Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Politically Competent Leader, The Political Analyst, and the Consensus Builder

Good ideas are abundant. The problem is putting ideas in place. In Get Them on Your Side, Samuel B. Bacharach writes about the Political Leader, the Political Analyst, and the Consensus Builder. The Politically Competent Leader gets results, while The Political Analyst and the Consensus Builder get stuck in the process.

The Politically Competent Leader
Bacharach writes the following:

"The Politically Competent Leaders are the ones who put all three components of the political process in place: They map the terrain, they get people on their side, and they get results."

Three Components of the Political Process
The three components include: Map the political terrian, get them on your side, and make things happen. See Putting Good Ideas in Place.

The Political Analyst
Bacharach writes the following:

"When you've only mapped your political terrain, but failed to build a coalition, you are a Political Analyst.Political Analysts are those who are able to anticipate the reaction of others and understand their agendas, but they have an inability to get others on their side. They are not capable of going through the dialogue and interaction that is necessary to build a coalition."
The Consensus Builder
Bacharach writes the following:
"You see consensus builders everywhere in your organization. These are folks who do their political mapping, understand the terrain of allies and resistors, and who spend the remainder of their time building coalitions of support. The problem is, that's where they stop. Consensus builders never seem to be able to get past that stage. They are unable to mobilize their supporters in a way that actually makes things happen.

Consensus builders have very strong process capabilities. They have the ability to prolong meetings into marathon sessions with their diatribes and their need to "talk ideas to death." Consensus builders are among the most beloved and integral players in the organization. Often they can tip the scale in their favor due to their ability to get people on board an initiative. In addition, their generally favorable reputation in the organization can often attract the resources and people that a coalition needs to get results.

But Consensus Builders are taken with this stage of the political process. They bask in the thought of a meeting. They'll end every encounter with, "We should have a meeting to discuss this." Consensus Builders have the best of intentions to get results. They are just unable to get to the next level. But if there are too many consensus builders - and you've seen this before - the organization will spend an inordinate amount of time meeting, discussing, evaluating, and never really accomplish much of anything."

Key Take Aways

  • Unless you want to just be a Political Analyst, make sure you work on your communication and interaction skills so you can lead coalitions.
  • Avoid analysis paralysis by having too many Consensus Builders.
  • Make friends with Political Analysts and Consensus Builders.

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