Politics and Projects

Andrew Neitlich

Every organization is political, and many careers — and projects — are made or broken based not on our technical skills but on how well we navigate the fuzzy and risky political landscape. Here are five tips for navigating the dangerous waters of office politics.

As our airwaves are clogged with news of our Presidential election, one can’t help but think about politics in our own organizations. Every organization is political, and many careers are made or broken based not on our technical skills but on how well we navigate the fuzzy and risky political landscape.

Here are five tips to manage your own political fortunes:

1. Recognize that everything that happens in your organization has a political dimension, even if you can’t stand that this is true. Every move that Clinton or Trump makes is scrutinized in the press and in the public. While it might happen with less drama in your organization or on your team, the same process is at play. Human beings are not as rationale as engineers, scientists, attorneys, and other technically-skilled professionals might like us to be. We look for hidden agendas, try to figure out who has the most power, and calculate the political odds of ideas winning or losing. Whether you like this state of affairs or not, recognize that it is happening and position yourself to win. Start to think about your work in political terms…

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