May '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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16 || P R I N T W E A R M A Y 2 0 1 6 Vince DiCecco is a dynamic and sought-after seminar speaker and author with a unique perspective on busi- ness development and management subjects, primarily in the decorated and promotional apparel industries. With over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and training, he is presently an independent consultant to various apparel decorating businesses looking to im- YOUR PERSONAL BUSINESS TRAINER B Y V I N C E D I C E C C O prove profitability and sharpen their competitive edge. Visit his new website at, and send email to I f a company has more than three employees, you can count on office politics. If anyone is naive enough to think they don't exist or that steering clear of them is possible, think again. In order to nurture your career, you will need to master the art of office politics. If you are the business owner, most often you are the one called upon to be both judge and jury when key decisions need to be made. Still, many people don't play office politics well because most don't take the time to analyze the process behind office politics and the driving forces behind business decisions. Let's explore the bases of power that commonly exist within a company so that we may better understand how decisions are reached and achieve our own goals. HOW OFFICE POLITICS WORK One of the cold hard facts of business is that decisions aren't made on what is right, but on power. Whether we realize it or not, we all possess some degree of power in our workplace. You can break down a person's sum total of power into seven bases: position, information, expert, recognition, connective, tenure, and personal. While there may be some overlap, you can attribute influence over others to one or more of these power bases. POWER EARNED BY WHAT WE DO Position power is the legitimate authority you have that causes others to act. Owners, managers, and supervisors have power that they har- ness from their titles alone. If employees decide to not recognize or acknowledge the authority as being justified or valid, the desired ac- tion or behavior may never take place. I am certain you have worked with or witnessed the ineffectiveness of a lame duck manager. And remember, as quickly as our position of power is handed to us is how swiftly we can be stripped of it. Information power is given to those in the know and the caretakers of company data. Think of how much respect we give to the com- puter technicians when our computers don't perform as expected, or to the CEO's administrative assistant when rumors are floated about organizational changes. Accessibility to updated and accurate infor- mation is the key to building on this power base. However, once the information becomes common knowledge, the power from this source is rapidly neutralized. Expert power is earned through the recognized accomplishment in a particular discipline. One's proficiency does not have to be earth shattering to cause us to comply or defer to the expert. The person who can make the perfect pot of coffee or who can master the copier and its quirky error messages is given high praise and wide latitude around the office. Recognition power is the ability to dole out rewards, punishments, and sanctions. Step back and take a look at how people's behavior changes when the prospect of receiving a reward is at stake. People will act in a prescribed manner to avoid the consequences of a pun- ishment or sanction, too. The person with the capacity to control the distribution of recognition, both positive and negative, has great power. THE POWER OF JUST BEING The last three power bases, connective, tenure, and personal, derive their influence potential from just who the person is. Haven't we The Do's and Don'ts of Managing Office Politics Make how things get done work for you

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