There are various types of people when it comes to choosing a strategy to deal with the political environment in an organization:

  • One group is oblivious to politics. They are who they are in all situations, completely unfiltered - which is great. But if you have an extreme personality, being exactly who you are will run you needlessly into problems in some, if not many, business situations. I could give you quite a list of people I've worked with who went down in flames being incredibly true to their quirky, distracting, or downright obnoxious personalities.
  • There are individuals in another group who constantly change behavior to conform to what they think the particular political environment is in any situation. These people will abandon their opinions, beliefs, and even principles to go with the flow. The result is they are completely unpredictable. While you may want things to be easy, without a predictable foundation for others to know how to work with you, one of two things will happen. You'll either find yourself working alone or completely surrendering yourself to domineering political personalities in your work environment.
  • A third group invests the time to understand themselves and what's important to them personally and professionally. They also monitor the political environment and what matters in it - both now and for the longer-term. Armed with this understanding, they make strategic decisions to hold or maneuver their positions based on what's best for the business (and themselves) to be successful.

The third group has to work the hardest since it's more involved to maneuver strategically rather than never doing it or doing it all the time. Being in the third group also requires a lot more emotional intelligence, which you may have to work on developing.

Want my advice? Be in the third group. - Mike Brown