Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Social Antennae / Political Antennae

Think about how difficult it would be to walk across a crowded room having just lost your vision. Without your sight, you bump into people, you have to ask if you're going in the right direction, and although you eventually get to the other side, it's not at all as efficient as had you been able to see. You would have been able to clearly maneuver around the obstacles in the room and avoid any accidents or problems that could have gotten in your way.

Most people, when it comes to organizational politics, are politically “blind.” They stumble through their political cultures and corporate environments, bumping into uncomfortable situations, stubbing their toes on bad gossip and rumors, and are cloaked by the sometimes spiteful agendas surrounding them. They feel lost in their business politics. Unfortunately, many business people in the corporate world are not aware of, or just can’t “see” the agendas of others around them.

They don’t know if other peoples’ agendas are an obstacle, or perhaps a source of assistance, to the navigation of their own corporate worlds. Other peoples' agendas are like wind on the ocean for a sail boat. Sometimes the wind fills your sails and helps you, and sometimes it blows you off course. But even those peoples' agendas that are blowing against you can still be useful if you know how to jibe and tack. Good sailors can use the wind to go in any direction.

Although we may be blind to these agendas, we can still develop a way to “feel” our way around them. Think of it as having extra antennae that pick up or sense these social and political agendas. When we have these social antennae, we can more easily move through the rooms of our relationships. When we develop our political antennae, we can better sense these agendas to use to our advantage.

With the right coaching, guidance, and insight, we can learn to grow and develop our own social / political antennae, to help us navigate the corporate worlds around us.

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