- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Build an army- or a coalition
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.
- Make a case to power
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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/