Sign & Digital Graphics

November '17

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28 • November 2017 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S ARCHITECTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL RUNNING THE BUSINESS The Do's and Don'ts of Managing Workplace/Shop Politics Make how things get done work for you Vince DiCecco is a business training and development consultant and owner of the Acworth, Georgia-based business, Your Personal Business Trainer, Inc. He has been sculpting his sales, marketing and training techniques since 1979, and he has shared innovative and practical ideas on business management excellence for two Fortune 200 companies, the U.S. Coast Guard, and in seminars at past NBM Shows. Since 2003, he has been serving small- to mid-sized com- panies in their efforts to strive for sustained growth and market dominance. Contact him via email at vince@ypbt. com or visit his company website, www.ypbt.com. B Y V I N C E D I C E C C O Make it Your Business on power. Power can be loosely defined as "the influence to cause someone to behave in a way you want him or her to." Our country's forefathers may have wanted "all men to be created equal", but, the reality is some men (and women) are created more equal than others. Yet, whether we realize it or not, we all possess some degree of power in our workplace. What is the source of one's power? You can break down a person's sum total of power into seven bases —position, informa- tion, expert, recognition, connective, tenure and personal. While there may be some overlap, you can attribute your influence over others to one or more of these power bases. Position power is the legitimate authority you have to cause others to act. This type of authority is typically given to us from above us on the organizational chart. Owners, managers and supervisors have power that they harness from their titles alone. Of course, if the employees decide not to recognize or acknowl- edge the authority as being justified or valid, the desired action 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 power is handed to us is how swiftly we can be stripped of it by the powers that be. Power Earned by What we Do Information power is given to those "in the know" and the caretakers of a company's data. Think of how much respect we give to the computer technicians when our computers don't per- form as expected or to the CEO's administrative assistant when rumors are floated about organizational changes. Accessibility to up-to-date and accurate information is the key to building on this power base. However, once the infor- mation becomes common knowledge, the power from this source is rapidly dissi- pated. Expert power is earned through the recognized accomplishment in a particu- lar 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 many I couldn't believe what I was hearing. The president of a former employer of mine was addressing a gathering of sales and executive managers where he boldly proclaimed that the company did not "play politics." He went on to explain that he had an unpretentious "open door policy" and that "despite what you've been accustomed to at other companies, it's what you know—not who you know." Yet, nothing could have been further from the truth. If a company has more than three employees, you can count on office politics. If anyone is naïve enough to think politics don't exist or that you will be able to steer clear of them, you are only fooling yourself. In order to nurture your career —as opposed to just holding down a job—you will need to master the art of workplace politics. If you are the business owner, most often you are the one called upon to be judge and jury—albeit unwillingly—when key disagreements need to be resolved. Still, many people don't play poli- tics well. Why? Mainly, it is because most don't take the time to analyze the process behind workplace politics and the driving force(s) behind busi- ness decisions. Let's explore the bases of power that commonly exist within a company so that we may be able to better understand how decisions are reached and, at the same time, achieve goals. How Workplace Politics Work Unfortunately, one of the facts of business is that decisions aren't based on who or what is right, but

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