Office politics does not need to be a world of drama & back-stabbing, much like your favourite TV series, not when you accept that competing interests, scarce resources and a lack of clear direction or information is simply just part of everyday corporate life. It’s how you navigate these, sometimes tricky, waters that really counts. The term “office politics” is defined as the strategies people use to gain some kind of advantage, whether it be a personal advantage or one that benefits their team. As much as you’d like to seem like someone who doesn’t get involved in office politics, at the end of the day it really is unavoidable. Here are our top 5 tips for making office politics for work you: Keep your ear to the ground at all times The key to really understanding office politics is to listen & observe. Once you have a better understanding of the organisational hierarchy, accepted processes & procedures, any sensitive topics, and you know who the power players are, you’ll be in a much better position to read and anticipate situations and adapt your behaviour accordingly. It’s what those in the know refer to as social astuteness. Build a strong network When building a network, you must remember that it’s not about how many people you know, but instead about who you know. Be on the lookout for quality connections, people who can help you get a leg up, people who you can learn from and people who can help you grow within the organisation. Also, don’t limit connections to just your department, try to build relationships with players across various arenas, you never know what new opportunities those may bring. Pinpoint the negative players Some people seem to simply enjoy stirring the pot. They’re not necessarily malicious, they just don’t seem to handle situations well and are inevitably at the centre of a lot of the drama. Your instinct may be to avoid these types of people, but a better strategy would be to get close and to understand what makes them tick. This way you can use this information to adjust your interactions with them in a way that equalises their negative impacts. Be the person others would want to side with As much as “playing the game” can become enticing, it’s important that you stay true to yourself and your personal values. People who are genuine, who don’t only look out for number 1, who put in the required effort & gets things done in a professional, reliable manner are the people others want to have on their side. Never use your power to manipulate or control others, because sooner or later, it will backfire. Always keep your cool When it comes to office politics, it helps to not take things too personally. Remember that everyone has their own ambitions and goals, and it’s not always about you as a person, but more about their end game. Before you react to any situation, take some time to reflect. This way you can decide on the best & most practical course of action instead of your emotions getting the better of you. Want to share your thoughts about managing office politics with us? Please Get in touch. We’d love to open a dialogue on this topic.
The daily huddle or daily scrum, the morning check-in or team roll-call, what you call them doesn’t really matter, what does matter is accepting that stand-up meetings are here to stay. As more and more teams turn to Agile to improve their performance and output, the daily stand-up has become the new norm. It’s a great way for team members to stay on track, collaborating & helping each other along the way, and ultimately delivering on commitments made at the beginning of each sprint. But as with everything in life, there are some basic guidelines that need to be followed to ensure that stand-ups achieve what they set out to achieve. Here are our top 5 rules of engagement: Rule number 1: Don’t get comfortable It’s called a stand-up for a reason. Nobody should be getting comfortable by pulling up a chair. Standing ensures that people are alert & focused throughout. While you’re at it, ban laptops, phone calls, text messages and any other distractions. Rule number 2: Keep it short Stand-ups should be no longer than 15min. Any item that requires further discussion should be taken offline, involving only those who are directly involved or impacted. Find a slogan or phrase (think something along the lines of “the tribe has spoken”) to indicate that the stand-up is done. Anyone who then wants to stay on to have an offline discussion can, and those who don’t can move on with their tasks for the day. Rule number 3: Stickies are your friend Sure, there are tons of great agile tools out there, but at the end of the day, nothing quite beats the humble sticky note. It’s a great way to do a brain dump of all the high level and detailed tasks of your project – commonly referred to as your project backlog. Once you have these down on stickies you can arrange & rearrange them, adding more detail where needed, or breaking stickies down into smaller, more manageable items. Rule number 4: Break it down into “to do”, “doing” & “done” During sprint planning, you’ll review your backlog items as a team and decide what will be moved into the current sprint. Once the scope of the sprint has been agreed, your daily stand-up board should place your sprint items into 3 sections: To do, doing & done. Team members can then move their stickies as they progress, ensuring that the rest of the team is up to date with what’s happening and are aware of any cross impacts that could potentially affect them. Rule number 5: Always do a review At the end of each sprint it’s important to do a review to ensure that you don’t go into the next sprint with the same bad habits that caused you pain in the previous one. Create 3 buckets: Keep, Stop & Start, then ask your team to add their suggestions for each of these. You want to get into a rhythm where you’re doing more of the stuff that makes the biggest impact and less of the stuff that’s nothing more than an energy drain. In need of an Agile practitioner to help drive your stand-ups and sprints? Get in touch.
Analyze Consulting, a business analysis and project management consultancy, is proud to announce that we have recently been rated as a B-BBEE level two contributor with a procurement recognition of 156.25%. “We prioritise B-BBEE as an integral part of our business strategy and embrace it as a dual opportunity to do good and to do good business,” says Reyer Meihuizen, joint Managing Director at Analyze Consulting. “The philosophy of B-BBEE in contributing to the community and country at large, aligns well with our key value of being People-focused as well as our vision to make a tangible difference.” Analyze has reached level two status through active focus on and dedication to a number of B-BBEE business practices and initiatives that we have in place: Analyze Supplier Policy – We prioritise empowered suppliers, particularly exempt micro enterprises and black owned businesses Analyze Community Involvement – We support enterprise development and socio-economic development within a number of non-profit organisations Analyze Skills Development Program – In addition to developing the skills of our team, we provide financial support and skills development to students studying Information Systems and to disabled students, through our Analyze bursary scheme Analyze Empowerment Trust – As a shareholder in Analyze Consulting, the Analyze Empowerment Trust is mandated to provide financial assistance and support for the education of previously disadvantaged, black females “There is a natural alignment between our Analyze business goals and B-BBEE,” says Cathy Banks joint Managing Director. “Through our B-BBEE initiatives we invest in people, community and skills development in a way that makes good business sense for Analyze and for the South African economy”. “As such, Analyze has embraced B-BBEE as a real opportunity that has the dual purpose of meeting business objectives and giving back. We are proud of our B-BBEE rating and have every intention to maintain a high rating in years to come”.