Organizational Politics for People Who Hate Politics

Are you thriving in workplace politics…or are you being crushed? Are your teams functioning at a high level, or are they struggling through conflict after conflict? Some people seem to either have a natural talent…or no conscience. Some organizations rarely have teams that "gel." What can we do to manage the politics so we can all excel? The answer is as simple as riding a bicycle: we can learn.

Have you ever felt powerless to implement an important new idea? Have you ever been "blind-sided" at a meeting? Have you ever lost two good employees because you could find no way to keep them from attacking each other? These are some of the issues of organizational politics.

Organizational Politics for People Who Hate Politics

Organizational politics is sometimes about control or dominance, but perhaps more often it is about how we allocate resources — how we share the apple.

Many of us have become enmeshed in politics from time to time, but we've also known some people who seem to be able to engage and prosper. How is that done? We cover the territory from three perspectives.

Politics of the Self   Unless we can manage our own inner politics, we have little hope of mastering organizational politics. We've all had the experience of "acting without thinking" — yet, in a literal sense, all action requires thinking. So when we act without thinking, we're really acting without awareness. We explore possible paths to increasing self-awareness — for practical purposes — and learn what immediate benefits become available to the self-aware.

Dyadic Politics: Relationships   I sincerely enjoyed your workshop. I was there to be refreshed and your workshop delivered. I also learned some great tips for dealing with and spotting workplace politics. It appeared to me that everyone in attendance was hungry for that sort of information. Thank you and I hope to attend another one of your workshops! — Bonnie Lowe, US Army Officer
PS: Your newsletter and e-books are awesome.
Close, trusting relationships are essential for health and political success. In a dynamic workplace, where people come and go ever more rapidly, forming these relationships quickly is a decided advantage politically, and makes work much more fun. We explore what works for you personally, and try to broaden your skills in relationship formation and maintenance.

Politics and the Organization   Wherever we sit in the hierarchy, the culture of the organization is more powerful than we are. We can influence it, but we cannot control it. Success lies in understanding our limitations and searching for solutions that respect our limitations. We explore several techniques for navigating the organizational sea, and for knowing when to seek safe harbor.

Program structure and content

We learn through exercises, simulations, and post-program activities. We explore these aspects of politics, and apply models of group behavior to show participants how they might:

  • Distinguish the three domains of political interaction.
  • Develop enhanced self-awareness and situation awareness.
  • Maintain a feeling of centeredness.
  • Become more adept at seeing things from the viewpoints of others.
  • Recognize political ploys in routine patterns.
  • See opportunities that might now be going unnoticed.
  • Become more skilled at choosing from among political options.

This program is available as a keynote, workshop, seminar, breakout, or clinic. For the shorter formats, coverage of the outline below is selective.

Learning model

We usually think The one-day and two-day formats of this program include copies of my ebook 303 Secrets of Workplace Politics for all participants and their supervisors (a value). Ideal for those who like to supplement their learning by reading, or as a reference for later study. Moreof workplace skills as if they were free of emotional content. We hold this belief even though we know that our most difficult situations can be highly charged. Despite these sincere beliefs, taking personal or organizational performance to the next level does require learning how to apply what we know even in situations of high emotional content. That's why this program uses a learning model that differs from the one often used for technical content.

Our learning model is I really enjoyed this class. As a former believer that I did not participate in office politics Rick opened my eyes! I now know the truth that everyone is a participant. This class taught me to recognize office politics and how to "play the game" to my advantage. — Carl Contipartly experiential, which makes the material accessible even during moments of stress. Using a mix of presentation, simulation, group discussion, and metaphorical team problems, we make available to participants the resources they need to make new, more constructive choices even in tense situations.

Target audience

Executives, leaders, managers, and project team members. We work either with individuals, or with an entire team or with a group drawn from many teams.

Program duration

Available formats range from 50 minutes to two full days. The longer formats allow for more coverage or more material, more experiential content and deeper understanding of issues specific to audience experience.

Follow Rick

Send email or subscribe to one of my newsletters Follow me at LinkedIn Follow me at X, or share a tweet Subscribe to RSS feeds Subscribe to RSS feeds
The message of Point Lookout is unique. Help get the message out. Please donate to help keep Point Lookout available for free to everyone.
Technical Debt for Policymakers BlogMy blog, Technical Debt for Policymakers, offers resources, insights, and conversations of interest to policymakers who are concerned with managing technical debt within their organizations. Get the millstone of technical debt off the neck of your organization!
Join the Organizational Politics Group at LinkedIn.comJoin the Office Politics, Workplace Politics and Organizational Politics discussion group at, the premier professional networking Web site.
What People Say About Rick's Programs
  • "Rick is a dynamic presenter who thinks on his feet to keep the material relevant to the group."
    — Tina L. Lawson, Technical Project Manager, BankOne (now J.P. Morgan Chase)
  • "Rick truly has his finger on the pulse of teams and their communication."
    — Mark Middleton, Team Lead, SERS
If your teams don't yet consistently achieve state-of-the-art teamwork, check out this catalog. Help is just a few clicks/taps away!
Ebooks, booklets and tip books on project management, conflict, writing email, effective meetings and more.