WEBC10 05/26/2017 1:46:32 Page 207
Pichault offers an example of planned change in a large government agency in Belgium. The agency wanted to replace antiquated manual records with a fully automated paperless computer network. Proponents of the new system had little understanding of how work got done. Nor did they anticipate the interests and power of key middle managers and frontline bureaucrats. It seemed obvious to the techies that better data meant higher ef!ciency. In reality, frontline bureaucrats made little use of the data. They applied standard procedures in 90 percent of cases and asked their bosses what to do about the rest. They checked with supervisors partly to get the “right” answer but evenmore to get political cover. Because they saw no need for the new technology, street-level bureaucrats had incentives to ignore or work around it. After a consultant clari!ed the political map, a new battle erupted between unrepentant techies, who insisted their solution was correct, and senior managers who argued for a less ambitious approach. The two sides ultimately compromised.
A simple way to develop a political map for any situation is to create a two-dimensional diagram mapping players (who is in the game), power (how much clout each player is likely to exercise), and interests (what each player wants). Exhibits 10.1 and 10.2 present two hypothetical versions of the Belgian bureaucracy’s political map. Exhibit 10.1 shows themap as the techies saw it. They expected little opposition and assumed they held the high cards; their map implied a quick and easy win. Exhibit 10.2, a more objective map, paints a very
Exhibit 10.1. The Political Map as Seen by the Techies: Strong Support and Weak
Opposition for Change.
The Manager as Politician 207
WEBC10 05/26/2017 1:46:33 Page 208
Exhibit 10.2. The Real Political Map: A Battleground with Strong Players on Both Sides.
different picture. Resistance is more intense and opponents more powerful. This view forecasts a stormy process with protracted con”ict. Though less comforting, the secondmap has an important message: Success requires substantial effort to realign the political force !eld. The third and fourth key skills of the manager as politician, discussed in the next two sections, respond to that challenge.
Networking and Building Coalitions Managers often fail to get things done because they rely too much on reason and too little on relationships. In both the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle catastrophes (discussed in Chapter 9), engineers pitched careful, data-based arguments to their superiors about potentially lethal safety risks—and failed to dent their bosses’ resistance (Glanz and Schwartz, 2003; Vaughan, 1995). Six months before the Challenger accident, for example, an engineer at Morton Thiokol wrote to management: “The result [of an O-ring failure] would be a catastrophe of the highest order—loss of human life” (Bell and Esch, 1987, p. 45). A memo, if it is clear and powerful, may work, but is often a sign of political innocence. Kotter (1985) suggests four basic steps for exercising political in”uence:
1. Identify relevant relationships. (Figure out which players you need to in”uence.)
2. Assess who might resist, why, and how strongly. (Determine where the leadership challenges will be.)
208 Reframing Organizations
WEBC10 05/26/2017 1:46:33 Page 209
3. Develop, wherever possible, links with potential opponents to facilitate communica- tion, education, or negotiation. (Hold your enemies close.)
4. If step three fails, carefully select and implement either more subtle or more forceful methods. (Save your more potent weapons until you really need them, but have a Plan B in case Plan A falls short.)
These steps underscore the importance of developing a power base. Moving up the managerial ladder confers authority but also creates more dependence, because success requires the cooperation of many others (Kotter, 1985, 1988; Butcher and Clarke, 2001). People rarely give their best efforts and fullest cooperation simply because they have been ordered to do so. They accept direction better when they perceive the people in authority as credible, competent, and sensible.
The !rst task in building networks and coalitions is to !gure out whose help you need. The second is to develop relationships so people will be there when you need them. Successful middle-management change agents typically begin by getting their boss on board (Kanter, 1983). They then move to “preselling,” or “making cheerleaders”: “Peers, managers of related functions, stakeholders in the issue, potential collaborators, and sometimes even customers would be approached individually, in one-on-one meetings that gave people a chance to in”uence the project and [gave] the innovator the maximum opportunity to sell it. Seeing them alone and on their territory was important: the rule was to act as if each person were the most important one for the project’s success” (p. 223).
Once you cultivate cheerleaders, you can move to “horse trading”: promising rewards in exchange for resources and support. This builds a resource base that helps in “securing blessings”—getting the necessary approvals and mandates from higher management (Kanter, 1983). Kanter found that the usual route to success in securing blessings is to identify critical senior managers and to develop a polished, formal presentation to nail down their support. The best presentations respond to both substantive and political concerns. Senior managers typically care about two questions: Is it a good idea? How will my constituents react? Once innovators get a nod from higher management, they can formalize the coalition with their boss and make speci!c plans for pursuing the project.
The basic point is simple: As a manager, you need friends and allies to get things done. To sew up their support, you need to build coalitions. Rationalists and romantics often rebel against this scenario. Why should you have to play political games to get something accepted if it’s the right thing to do? One of the great classics of French drama, Molière’s The Misanthrope, tells the story of a protagonist whose rigid rejection of all things political is destructive for him and everyone close by. The point that Molière made four centuries ago
The Manager as Politician 209
WEBC10 05/26/2017 1:46:33 Page 210
still holds: It is hard to dislike politics without also disliking people. Like it or not, political dynamics are inevitable under three conditions most managers face every day: ambiguity, diversity, and scarcity.
Informal networks perform a number of functions that formal structure may do poorly or not at all—moving projects forward, imparting culture, mentoring, and creating “communities of practice.” Some organizations use measures of social networking to identify and manage who’s connected to whom. When Procter & Gamble studied linkages among its 25 research and development units around the world, it discovered that its unit in China was relatively isolated from all the rest—a clear signal that linkages needed strengthening to corner a big and growing market (Reingold and Yang, 2007).
Ignoring or misreading people’s roles in networks is costly. Consider the mistake that undermined John LeBoutillier’s political career. Shortly after he was elected to Congress from a wealthy district in Long Island, LeBoutillier !red up his audience at the New York Republican convention with the colorful quip that Speaker of the House Thomas P. O’Neill was “fat, bloated, and out of control, just like the Federal budget.” Asked to comment, Tip O’Neill was atypically terse: “I wouldn’t know the man from a cord of wood” (Matthews, 1999, p. 113). Two years later, LeBoutillier unexpectedly lost his bid for reelection to an unknown opponent who didn’t have the money to mount a real campaign—until a mysterious “ood of contributions poured in from all over America. When LeBoutillier later ran into O’Neill, he admitted sheepishly, “I guess you were more popular than I thought you were” (Matthews, 1999, p. 114). LeBoutillier learned the hard way that it is dangerous to underestimate or provoke people when you don’t know howmuch power they have or who their friends are.
Bargaining and Negotiation We often associate bargaining with commercial, legal, and labor transactions. From a political perspective, though, bargaining is central to decision making. The horse trading that Kanter describes as part of coalition building is just one of many examples. Negotiation occurs whenever two or more parties with some interests in common and others in con”ict need to reach agreement. Labor andmanagement may agree that a !rm should makemoney and offer good jobs to employees but part ways on how to balance pay and pro!tability. Engineers and managers in the NASA space program had a common interest in the success of the shuttle “ights, but at key moments differed sharply on how to balance technical and political tradeoffs.
A fundamental dilemma in negotiations is choosing between “creating value” and “claiming value” (Lax and Sebenius, 1986). Value creators believe that successful negotiators
210 Reframing Organizations
WEBC10 05/26/2017 1:46:33 Page 211
must be inventive and cooperative in searching for a win-win solution. Value claimers see “win-win” as naively optimistic. For them, bargaining is a hard, tough process in which you have to do what it takes to win as much as you can.
One of the best-known win-win approaches to negotiation was developed by Fisher and Ury (1981) in their classic Getting to Yes. They argue that parties too often engage in “positional bargaining”: They stake out positions and then reluctantly make concessions to reach agreement. Fisher and Ury contend that positional bargaining is inef!cient andmisses opportunities to create something that’s better for everyone. They propose an alternative: “principled bargaining,” built around four strategies.
The !rst strategy is to separate people from the problem. The stress and tension of negotiations can easily escalate into anger and personal attack. The result is that a negotiator sometimes wants to defeat or hurt the other party at almost any cost. Because every bargaining situation involves both substance and relationship, the wise negotiator will “deal with the people as human beings and with the problem on its merits.” Paul Maritz demonstrated this principle in dealing with the prickly Dave Cutler. Even though Cutler continually baited and insulted him,Maritz refused to be distracted and persistently focused on the task at hand.
The second strategy is to focus on interests, not positions. If you get locked into a particular position, you might overlook better ways to achieve your goal. A classic example is the 1978 CampDavid treaty between Israel and Egypt. The sides were at an impasse overwhere to draw the boundary between the two countries. Israel wanted to keep part of the Sinai; Egypt wanted all of it back. Resolution became possible only when they looked at underlying interests. Israel was concerned about security: no Egyptian tanks on the border. Egypt was concerned about sovereignty: The Sinai had been part of Egypt from the time of the Pharaohs. The parties agreed on a plan that gave all of the Sinai back to Egypt while demilitarizing large parts of it (Fisher and Ury, 1981). That solution led to a durable peace agreement.
Fisher and Ury’s third strategy is to invent options for mutual gain instead of locking in on the !rst alternative that comes to mind. More options increase the chance of a better outcome. Maritz recognized this in his dealings with Cutler. Instead of bullying, he asked innocently, “Could you do a demo at COMDEX?” It was a new option that created gains for both parties.
Fisher andUry’s fourth strategy is to insist on objective criteria—standards of fairness for both substance and procedure. Agreeing on criteria at the beginning of negotiations can produce optimism and momentum, while reducing the use of devious or provocative tactics that get in the way of a mutually bene!cial solution. When a school board and a teachers’ union are at loggerheads over the size of a pay increase, they can look for independent
The Manager as Politician 211
3. ARAW option into .ua/o:tvNioarihr