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We all start out naively assuming that all business leaders make decisions based wholly on fact and merit.
The first challenge is to develop your "political sensitivity"--observe and ask questions about how things are done in your business, where the power bases are, and who might have hidden agendas.
Every individual and leader has their comfort zone--behaviors, values, attitudes, fears, and drives that result in productive relationships.
Actions outside these comfort zones will likely lead to feuds, hidden decisions, excessive arguing, counter-productive lobbying, and back-biting.
Before coming and launching a fully-fledged proposal at a committee or in a memorandum, it's smart to test opinion and find out how key people will react.
This enables you to anticipate counter-arguments and update your proposal to answer objections and to accommodate political realities.
Just as you do your homework on the facts, it pays to do your homework by visiting the players in a given situation.
Effective management is the process of harmonizing individual interests with the goals of all business stakeholders.
Focus your powers of persuasion on the right people and the right issues.
Politically insensitive business people often try to steam-roll others with emotion, a barrage of facts, or a claim of high-level support.
... as often as you ask for support. If you are viewed as always demanding support, but never giving it, your effectiveness will be greatly reduced, even when you are right.
Always communicate the win-win element in every decision.
When your integrity and values are at stake, do not fold.
There are obviously occasions when a subtle or indirect appeal, rather than a direct attack will pay bigger dividends in highly-charged political situations.
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