Saturday, April 25, 2009

Organizational Politics is a Reality

Politics is a reality. It is also a competence. One that CIOs need to learn if they are going to ensure IT occupies its rightful place at the top table. Do you agree or disagree? It depends.

Good Politics

The following techniques can be considered valid, legitimate parts of a political process:
  1. Education
  2. Persuasion
  3. Consensus building
  4. Fact-finding
  5. Intellectually honest discussions
  6. Identification of common interests
  7. Exposure of hidden or subtle facts
  8. Seeking compromise
  9. Reasoning together
Neutral Politics

The following behaviors are in the gray zone. Some people admit them as part of a legitimate political process, while others abhor them. I make no value judgment here other than to put them in the "neutral" category:
  1. Cajoling
  2. Ridiculing
  3. Lobbying
  4. Delaying
  5. Defocusing issues
  6. Positioning
  7. Not telling all the truth all the time
  8. You do this for me and I'll do that for you
Bad Politics

Without belaboring the neutral zone too long, we pass to those aspects of the political process that most people find unpleasant and "over the line":
  1. Lying or deliberately misleading
  2. Bribing
  3. Intimidating, threatening, bullying
  4. Undermining, conspiring, plotting
  5. Personal attacks, abusive behavior
  6. Filibustering
  7. Hidden agendas
  8. Committing to do something you have no intention of doing
  9. Committing to not do something you have every intention of doing
  10. Appeal to authority to subvert the process
  11. "The end justifies the means," or "All's fair in love and war."
On Politics in Technical Organizations [via]
The Politics of failure: watch out for the warning signs of bad leadership [via]

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