Does influence or politics get you to the top?

A few years ago, Boss magazine published an article on the seven things a CEO should know. I can’t remember the first six but the seventh really stuck with me.

It was “you can have all the power in the world, but the minute you use it, you lose it”.
It is such a powerful statement.

Influence is key to being successful. It is about getting people to follow based on inspiration and motivation rather than through control or formal power.

So what does politics have to do with influence?

Most of us have a poor view of politics – we see it as negative. However anyone who works in a major organisation is involved in office politics.

The attached HBR article is interesting as it talks about politics not necessarily being negative. It’s premise is that politics is just influence by another name.

I agree that politics don’t have to be negative. What’s your view?


Networking – no need for SMOOTH


Developing a strong network is a foundation for career success – yet so many people have fears or misconceptions about building a network.

Networking is not:

– something you do to someone

– going to conferences and cocktail parties and collecting business cards

– manipulating people to get them to give you work

– something that can only done by extroverts or smooth ‘salesmen’

Networking is no different to building friendships – it’s about building genuine relationships based on authentic and consistent interactions over time.

Networking is:

– building relationships before you need them

– building relationships with people who you can help and can help you

– trusting that if you put energy in, you will receive something in return over time

– something you have to do consistently – daily is best and weekly at a minimum

1 of the 3 great lies in sales and relationships


One of the three great lies you hear people say in sales and relationship building is “I called but the client hasn’t called me back.” What this is usually code for is “I’ve been meaning to call but I haven’t worked up the courage.”

In the odd case where you have called and the client hasn’t returned the call, what went wrong?

Two scenarios:

  1. You didn’t leave a message – and with today’s technology it doesn’t make sense not to as caller ID on their system is likely to have notified the client that you have called
  2. Your message was not outcome focused and hasn’t given them a compelling reason to call back.

Assuming you did leave a message, maybe it’s time to rethink the message you are leaving.

The major problem with vmail messages that people leave is that they are usually all about the caller and the caller’s services or agenda and don’t have a hook for the recipient. Next time you are about to leave a message, ask yourself the question “what is it that will make this person give up time to speak to me or agree to have a meeting?”  Make sure you let the recipient know what benefit they will get by calling you back or agreeing to meet.

Rules of Networking – Part 1


To be successful in business you have to learn networking skills.  And everyone can learn the skills – even those of you who it scares the hell out of. You don’t have to be an extrovert to be a great networker. This is the first of 4 posts covering points that I believe are the keys to networking:

  1. First impressions count – heavily. Your appearance and attitude matter – in the way that other people perceive you and the way that you feel about yourself
  2. The introduction – is critical. Introduce yourself by clearly stating your name and making eye contact while you shake hands. Weak handshakes turn people off as do the “crush” – it may sound odd but practice yours with a friend to make sure it’s neither bone-crushing nor wimpy
  3. You are interesting – but not that much. No one needs to hear your entire work history upon meeting you- start to finish should be 30 to 60 seconds.
  4. Start with the future – start with where you are headed and then connect the dots to your history sharing what’s relevant rather than what’s recent.