A Google Search of Office Politics turns up 115M responses and none of us is surprised. It is rampant, and many companies just throw up their hands. I can go to any company across Asia, Europe, and North America and find rampant politics.
I am Six Sigma Certified, and we all know that politics is a variance in Six Sigma and a non value added activity in Lean thinking.
I think most companies would have to list 10% or more annually for added costs due to their office politics. The potential savings on facing this issue are tremendous.
Some proactive companies have training on teamwork. I would love to see who feels this has been effective for any of them.
I know the path that has worked for me in companies I have managed and in companies I have supported.
Office Politics Can Be Massively Reduced
1. Plan to replace the most talented politicians with straight talkers. Do it excellently. Ensure from start to finish that you have the thinking and resources to identify people who speak loudest with their positive actions and words. Find people who are teachable and transparent. People like this lower politics. This is our focus as a company. It is most critical in your top leadership.
2. Once you have solidified the question of who, then do Overcoming Five Dysfunctions of a Team Facilitation. Even good teams can benefit from doing this kind of facilitation, and our company is licensed in providing this due to our deep interest in making great teams. I have seen horrible teams with the right people who were transformed in two days. I have further seen teams that are bench marked as good teams discover they were just individuals and not really a team at all. This is a really impressive facilitation that has long lasting results unlike all other team work training I have seen and attended. If you have someone other than us do the training, then research to find out if they can do it well. They must consistently get participants to speak for at least 85% of the time while the facilitators stay under 15%. That is an oft forgotten key to high impact facilitation. Having a good program is also needed, and this one is clearly top notch.
3. Coaching internally at all times and getting external coaches is also valuable. Coaching means you are getting the other person to speak and not preaching. Mentoring is another model and sometimes useful, but coaching done well has a great impact on reducing office politics.