Benefitting from Being In
Power / November 7, 2016

Benefitting from Being In So you’re in the in-group. You’re invited to the TGIFs and the bull session isn’t complete without you. Congratulations. However, a seat at the table is not enough. If all you do is laugh at their jokes and nod vigorously, you’ll gradually but surely slip out of the in-group. To stay in, you need a presence. And preferably not as court jester. You need to add value to be in line for the plum assignments and other perks. How? Good interventions When first included, you may not know the topic or perspective needed. Do some homework. Zero in on where to make an effective intervention. Being for or against is not usually enough. Make substantive points. Fit them in as appropriate but don’t cram. Even one effective intervention will add credibility. Don’t talk off the top of your head. Prepare to impress. Make the point quickly Often people have good points but don’t say them effectively and quickly. They give the impression of thinking out loud. Don’t assume you can. You’re untested and the group won’t sit through your musings. Practice the effective and quick words which will make your good point. If you pique interest,…

Is It Worth Being In?
Power / October 31, 2016

Is It Worth Being In? It’s a lot of work to manage your position in the group. And sometimes sacrifice. So do you even want to be in? The answer is usually yes Generally speaking, the in-crowd gets the most perks, the best assignments, the most forgiveness for screw-ups. There are more chances to strut your stuff and line up the next promotion. So, lots of good career reasons why it’s better to be in. But that isn’t always true. When you don’t want to be in Peer led in-groups Sometimes in-groups form which are not boss-led. They may be all the cool guys or at least those who think they are. They’re often more social than work-oriented. Join the group because it’s fun or exciting but not for your career. Groups opposed to the company goals This kind of group does exist. Members don’t buy the company’s direction, don’t trust management, and believe they could run things better. All of which may be true, but they often enjoy scepticism more than rectifying. Eventually, you’ll tire of cynicism which goes nowhere. You don’t need to be Pollyanna, but neither is it helpful to run with a crowd uninterested in making…

Getting into the In-group
Power / October 24, 2016

Getting into the In-group Okay, you’ve decided that you want in. How? Working hard? Taking one for the team? If the world were fair, that would do it. But plenty of hard-working, dedicated, and decent guys are thanked for their contribution but never invited in. Hard work is a given. In-groupedness seems something else. First, don’t make it obvious Don’t look desperate to get in. Remember the cartoon with a big bulldog and a snappy, friendly puppy jumping around to get his attention? Didn’t work then and it won’t work for you. Due to human perverseness, wanting something nakedly makes you needy and not in-group material. Don’t talk about wanting in, or hang around the in-group hopefully, etc. Be cool while working what I outline below. Upping the chances of getting in These may sound phony, artificial, and even beneath you. They are. Problem is, they also work. Dress like them Not the flashy ties your boss wears, but you really should dress for the position you want. What’s the in-crowd wearing? If they’re a jeans and Ts crowd, great. But if they’re business casual or even suits, and you do jeans, it’ll be harder to see your potential for…

Preventing the Slide into the Out-Group
Power / October 17, 2016

Preventing the Slide into the Out-Group In the last post, we discussed whether you were being ousted from your work’s in-group. This post is about how to prevent that if you can. Verifying your status Before you panic, you need to confirm that you are actually on the way out. Don’t talk to your boss. I know it’s the most direct route—he’s the one who creates the in-group. But think a moment. Suppose you say: “Hey, boss, I would have liked a heads-up about the Merkling merger.” Will he say, “Yeah, I didn’t because you’re not my go-to guy anymore.”? More likely is an omg or an embarrassed and stumbling justification why you didn’t need to know. If you believe the omg, things go back to normal. If you don’t, all you’ve done is raise something most people like to keep underground. Not a good way to stay in.  Ask a trusted colleague? You might have luck here, but the colleague has to be practically family. The colleague might be reluctant to pass on unpalatable news or risk her own standing if the boss finds out she has done so. Unless you’ve got a peer who you’d trust with your…

Are You Out or Going Out?
Power / October 10, 2016

Are You Out or Going Out? If there is an in-group, it’s only logical there is an out-group, or at very least  people who aren’t part of the in-group. And, as I outlined previously, whether you are in or out can materially affect the progress of your career. Even if you’d rather not play this game, you at least need to know the signals so you can decide whether or when you want to pay attention. How to know if you are on your way out This can be subtle and may turn on a seemingly innocuous moment. This is not exhaustive, but here are some signs: You hear about things late.   But if this starts happening frequently and possibly from different sources, even if you get the omg thing, something may be up. Your suspicion radar should be beeping if, on confronting the ‘forgetter,’ you get a ‘do I care’ sense even if not said. Another yellow alert: the boss makes a big announcement which materially affects your area and you didn’t know about it beforehand.  We all occasionally find out important things later than optimal. Nobody told you the critical report has been delayed three weeks. This should…