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,…

Letting Your Own Needs Interfere With Your Management Responsibilities

Letting Your Own Needs Interfere With Your Management Responsibilities You, of course, never do this. You are totally objective and above all such pettiness. Un-huh. And when you get over yourself, you can be welcomed back into the human race. In the workplace, companies demand everyone make decisions based on what’s good for the company and not themselves. You’re a team player if you do and a selfish, ambitious, and self-serving person if you don’t. So, it’s natural to present yourself as the company wants you to be. But your own needs can get in the way Unfortunately, companies aren’t entirely wrong (even though they are entirely self-serving) in their view. Enterprises generally work better if people think of the bigger picture rather than of their own advantage. Which still doesn’t take away from the very human need to try to get what is best for us (i.e. me) versus the balance of humanity. Everybody wants things to go their way. The issue is compounded for managers because they often have within their power to decide questions in which they have a personal stake. For example, in deciding holiday schedules, you have the final say and it turned out the…