Readers are invited to submit a question which we will then pose to one of our Forbes Councils members. This group is full of knowledge and experience — we’re eager to share their insights with you.
Question: How Do You Deal With Corporate Politics?
As my company grows, each new executive we hire comes with new opinions and agendas. How can I keep the business moving forward on the track I intend?
Meet our Executive: Don Markland, CRO, MoneySolver
Don Markland of Forbes Business Development Council is the chief revenue officer for MoneySolver, a private equity company in Jacksonville, Florida. In addition, Don is founder and CEO of Accountability Now, an executive coaching and strategy company that works with entrepreneurs, small business owners, and developing leaders across the world.
Answer: Build Relationships, Tell the Truth, and Use Data
As an executive, we have to constantly manage corporate politics nearly every day. It is really a game of juggling personalities and what I call OPAs (Other People’s Agendas). The role of an executive is to truly understand what the most important agenda is and how to correctly influence the necessary people to align towards that agenda. This is not an easy task.
I find the best way to do this is by following three basic rules of selling: 1) build relationships, 2) tell the truth, and 3) use data.
First, cultivate real relationships throughout your organization. As I say often, “Only pilots operate at 30,000 feet.” Everyone else should be working with people. Connect with your teammates and get to know them.
Second, tell the truth. Have candid honesty with people. Follow the principles taught by Kim Scott in her book Radical Candor. Be honest and truthful but not hurtful. Your teammates will respect your honesty and it will build strong relationships that will help you gain influence.
Last, use data. You cannot navigate politics without data on your side. Know every aspect of your business and trust that the data will set you free. When you are the master of the data, you will be the smartest person in the room. You have the keys to the kingdom and you can gain favor, influence, budget, or whatever you need.