Political intelligence is the capacity of someone to be in a successful engagement with stakeholder groups.
When you start a new job, you have to map out the “stakeholders”, to know who is in your community, to get them on your radar, and start building relationships before you need them. Brainstorm everyone you think you are going to need to interact with.
The Power – Interest Matrix is a very helpful tool to map out the stakeholders based on 4 engagement criteria:
- Keep satisfied: Put enough work with these people to keep them satisfied, but not so much that they become bored with your message. Bear in mind the level of interest can change rapidly when a stakeholder becomes dis-satisfied.
- Manage closely: These are your “key players” who should be the key focus of your stakeholder management time and effort, the people you must fully engage and make the greatest efforts to satisfy. Above all don’t forget to give them a really good listening.
- Minimal effort: They place few demands on your communication and stakeholder management. Monitor them, but do not bore them with excessive communication.
- Keep informed: These people have a high interest in what you are doing, but relatively low power. Keep these people adequately informed, and talk to them to ensure that no major issues are arising. These people can often be very helpful.
Once you have got all the stakeholders mapped out, talk about each group and see whether you can start assigning contact names and what they really want, then come up with a plan to engage with these groups.
- This analysis is best when done in continuous basis
- Focus on more important stakeholders first
- Balance interest according to importance and urgency
- Who they are
- What they think
- Who is their bosses
- How to engage them
- What influence they have
- How to stay in touch and inform
- Review tactics to engage, inform the stakeholder, including timing and frequency
- Use a communication plan
- Obtain feedback and involvement
Get to know your boss’s boss
Adapted from “Get to Know Your Boss’s Boss” by Priscilla Claman.
Spending time with the leader two levels above you can give you a broader perspective on your job and advance your career. Three things you can do to catch your boss’s boss attention:
- Take advantage of every opportunity to touch base. Forward a relevant article. Ask a question only she’ll know the answer to.
- Increase your exposure. Send periodic updates on your work to your manager, and ask him to forward them to his boss.
- Produce results. Send your manager any compliments you receive. He will undoubtedly send it on since your success reflects positively on him.