Unbeknownst to Marcy, senior leaders at her company were meeting behind closed doors to talk about her.
Tasked with putting together a succession plan, the senior leaders made a short list of the mid-level managers with high potential, the ones who might have what it takes to be in the very same senior level positions they currently held.
Although no one doubted Marcy’s competence or her motivation, several people voiced their concern about her ability to effectively navigate the political terrain.
“Does she have what it takes to deal with the likes of Darren who’s in line to be the next VP of Sales?” one leader asked. “I don’t see her building alliances and selling her ideas across the company,” another executive remarked.
In a climate where people often slipped into one another’s offices to strategize before decision making meetings, keeping your head down and getting your work done wasn’t enough to be recognized or rewarded.
Marcy was an evangelist for a new methodology the company recently adopted. She was outspoken and impassioned when it came to that methodology. And it made all the difference in getting people to adopt the new system.
But could she translate the visibility and influence across other capacity areas? The executives weren’t sure.
Marcy cultivated and nurtured relationships only as they pertained to her immediate role. She was so focused on the implementation and adoption of her methodology that it didn’t occur to her to develop relationships with those in other capacities like finance, accounting, research and marketing.
Todd, the VP who was Marcy’s boss’s boss, voiced his faith in her. “I think she’s got what it takes. I don’t think she knows that she’s got what it takes, though. I don’t think it’s ever occurred to her,” Todd mused. In demonstrating his confidence in her, Todd offered to take Marcy under his wing and do some informal mentoring.
Marcy got lucky. It doesn’t always work out that way. Oftentimes, the “Marcys” get passed over for those who are winning at office politics.
Read on to learn how to reverse engineer office politics to get ahead and stay ahead.