Workplace politics and cultural rewards are a very real and specific part of any workplace.
Upon taking a new job, find out quickly what spoken or unspoken rules govern the place. For example, some companies are very open about their internal organizational hierarchy: who reports to whom, how management is structured, or which channels new rules and processes must pass through before they can be okayed and implemented. Other companies are very closed off about such things and don’t really make their hierarchies known.
Likewise, some higher-ups give their employees chances and room galore to make mistakes and learn from them, while others adhere to a strict three-strikes and-you’re-out policy. Observe how business is done and look for who “holds the keys,” so to speak; that is, who is the real decision maker. What might surprise you is that it’s not always the top dog!
Take note of which people make decisions that go beyond the normal scope of their job descriptions. At meetings, look for which employees are allowed more autonomy to speak and make suggestions in front of their superiors. Present choices. Often you get a better outcome if you offer an array of solutions to the decision maker.
Some bosses might feel hemmed in when an employee tells them there is only one possible solution to a problem. Keep your goals in line with company goals. If you feel that your efforts to create new processes and develop better ways of doing business fall on deaf ears, it could be that your goals do not line up with those held by the department or company.
Some companies value sticking to the tried-and-true more than they value innovation. Often we think that we have great solutions, but if they don’t match the director’s or VP’s ideals, you could find yourself doing a lot of work for nothing.
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