Surviving Office Politics

Hi, I’m Stu Tubbs. I’m a professor at Eastern Michigan University, a former Dean of the College of Business and I’ve spent 43 years in higher education and one of the things that’s probably
been the most frustrating to me has been dealing with office politics what I’d like to do is to invite you to come to our program on surviving office politics interestingly there was a study done years ago at M.I.T. and what they did was they took people who had graduated from M.I.T., mostly in engineering and they brought them back every year for 15
years to talk about what were the things that they experienced what they found was that their technical
education was great and all the technical problems were solved well, but all the problems that they had in terms of their career and becoming successful had to do with the people side of the business, it had to do with what they called office politics and then there’s another study published in the journal of accountancy that talked about all the different things that could potentially stress you on the job things like at the top: travel or the
amount of responsibility or how much work that you have to do or how much too many meetings that you have to go to what you see at the very bottom the one thing that stressed people most at work is office politics and so in our seminar we’re gonna talk about what are the things
that make up office politics what are the things
that you can do to try to survive office politics and we’re going to give you 10 different influence tactics that you can how to influence other people to help make you more successful when you try to accomplish things at work and to maneuver your way through the politics and uh… then we’re also going to talk
about 20 different specific tips in terms of surviving office politics I can just give you a couple stories, one was Henry Kissinger everybody knows very well was former Secretary of State also was a professor at Harvard University, he said the reason that academic politics are so vicious is the stakes are so small and I think that it’s interesting compared to government or compared to business things that we quibble over
in academia are usually pretty small potatoes but they’re still a big deal when you go home at night and you’re
driving home and your mind is on your work or on your drive or on your home laying around in bed tossing and turning because of the things that happened at work those are office politics they may be small in some way but they’re still important to each of us another example of positive politics I
read a book recently called The Engine of Change and uh… it was talking about during
the time that the Mustang came out in the 1960’s Lee Iacocca was the brains behind the Mustang for Ford. General Motors wanted to come out with a car that was competitive so there was a guy some of you may have heard of John DeLorean and he was at Pontiac and they had a car called the Pontiac Tempest and that car had a small engine in it so it really wasn’t competitive to the Mustang, but there was a corporate rule that said you could only have a 10 to one ratio of cubic inches of the engine to the weight of the car, so 3,500 pound car no more than 350 cubic inches well they had a 389 cubic inch V8 developed and it was really just gangbusters so he found a kind of a bending of the rules that said you can’t bring in a new car that breaks that 10 to one ratio but you can bring in a different model of an existing car so he had the Pontiac Tempest and he then created the Pontiac Tempest with the GTO package well they originally thought they would
sell 500 uh 5,000 I’m sorry they originally thought they’d sell 5,000, they sold 35,000 the first year 65,000 the second-year over 100,000 the third-year and ultimately Pontiac became the third best-selling nameplate in the whole industry after Chevrolet and Ford so there is an example of where they used politics in a positive way and the organization benefitted so that’s the kind of politics that I’m going to talk about how can you do things, influence others in an ethical way that are overall good for the organization as opposed to Machiavellian politics which is where you work toward advancing your own agenda which may or may not appear to be in the best interest of the organization so come and join us and we’re going to ask you to bring a challenge that you are facing and bring it to the session and we’ll show you these different 10 influence tactics
and 20 different office politics tips and put the 30 of those together and then try to apply them to the challenge that you are facing so that this can be a very hands-on practical session that you can take back home, and hopefully have it work for you

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