Politics at Work: Go from Surviving to Triumphing in These 10 Easy Steps

  1. Stop trying to convert your enemy

If you are currently beating your head against a brick wall. STOP!! You are wasting your time, and more importantly, your energy. Just like dealing with trolls online, you will not convince someone with the better argument when it contradicts their entire world view.

  1. Understand power in your office

Think about the actual unspoken power players in your office. Often times these are not the same people as on the organizational chart but they know who to talk to and how to approach them.

  1. Find allies

Find others who think like you do: who sees the same needs, and believes in similar solutions. These may grow into powerful friendships and are essential for building momentum to move ideas forward. Especially focus on informal power brokers- they can take your campaign to the next level!

  1. Build an army- or a coalition

Marching Civil Rights GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

There is power in numbers. If you can persuade a critical mass of people that your idea has merit and should be tried, it is almost impossible for the corporate political structure to stop you. This both easier and harder than it sounds. Given your unique situation it can be like herding cats- but success here can lead to triumph.

  1. Make a case to power

Oprah Winfrey What I Know For Sure Is That Speaking Your Truth Is The Most Powerful Tool We All Have GIF by Golden Globes - Find & Share on GIPHY

So this is the moment you have been dreaming of in cinematic splendor, where you speak your truth, they hear you, and the world changes. Unfortunately, that moment is a myth for movies and books; don’t get caught up in the fantasy. Rather, think strategically how to get the most bang for your buck. You have been building social capital, and now you get to spend it wisely to build the change you want to see.  Some strategies to consider:

  • Use inception

Light That 70S Show GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Do you want the power players to be truly vested in your plan? Help make them feel like it was their idea. Plant the idea without giving them all the answers. This will create a vested partner in leadership who will share responsibility and credit for the idea.

  • A well thought out plan

Or, present a formal plan that has been thought through, reasoned, and analyzed. While this allows you maintain ownership of the idea which can be an advantage, it also makes you the person to blame if it fails.

  1. Anticipate roadblocks and bumps

Once the power players are on board and have given you permission to try, go for it! But anticipate bumps along the way and plan for them. No matter how wonderful your idea and perfect the strategy, there will be problems. Anticipate them when possible and respond gracefully.

  1. Allow others to own the plan

Remember all those allies you found to launch this brilliant plan? Don’t forget them now!! Allow them to help implement action steps, problem solve barriers, and continue to have ownership of the project. If you want something that can outlive you, it has to involve more than just you. It builds sustainability and keep social capital invested with your team/idea.

  1. Celebrate every success

Celebrate, recognize, and acknowledge every success and effort being made towards your idea or project. We all hate working for jerks who only see the problems and point out every flaw or failure. Don’t be that person. Be better: support and celebrate the amazing team you have built, the program you have launched, and the change you are creating!

  1. Keep working – never give up

Ultimately, navigating  office politics is about building a strong team of allies, having good ideas, and creating value for your organization. If you do it right, you will also build value in your own reputation as a leader who is wise to the ways of office politics. It is a cycle that only leads to greater successes.

  1. Take care of yourself

You can’t do anything well if you are not at 100% and no one can be at 100% without taking time to recharge and renew. This is essential to help you have the emotional restraint, quick wit, and diplomatic understanding that turn office politics from turf wars into collaborative problem solving sessions. Never neglect yourself for the greater good- you are the greatest good you’re ever going to get.

For better self-care, try some of our strategies from: http://socialmba.org/2018/11/13/10-fast-steps-for-self-care-you-can-do-today/

10 Fast Steps for Self-Care to Try Today

How many people do you take care of? Do you worry about your co-workers? Family members? Are you a leader in your family/community/ work place? Do you feel like the weight of the world and the future of your loved ones depends on you every day? There is growing research, and good common sense, that of all the people you take care of on a daily basis- you should be one of them!! Here are some ideas that you can do today to take care of your self, reduce your stress and renew your passions:

  1. Take a Bath

This is not about your personal hygiene! I don’t care if you use bubble bath, a bath bomb, baby oil or just warm water. Just take time to sit, recline rest in warm water. Allow yourself to just be for 10 minutes without checking your email, or going through your to do list.

2. Get in Nature

Go for a walk. Sit in a park. Work in your garden. All of us have seen the viral articles around forest bathing- but even if you are not into mindfulness walks, you can find a new perspective that allows you to release some of the worries and stress that you carry.

3. Create

If you have an adult coloring book tucked in the corner of your book shelf, pull it out and start scribbling away. If you don’t have one pull out whatever art supplies you have (crayons, markers, colored pencils, pastels, watercolors, etc.) and just start something. This does not have to be museum quality of work, but tapping into your innate creative drives will help you find sense of peace and joy that is far too easy to lose in the busy go, go, go of our daily lives.

4. Breathe

Sit in your car before your start it to leave from work today, before picking up the kids, going in the house, and just breathe. Force your attention to your breath for 10-20 breathes. Just notice the rhythm of your breath. Recognize that this minute will not actually cost you that much but taking even this little bit of time to connect with yourself can change your attitude for the rest of the day.

5. Eat lunch.

No seriously- take your lunch break and actually eat. This should not have to even be said but way too many people skip lunch and then wonder why they are stressed.

6. Connect with friend

Call a friend you haven’t talked with lately. Plan a lunch date with a friend from another part of town. Skype with a friend from across the country or world. Write a letter to an old friend you haven’t talked with in a while.

7. Go to bed early

Again this is so basic it should have to be said, but most Americans average just 7 hours of sleep a night and we know that we need 8.5 to 10 hours a night to feel rested. Try to go to bed just 30 minutes earlier or set an alarm to remind you to get ready for bed when you planned. Everything can feel a 1000x better with a good night’s sleep.

8. Identify 5 things you are truly grateful for

Stop and think about those things in your life that truly tug at your heart- whatever they may be. Allow yourself to feel that deep tug of gratitude. Research shows that gratitude can counteract symptoms of anxiety and depression. So just relax and be grateful.

9. Indulge an everyday fantasy

Do you dream of having a cup of coffee in the morning on back deck? Do you long to have a cup of tea with a good book? Do you imagine what it would be like to take a break in the middle of the day and just take a walk? Go do it! Whatever it takes to make it happen, give it a try. It may make a rather gray day better.

10. Solve a problem

If you have an identified source of stress in your life, try to fix the problem. Get your car maintenance checked. Take your dog to the veterinarian. Start eating better.

If you are facing bigger problems consider, trying some of our strategies from: http://socialmba.org/2018/11/13/politics-at-work-go-from-surviving-to-triumphing-in-these-10-easy-steps/

Team Gonzos’ Lessons Learned

Team Gonzo had a number of learnings over the course of our Digital Marketing Competition over the past month:

Content Creation

We were proud of our content and felt we developed solid digital marketing and social media posts. Our titles could have been more enticing, we could have formatted content more effectively with more use of images and white space, and we could have given ourselves more time for content development and promotion.


With the varied content on the blog, we felt it was challenging to determine the right audience for promotion of our posts and didn’t post as broadly as we could have. Part of this was due to discomfort using our own personal brands and social channels to promote content we didn’t have complete control over. Among other issues, we had technical issues creating the links, didn’t utilize best practices in timing of posting and promoting.

Google Analytics

It look us most of the length of the competition to figure out how to use Google Analytics. It was helpful to look at past posts to determine patterns for success and explore what our competitors were up to. With more time, we could have learned to better track our views, identify patterns in differences between channels, and apply our additional learnings.


Strategy and Lessons Learned – Team Turbo

Our Strategy

Develop interesting content to engage the reader.  Our posts were designed to be topical and catchy.  Our themes ranged from politics, technology, millennials, dieting, pets, social media and Lebron James while finding ways to relate the content to marketing

We targeted a wide variety of readers and aimed to keep them engaged with quality content once they hit our page.  More importantly, we wanted to establish credibility with our audience to develop a relationship that would encourage them to come back for more

We used a variety of platforms to promote our posts

Since we designed our content for mass appeal, we used an assortment of websites and social media platforms to reach a large audience.  Our goal was to cast a large net, learn from our successes and failures, then apply this knowledge to our latest post.

How our strategy evolved

Target a specific audience

Our content and our promotional efforts evolved by becoming more specialized and focused.  We learned that writing content for a smaller segment would yield better results and allow us to target our promotional efforts more effectively.

Plan ahead

We made the mistake of writing content without having an established channel in place to reach our audience.  Knowing the specific method we planned to use to reach our audience enabled us to write content directly catered to our readers and the platform.

Key takeaways
    1. Do your research
    2. Know your audience
    3. Know your platform
    4. Gather metrics
    5. Performance analysis

The brief description of our posts


5 ways to use social media like a pro

The idea behind this first post was to create something that would satisfy the Listicle requirement and at the same time provide us an opportunity to learn more about social media marketing.  We wanted to create content that was beneficial to the reader as well as for us.  We applied what we learned from this listicle to our marketing campaign

Review Items:
Stop doing: hard to promote content 
Start doing:  better promotion
Continue Doing: good content 

5 reasons the Lakers should not have signed Lebron 

For this post, we picked Lebron James because of his popularity and knew that most sports fans either love him or hate him.  We wanted to grab potential reader’s attention with our title, but then tie it back to marketing with the content.

Review Items:
Stop doing: poor content
Start doing:  better promotion
Continue Doing: interesting content 

Product Review

The future of Apple products is clear

We chose earbuds primarily due to their popularity.  By now, pretty much everyone in our target audience would have seen or heard about these snazzy little devices but may not have taken the time to read up on them.  We wanted to give an honest, first-hand review that cut out the bs and was straight to the point.

Review Items:
Stop doing: better team collaboration
Start doing:  better promotion, more interesting content 
Continue Doing: interesting content 

Original Video 

When it comes to marketing pet products, should we focus on the owner or the pet?

In this furry post, we wanted to show our audience the power of pet persuasion.  We followed Edson and his pup Mia on their journey to the pet store.  We loved this local company’s marketing strategy for getting customers (2 legged and 4 legged) in the door and wanted to share.

Review Items:
Stop doing: better team collaboration
Start doing:  better promotion
Continue Doing: interesting content 


Love him or Hate him – Donald Trump is a marketing magician

Donald Trump is in the news no matter where you look.  We wanted to piggy-back on his popularity while exploring his marketing genius.  This post dives into how Trump used various marketing techniques to get elected as President of the United States.  Whether you agree with his politics or not, you must give him credit for his success.

Review Items:
Stop doing: nothing
Start doing:  better promotion
Continue Doing: interesting content 

Millennials are killing the value of college degrees

This post was aimed at drawing attention to the college debt issue and the growing need for skilled workers.

Review Items:
Stop doing: nothing 
Start doing:  better promotion
Continue Doing: interesting content 

Click Bait 

weight-loss using your marketing knowledge

Who doesn’t want to learn more about the latest fad diet?  Oh wait, that’s not what this post is about?  This post is intended to simplify the weight loss strategy and give the reader key insights leading a more healthy.

Review Items:
Stop doing: but poor content, post kept being flagged as spam
Start doing:  better promotion
Continue Doing: reddit promotion  

The 5 Cs of Personal Branding: The Most Important Story is Your Own

If you’re like me, you’re far more comfortable talking about others’ success than your own. You’re focused on marketing your company, understanding the benefits your products offer, tailoring your messages perfectly to the right audience, and delivering them through the right channels.

But, there is an important element to your work that you may not be considering: your own personal brand. Taking time to curate your reputation as a marketer can yield returns in the form of career prospects, effectiveness, and influence in your field.

I attended the Digital Marketing Summit in Portland recently (which, side note, also included a hilarious keynote from Chelsea Handler), where I heard Monique Hayward, Intel marketing maven, speak about using your storytelling skills to build your brand. Here’s my recap of Monique’s 5 Cs of personal branding:

    1. Competence: Clearly, a foundation of competence is key. To build your reputation you must be authentically skilled at your craft. Master the principles of marketing and sustain an intellectual curiosity to keep learning as much as possible.
    2. Cachet: Your skill and competence will drive your cachet; as you build your brand, others will come to trust your expertise. Your personal brand is the currency you trade for influence, and you must carefully and intentionally build and cultivate it.
    3. Coaching: Seek out and learn from mentors and coaches, both inside and outside of your field. Collaborating with others is a great way to learn and build your network. Identify leaders you admire, reach out to them and create a relationship.
    4. Connections: Work your network. Create authentic connections to build your cachet and advance your reputation. Make strategic connections and ensure you’re visible in circles where it matters.  
    5. Communication: Flex your storytelling muscle to tell your own. Identify what differentiates you and makes you unique. Think about what you have to say, who cares about what you have to say, and why it matters that you’re the one who’s saying it. From this, create your 60-second elevator pitch and practice it. Use personal and professional conversations and social media to share your story and build your brand. 

Thanks to Monique for sharing her presentation with me for this post!

— Jessica Bowersox

For further reading:

Digital Marketing: Lessons Learned by Team Saga

3 Big Takeaways


Social media and digital marketing takes a lot of time and planning to be successful.


Know what your goals and objectives are, and what the value is for your audience


Match your promotional techniques to what your are providing

Our Strategy:

  • Get it done
  • Stay on-topic for the overall blog
  • Insert humor into every post
  • Produce largely unique content
  • Promote however we feel comfortable


Our Blog Posts:

The User Experience – 6 Tips to connect! (Listicle)

One weird trick to picking a smart phone…(Product Review)

How to Reach People to Grow Your Business (Original Video)

He Was Raised by a Family of Wolves- READ MORE! (Click Bait)

Op-Ed: GIF vs. GIF – How do you pronounce it? (Op-Ed)

Lessons to Take to the Real World

  • Make a clear plan and schedule – stick to it!
  • Develop your format in advance (plug and play)
  • Develop clear objectives & meaningful outcomes
  • Define and target a specific audience that you can actually connect with


Lessons to Take to the Real World

  • Develop audiences on multiple platforms (This will take time)
  • Build trust and develop a true inbound channel
  • Know your goals & the value you are providing your audience


Lessons to Take to the Real World

  • Know what you are wanting people to do
  • Develop pathways and hooks to keep people on your website

Op-Ed: GIF vs. GIF – How do you pronounce it?

Op-Ed: GIF vs. GIF

How do you pronounce it?

From one of our first meetings, our team fell into the perennial debate of the “correct” way to pronounce GIF. In my 5+ years working online and with social media, I have watched as colleagues have hotly debated this acronym’s pronunciation in the real world.

Here to continue the debate is myself and one of my colleagues. We will each provide our quick case in support of the way we say GIF, and let you vote on who you agree with (or at least how you pronounce it).

GIF: pronounced GIF

Dating back to the 1980s GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format, and allows for short video like files of images to be looped on the internet – like this:

For years we were left to guess how to say this word that we all knew so well via our active use, we rarely had to say it out loud, but when we eventually did and were surprised to find that we did not all say it the same. Many people pronounced it with a hard “G” as in “Graphics” while some pronounced it with a soft “g” as in JIF peanut butter.

While the inventor of the GIF came out in 2013 saying:

“The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations. They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘jif.’ End of story.”

I say, “sorry sir, you waited too long.” While he may have birthed the GIF, he sent it out into the world with nothing, and the world took on the challenge of calling it something.

Acronyms stand for a series of words, and as the “G” stands for Graphics, it makes the most sense to pronounce it the same, just as you do in the word “gift.”

If you need an extended argument, here is a great article from Gizmodo: The Creator of the GIF says it’s Pronounced JIF. He is Wrong

GIF: pronounced JIF

Steve Wilhite, left, received a Webby Award from Tumblr's David Karp for his invention of the animated GIF format.

Honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from none other than David Karp of Tumblr on May 21, 2013, Steve Wilhite accepted the Webby for his 1987 invention of the GIF while employed at Compuserve.  As required by the Webbys, his acceptance speech consisted of only five words and they were:

jif GIF

Over the years, Mr. Wilhite had pushed the soft “g” pronunciation through many interviews which were less publicized than his acceptance speech.  He did not wait until recent years to clarify the pronunciation; he had done so all along, and for those who like my colleague believe Mr. Wilhite gave up his right to establish the correct pronunciation of the GIF due to some ambiguous statute of limitations,  I would posit, “those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.”

gif not jif GIF

Finally, I would point out that Mr. Wilhite has said all along that, “Choosy programmers choose jif” referencing the 1977 ad campaign by popular American peanut butter company, Jif.  This reference clearly predates the invention of the GIF, and may in fact predate the internet itself.

I know for myself that I will be taking a respite from this heat and pouring myself a double of ice cold gin.