“But who do you think you're talking about here? I'm the boss. ”Rick Ross
In all the years of doing business, I have never heard anyone say, "I love corporate policy." On the other hand, I meet a bunch of people who complain about corporate policy, sometimes even in companies that they manage. So, if nobody likes politics, why is it needed?
Political behavior almost always comes from the executive director. Now you probably think: “I hate politics, but my organization is too political. I have nothing to do with it. ” Unfortunately, it is not necessary to be political to create overly political behavior in your organization.
In fact, it is often the less political directors who manage the terrible political organizations. Often, apolitical bosses inadvertently promote rooting political behavior.
What do I mean by politics? I mean people moving up the career ladder or promoting their program with methods other than merit and investment methods.
Perhaps there are other types of policies, but this form seems to be the only one that really bothers people.
How does this happen?
The executive director creates policies by encouraging political behavior — often by chance. As a simple example, let's look at the remuneration of the management team. You, as a director, will periodically receive executives and ask for a higher remuneration. They may say that you pay them much less than their current market value. They may even have an offer from a rival firm. Faced with a contradiction, if the request is justified, you may examine the situation. You may even make an employee increase. It may sound innocent, but just you have created a strong incentive for political behavior.
More precisely, you will reward behavior that has nothing to do with promoting your business. The worker will receive an increase because he asks for it, and not because you automatically award him for successful completion of tasks. Why is that bad? Let me list the scenarios:
1. The rest of the ambitious workers, too, will immediately require a raise. Please note that neither this campaign nor the previous one has anything to do with actual performance. Now you will spend time on political issues, and not on issues related to the actual execution of tasks. It is important to note that if you have a competent board of directors, you will not be able to provide all of their unplanned increases, so the increase among the management team will occur in order of priority.
2. Less persevering (but perhaps more competent) members of your team will be denied extraordinary increases due to their apoliticality.
3. A clear lesson for your employees and the company will be “you want to live, know how to spin” and “political behavior leads to an increase”. Get ready for the mass of "able to spin."
Now let's go to a more complex example. The financial director comes to you and says that he wants to develop to a manager. He says that he would like to become the chief operating officer in the end and would like to know what skills he must demonstrate in order to get this position in your company. As a positive leader, you would like to help him achieve his dreams. You say that you think that someday he would have made a great operational director and that he should work in order to develop more skills. In addition to this, you are saying that he needs to become a strong enough manager for the rest of the company’s management to want to work for him. A week later, another member of the leadership approaches you in a panic. She says that the CFO just asked her if she would work for him. She says that he said that you are preparing him for the position of operations director and this is the last stage. Has this already happened? Here is the finest hour.
How to keep politics to a minimum
Professionals against amateurs
Minimizing politics is often considered unnatural. This goes against excellent management practices, such as the breadth of mind and the development of employees.
The difference between managing personnel and managing lower positions can be compared with the difference between a fight with an untrained person and being in the ring with a professional boxer. If you are fighting with an ordinary person, then you can do ordinary things, and they will not put you in a difficult position. For example, if you want to take a step back, you can first lift the leg in front. By doing this against a professional boxer, you will get a blow to the head. Over the years professional boxers have been learning to use small mistakes in technique
. Raising the first leg in front for a step back, you lose a little balance for a split second, and that’s all the enemy needs.
So it is here. If you manage younger workers and they ask you about their career growth, you can answer quite ordinary things and, in principle, everything will be all right. As can be seen from the above example, everything changes when talking with extremely ambitious, experienced professionals. To avoid corporate policy knockout, you need to improve methods.
In the development process for the position of executive director, I discovered three main methods that are extremely useful for minimizing policies.
1. Hiring workers with the right type of ambition
. The cases discussed above may have been described by ambitious people, but they are not necessarily political in nature. All cases are not like this. The surest way to turn a company into the political equivalent of the US Senate is to hire people with the wrong ambition. According to Andy Groove's definition, correct ambition sets the goal for the company's success, while the management’s own success is a by-product of the company's victory. Improper ambition aims to personal success of the leadership, regardless of the results of the company.
2. Building rigorous procedures for resolving potentially political issues and following them
. Certain actions attract political behavior. These actions include:
- performance evaluation and remuneration
- organizational structure and territory
Let's examine each item and possible ways of building and conducting a procedure that protects a company from bad behavior and politically motivated results.Efficiency and reward
. Often companies are not in a hurry with the introduction of performance and reward management procedures. This does not mean that they do not evaluate workers and do not raise wages; they simply do it for a given case, which is subject to political fraud. By conducting well-structured, regular performance studies and rewards, you guarantee the most equitable increase in the salaries and capital of the company. This is especially important when rewarding management, as it will help minimize the policy. In the example above, the executive director should have a robust policy of effectiveness and remuneration and simply tell a person in a management position that his remuneration will be assessed with the rewards of the others. Ideally, the management remuneration procedure should involve the board of directors. This will help ensure order management and further complicate the occurrence of exceptions.Organizational structure and territory
. If you manage ambitious people, they will periodically want to expand their responsibilities. In the given example, the financial director wanted to become the operating director. In other situations, the head of the marketing department may want to manage the sales and marketing department, or the head of the engineering department may want to become the head of the engineering and manufacturing department. Every time someone raises a similar question, you need to watch what you say, because everything you say can turn into political cannon fodder. In general, it is better to remain silent. The most you can ask is “why?”, But if you ask, do not react to the arguments. If you share your thoughts, this information may leak out, rumors will start, and you will plant the seeds of various unproductive conversations. It is necessary to regularly evaluate the organizational structure and collect the necessary information for making decisions without informing people about intentions. As soon as the decision is made, it is necessary to immediately reorganize: do not leave time for leakage and lobbying.Promotion.
Every time someone in a company gets a promotion, everyone else on the same level evaluates the promotion and thinks that the reason is merit or political concessions. If the latter, then usually one of the three behaviors is observed on the part of the remaining workers:
1. They get angry and feel underestimated.
2. They openly disagree, organize a campaign against a person and harm him in a new position.
3. They are trying to copy the political behavior that led to an undesirable increase in
It is clear that none of the options you want to see in your company. Therefore, you should have an official, open, legal procedure for promoting workers. Often this procedure should be different for people in your own staff (a general procedure can affect various managers who are familiar with the work of employees, the procedure for management should include a board of directors). There are two goals for this procedure. First, it gives the organization confidence that the company, at least, is trying to base the increase on the basis of merit, and secondly, as a result of the procedure, employees will receive information explaining your promotion decisions.3. Be careful with the words "he said, she said."
As the organization grows to a significant size, your team members will periodically complain about each other. Sometimes such criticism will be very hostile. Watch how you listen to it and the message that is being transmitted. Just letting yourself speak, not protecting the object of criticism, you will make it clear that you agree. If the company believes that you agree that one of the executives is not very bright, this information will spread quickly and widely. As a result, people will stop listening to this person, and his work will soon lose effectiveness.
There are two different types of complaints you will receive:
1. complaints about the behavior of the head
2. complaints about the competence or performance of a manager
In general, the best way to work with the first type of complaints is to collect in the office of the one who complains and the one they complain of, and let them explain. Usually such a meeting is enough to resolve the conflict and correct the behavior (if it really was wrong). Do not try to consider questions of behavior without gathering both parties in the office, otherwise it will lead to manipulation and politics.
The second type of complaints is at the same time more rare and more complex. If one of the managers gains the courage to complain about the competence of one of the colleagues, then there is a likelihood that either the one who complains or the one who is complaining has big problems. If you hear the second type of complaint, then a) either it says that you already know, b) or shocking news is presented in it.
If you are told that you already know, then it is surprising that you let the situation go so far. Regardless of the reasons for trying to rehabilitate an unmanaged leader, you missed a lot of time and now the organization has taken up arms against him. Need to quickly resolve the situation. Almost always, this implies the dismissal of the offending employee. Although I saw that managers improve productivity and skills, I have never seen an employee who has lost the support of an organization return it.
On the other hand, if the complaint is a complete surprise to you, then you should immediately stop the conversation and clarify the complainant that you do not agree with his assessment in any way. You do not want to harm another person until you reassess his activities. You do not want a complaint to become a self-fulfilling prediction. After the termination of the conversation, you must immediately proceed to the revaluation of the employee in question. If you find that he does an excellent job, you must find out the motives of the complainer and deal with them. Do not let charges of this size accumulate. If you find that an employee does a poor job, there will still be time to go back and listen to the complaint, but in this case you have to be ready to fire the poor employee.And finally
As an executive director, you must consider the systematic stimuli that trigger your words and actions. Although at some point it may seem that being open, responsive and action-oriented is good, be careful that this does not lead to wrong consequences.
PS The original text is here
. In my opinion, it will be useful to read all more or less experienced company executives.