How to minimize company policy

    “Yes, with whom, do you think you're talking here?” I'm the boss." Rick Ross

    For all the years of doing business, I have never heard anyone say, “I love corporate politics.” On the other hand, I meet a bunch of people who complain about corporate policy, sometimes even in companies run by them. So, if no one 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 definitely have nothing to do with it. ” Unfortunately, it is not necessary to be political in order to create excessively political behavior in your organization.
    In fact, it is often less political directors who manage terribly political organizations. Often apolitical leaders accidentally contribute to the rooting of 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. There may be 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 politics by stimulating political behavior - often by accident. As a simple example, let's take a look at the remuneration of senior staff. Top managers will periodically come to you, as a director, and ask for an increase in remuneration. They may say that you pay them much less than their current market value. They may even have an offer from a competing firm on hand. Faced with a contradiction, if the request is well-founded, you may examine the situation. Perhaps you will even make the employee an increase. This may sound innocent, but you have just created a strong incentive for political behavior.

    More specifically, you will reward behavior that has nothing to do with promoting your business. The employee will receive an increase because he asks for it, and not because you automatically reward him for the successful completion of tasks. Why is that bad? Let me list the scenarios:

    1. The rest of the ambitious workers will also immediately require an increase. Please note that neither this campaign nor the previous one has anything to do with real 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 them with unplanned increases, therefore, increases among the management team will occur in order of priority.

    2. Less persistent (but perhaps more competent) members of your team will be denied extraordinary increases because of their apoliticality.

    3. A good lesson for your employees and the company will be "want to live, know how to spin" and "political behavior leads to an increase." Get ready for the mass of "spinning".

    Now let's move on to a more complex example. A financial director comes to you and says that he wants to develop to a manager. He says that he would like to eventually become the chief operating officer and would like to know what skills he must show 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 turned out to be an excellent COO and that he should work to develop more skills. In addition to this, you say that he needs to become a strong enough leader so that the rest of the company's management wants to work for him. A week later, another member of the management approaches you in a panic. She says 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 COO and this is the last stage. Has this already happened? Here is the finest hour.

    How to minimize politics

    Professionals versus hobbyists

    Minimizing policies is often considered unnatural. This runs counter to excellent managerial practices, such as breadth of vision and stimulating employee development.
    The difference between managing leading personnel and managing lower-level employees can be compared with the difference between fighting with an unprepared person and being in the ring with a professional boxer. If you fight 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 raise the leg located in front. By doing this against a professional boxer, you will get a blow to the head. Professional boxers have been learning to use small mistakes in technology for years.. Raising the leg in front in front to step back, you will lose balance slightly for a split second, and that’s all the opponent needs.
    So it is here. If you manage younger employees, and they ask you for career growth, you can answer them quite ordinary things and, in principle, everything will be all right. As you can see from the above example, everything changes when talking with extremely ambitious, experienced professionals. To avoid knockout from corporate policy, it is necessary to improve methods.


    As I developed to the position of Executive Director, I found three main methods that are extremely useful for minimizing policy.

    1. Hiring employees with the right type of ambition . The cases discussed above may have described ambitious people, but they are not necessarily political in nature. All cases are not like this. The surefire way to turn a company into the political equivalent of the US Senate is to hire people with the wrong ambition. According to Andy Grove's definition, the right ambition sets the goal for the success of the company, while the personal success of the management team is a by-product of the victory of the company. Wrong ambition aims at the personal success of management, regardless of the results of the company.

    2.Building rigorous procedures for resolving potentially political issues and following them . Certain actions attract political behavior. Such actions include:

    - performance evaluation and remuneration

    - organizational structure and territory

    - promotion;

    Let's examine each item and possible ways to build and conduct a procedure that protects the company from bad behavior and politically motivated results.

    Efficiency and reward. Often companies are in no hurry to introduce performance and reward management procedures. This does not mean that they do not evaluate employees and do not raise salaries; they just do it for the occasion, which is subject to political fraud. By conducting well-structured, regular studies of efficiency and rewards, you guarantee the most equitable increase in company salaries and capital. This is especially important when rewarding management, as it will help minimize policy. In the above example, the executive director had to maintain a solid efficiency and remuneration policy and simply tell the person in the managerial position that his remuneration would be measured against the remuneration of the others. Ideally, the management remuneration process should involve a board of directors.
    Organizational structure and territory. If you run ambitious people, they will periodically want to expand their responsibilities. In the above example, the CFO wanted to become an Operations 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 production department. Every time someone raises a similar question, you need to keep track of 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, don’t react to the arguments. If you share your thoughts, this information may leak, rumors will spread, and you will plant 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 their intentions. As soon as the decision is made, reorganization should be carried out immediately: do not leave time for leakage and lobbying.
    Advancement. Every time someone in the company receives a promotion, everyone else at the same level evaluates the promotion and thinks what caused it - merit or political concessions. If the latter, then usually one of the three behaviors is observed on the part of the rest of the employees:

    1. They are angry and feel that they are underestimated

    2. They openly disagree, campaign against the person and harm him in a new position.

    3. They are trying to copy political behavior that led to an undesirable increase

    It is clear that you do not want to see any of the options in your company. Therefore, you must have an official, open, legal procedure for promoting employees. Often this procedure should be different for people in your own state (the general procedure may involve 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. Firstly, 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 decisions about promotion.

    3. Be careful with the words "he said, she said."As soon 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 transmitted message. Just letting you speak without defending the object of criticism will make it clear that you agree. If the company believes that you agree that one of the leading employees is not very brilliant, this information will be quickly and widely disseminated. As a result, people will no longer listen to this person, and his work will soon lose effectiveness.

    There are two different types of complaints that you will receive:

    1. complaints about the manager’s behavior

    2. complaints about the leader ’s competence or performance

    In general, the best way to work with the first type of complaints is to collect in the office of the one who is complaining and the one who is being complained of and give them an explanation. Usually such a meeting is enough to resolve the conflict and correct the behavior (if it was really wrong). Do not try to consider issues of behavior without gathering both sides in the office, otherwise this will lead to manipulation and politics.
    The second type of complaint is both rarer and more complex. If one of the leaders is brave enough to complain about the competence of one of his colleagues, then there is a chance that either the one who complains or the one who complains has big problems. If you hear the second type of complaint, then a) either it says that you already know, b) or it is presented with shocking news.
    If you are told about what you already know, then it is surprising that you let the situation go that far. Regardless of the reasons for trying to rehabilitate an uncontrollable leader, you missed a lot of time and now the organization has taken up arms against him. You need to quickly resolve the situation. Almost always, this implies the dismissal of the offending employee. Although I saw managers improve productivity and skills, I never saw an employee who lost support for an organization return it.

    On the other hand, if the complaint is a complete surprise to you, then you should immediately stop talking and make it clear to the complainant that you in no way agree with his assessment. You do not want to harm another person until you re-evaluate his activities. You do not want the complaint to become a self-fulfilling forecast. After the conversation ends, you must immediately proceed to reassess the employee in question. If you find that he is doing an excellent job, you must find out the motives of the person who complains and deal with them. Do not let a charge of this size accumulate. If you find that the employee is doing poor work, there will still be time to return and listen to the complaint, but in this case you need to be prepared to fire the bad employee.

    And finally

    As an executive director, you must consider the systematic incentives that evoke 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 the wrong consequences.

    PS The original text is here . In my opinion, it will be useful to read to all more or less experienced company leaders.

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