Summary of Survival of the Savvy

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Organizational politics connote backbiting, manipulation and dirty dealings. Unfortunately, wherever people gather, the specter of politics arises. This is particularly true in the pressure-cooker environment characteristic of business today. Leadership consultant Rick Brandon and executive coach Martin Seldman urge businesspeople to become astute political players while always operating with aware morals and ethics. They refer to walking this tightrope as “high-integrity politics.” Even though the authors occasionally revert to corporate jargon, they do a good job of tutoring businesspeople about an effective, ethical approach. And they further brighten their detailed, insightful manual with instructive, memorable quotations from multiple sources. getAbstract recommends their handy, tactical advice to leaders, to anyone carving out a workplace role and, especially, to those who think office politics stymie their ambitions.

About the Authors

Rick Brandon, PhD, owns Brandon Partners, which offers workshops on corporate politics and managerial motivation. Executive coach Marty Seldman, PhD, is co-founder and chairman of Optimum Associates.



Inescapable Organizational Politics

To be successful in business, you must be politically savvy. Otherwise, you will have minimal impact within your organization and will truncate your career path. Handled correctly, organizational politics needn’t be a distasteful component of your work experience. Many values-driven employees routinely wield “high-integrity political tactics and strategies” to accomplish their goals.

The negatives most people associate with organizational politics represent just one side of the coin. Truly ethical politics does exist. Consider this definition: “Organizational politics are informal, unofficial and sometimes behind-the-scenes efforts to sell ideas, influence an organization, increase power or achieve other targeted objectives.” This nonjudgmental definition is “neither vile nor virtuous.” The act of engaging in politics becomes good or bad depending on the participant’s objective – advancing the company’s interest versus advancing self-interest – and on the integrity of the associated “influence efforts.”

Politics and “political astuteness” can be positive forces. Moral employees who suffer from political naïveté may be walking...

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