I’d Never Lie—Would I?

I’d Never Lie—Would I? You’d never lie, would you? Consider this scenario. You manage a software development group which has a multi-year project. It’s been one disaster after another. The first year, the client kept changing the specs. By the time that was sorted, you were almost six weeks behind. In the second year, the programmers ran into all kinds of problems not foreseen by the (now fired) systems architect. The programming started almost three months late. However, some simplification of the Years Three to Five plans should get you back on track by mid-Year Five. But the mid-term review is coming up. You meet with your boss, Rhonda, to discuss. Rhonda: Paul, I’m really worried about your report. You: I know it looks bad now but we can catch up by Year Five. Rhonda: But what if the executive committee doesn’t buy that? They’ll shut us down. Which means lay-offs. All your guys, I’d expect. You: (desperately) I’m sure we can make up the time. We just need the rest of the funding. Rhonda: I’ve got to take something more positive to the executive committee. Otherwise, we can kiss both our careers good-bye. You leave the meeting frustrated and,…

The Secret Code of Getting Ahead

The Secret Code of Getting Ahead You can garner influence by using the techniques outlined in the previous post. However, you need to recognize a secret code about the pursuit of power. Not following them will doom your best efforts to implement these techniques. Secret Code Number One: you have to pretend you’re not interested in power Sounds weird, no?  But the rule is that it’s okay to be seen as ambitious in general not in the specific. In general, it is usually considered good, praise-worthy even. Senior managers look favorably on an employee who wants to get ahead. So, if someone asks you whether you’re ambitious, it’s okay to admit to it. However, even then, it’s probably better to reply in the correct code (I’m certainly interested in doing all I can for the company) than a bald ‘yes.’ But ambition often isn’t acceptable when talking about a specific promotion or plum. If you said, “I knew you’d get that promotion. You’re so ambitious,” that person would likely reply something like, “No, no, I just want the opportunity to contribute.”[1] The savvy reply this way because they know it’s dangerous to be seen as succeeding in your ambition—that success…

How Do I Get Power/Influence?

How Do I Get Power/Influence? Let’s say you’ve recognized that you want influence or power in your job, either to move ahead or avoid falling behind. First and as a given, you need to do your present job exceptionally well even if it’s a joe job and you know you’d be more successful at a higher level. Bosses don’t promote people who are doing a crummy job, no matter the reason. However, that’s not enough. To position yourself for promotion, you need to be influential with your boss and within your company.[1] Even if your boss doesn’t have the power to promote you, he can usually assign you to projects which increase your skills or assign you to cross-functional teams. The first makes you more promotable and the second gives you profile. How do you create influence? How many of the following are effective in creating influence? Working even harder Doing whatever needs to be done Flattering the boss Suggesting new ideas even if you give the credit to others Suggesting new ideas even if they aren’t your own Highlighting the many fires you’ve put out Did you pick more than one? Nope, I’d say the only one which works…

Power Matters to You

Power Matters to You In the last post, you were vying for the power to develop a new company service. Despite your and Sarah’s best efforts, Mike positioned himself as the only one to do it. Why should you care about power? So, why does this matter? You may be thinking that you’re not power-hungry so this undercurrent can’t or shouldn’t affect you. (My definition of power is later if you’re interested.) After all, you’ve got a job. Who cares who gets the power? You do or should. The scenario in the last post showed why. Not only will Mike increase his profile but possibly at your expense if the money Mike needs is diverted from your budget. If so, you can’t meet your commitments but can kiss your year-end bonus good-bye. You not only don’t advance your career by creating the new service, you may actually lose ground. So news—even if you just want to do your job, power can and does affect that modest goal. Without it, you can’t prevent yourself from being at the whim of those who with it. What you do, how you do it, when you do it, who you work with, who you…

Power—The Hidden Engine at Work

Power—The Hidden Engine at Work As I mentioned in a previous post, there are at least five undercurrents in organizations. Power is an important one. Here’s an example of how it’s used at work. Power at work Your company manufactures greeting cards. You are meeting with your boss Galen and your peer managers. Galen is a nice guy but to your mind, too much under the influence of Mike, one of your peers. Galen: Alicia [Galen’s boss] wants a new service to let customers customize their cards. They access our files on say, birthdays, to pick the wording and picture. We combine them to print or send by soft copy. I’m looking for the right person to take this on. Mike hogs things Mike: Well, obviously, since I manage the writers, it would be best if I took it. Sarah: Why, Mike? I’ve got the artists. People buy cards for the illustration, not the words. I should head up the new service. You make a bid YOU: Well, since my guys ready the illustrations and text for production, I should get it. Mike: You’re just the back end. You put the files together so production won’t screw up. YOU: Exactly,…