Those who participated in the CIDM Best Practices conference in September 2005 know all about using organization politics to help drive important initiatives through their organization. Creating the political map can seem a daunting task when there are many players involved. Stakeholder mapping can be used as a tool to limit the number of players before creating your actual political map.
Creating an organization politics map, as described in Joel R DeLuca’s book, Political Savvy1, requires answering the questions listed below:
DeLuca describes the methodology in detail and shows the political map in graphical format. When you have created the map, you can use it to think about the communication and lobbying activities within your organization and try to ensure that your initiative gets the support it needs.
Once you start listing the stakeholders, you may end up with a large number of people. Trying to answer the rest of the questions when dealing with a number of characters can be difficult. To scale down the number of people to analyze further, stakeholder mapping, as described in my November 2002 enewsletter article, can be used as an initial screening method.
With stakeholder mapping, you have to answer only two questions: how much does a person have power to influence your initiative, and what is the person’s level of interest. When used in combination with the political mapping methodology, you don’t have to be as accurate in determining the levels of interest and power in the first analysis. With stakeholder mapping, you can identify people who don’t have much interest in, or power over, your issues and can thus be ignored from further analysis. Also, those with low power, even though they have high interest, can be mostly ignored, even though some might have important connections to the key players that could be used.
Naturally, organization politics can be used in the “wrong” way to benefit yourself, regardless of what happens to others or to the company. (These kinds of persons are referred to as Machiavellians in the book.) However, DeLuca emphasizes the ethical way of using politics for the benefit of the company and other individuals. Even though you may not apply the method in practice, the book gets you thinking about your organization’s politics in a different light and will give you some ideas that you can use in practice.
1 Political Savvy. Joel R DeLuca. June, 1999. Evergreen Business Group Publications. Berwyn, Pennsylvania. ISBN: 0966763602.