Leading change in today’s highly competitive business climate demands extraordinary teamwork and performance. Executives have an imperative to produce outcomes that are unprecedented; given the history of the organization and its current skills, resources, and circumstances. In order to do this, they need to be able to align the organization on a set of outcomes that inspire unprecedented action.
Politics and the human factor:
Most organizations are political and simply said, organizational politics and political conflicts, whether it is individuals or groups of people, can have a detrimental effect on performance and the changes you are leading. It may result in a lack of collaboration, finger-pointing, communication, dysfunctional, and fragmented teams, as well as behaviors that undermine the power of working as a team. Whatever form it takes, it results in a force field, negatively impacting the outcomes you are working so hard to deliver.
How do you get people to stop or at least substantially reduce the incidence of ‘politicking’?
Firstly, it starts with being willing to consider that it is possible.
Secondly, take the case that an inspiring future or a compelling proposition for the team, department, or company is probably missing. You may have an articulated vision or strategy, but is it ‘alive and well’ in your people?
Thirdly, you are responsible for engaging the people of your organization in the company’s direction so that they can see ‘what’s in it for them,’ and want to participate. People act to reinforce their own self-interest so the leader’s job is to make sure the strategic ambitions are meaningful for each and every person in the enterprise. When people understand their personal as well as their professional ambitions can be realized by leading the corporate changes, their actions will tend to be oriented in that direction, giving rise to the possibility of extraordinary results.
Communication is ongoing and requires probably ten times the volume and frequency you would normally consider necessary. It also requires ‘tuning’ the dialogue so that it is appropriate for different audiences.
Lastly, be willing to give up that ‘talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words.’ Engaging people in conversations that move them to unprecedented action is the name of the game—our ‘talk’ is our toolkit and it is all we have.