Donna's Blog

Are you political or politically savvy?

If I was to describe you as “political” you likely take that as an insult. Being political is not often seen as a compliment. If, however, I describe you as politically savvy you may be less inclined to feel insulted.


Some may say it’s the same thing, and in my mind the thing that makes the difference is where your interests lie.


Those who are political tend to be more self-interested. Those who are politically savvy tend to have the organisations interests first and then their own self-interests tend to be a happy by product.


In the book Political Savvy, Dr Joe DeLuca shares a number of strategies used by those who are described as politically savvy. One thing I like about the book is that he makes it very clear that the intention of the political savvy is always to influence with integrity.


Influencing others can be hard! The Savvy Strategies suggested in the book are simple and doable at any level of an organisation. The four that I find the most useful are:

- Systemic informal: having informal conversations with those who you need onside

- 51 percent influence guide: having at least 51% of the influences familiar enough with your idea that they would be willing to hear more

- Agenda linking: how does your project or idea also progress the agendas of other influences

- Credibility paths: sometimes the person that you need to influence might not be someone you have an existing or positive relationship with. Look at positive degrees of separation and engage those that trust you to influence those you don’t yet know well enough.


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