." (pg. 137)
  • "Some timid souls, fearing that they will be perceived as pushy, overbearing, or insensitive, simply give their power away." (pg. 138)
  • "If you want to look ridiculous, just try using power that you don't have." (pg. 140)
  • On pg. 147, the author presents a 2x2 "Power Grid":
    • High level of position and high degree of influence --> Power Players
    • High level of position and low degree of influence --> Empty suits
    • Low level of position and high degree of influence --> Persuaders
    • Low level of position and low degree of influence --> Weaklings
  • "An organization's culture is largely determined by the beliefs, values, and preferences of the Power Elite... you must adjust to the culture established by the reigning Power Elite. There is not one chance in a million that you are going to change it." (pg. 149)

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