In this guide to the often slippery realm of office politics, executive coaches Brandon and Seldman champion a politics of "moral means" to "noble ends." However, some of their wisdom has a Machiavellian cast. They recommend avoiding open confrontation with more powerful managers, explain how to network strategically, cite movie godfather Vito Corleone on the importance of veiling your thoughts and detail procedures for getting to your boss with your side of the story before a rival can bad-mouth you. Much of their advice involves the basics of popularity and tact, like their "Balanced Response" technique for inoffensively quashing colleagues flawed or incomplete ideas. Image and self-presentation are covered, with bullet points on "power wardrobe," posture, vocal style ("err on the side of speed and slightly revved-up volume") and body language (a clenched jaw and dilated pupils give off bad vibes). Sample monologues provide models for the self-promotional, 30-second elevator speech to corporate bigwigs. If nothing else, employees can always "mention top management catchphrases" and "carry around the Wall Street Journal or Harvard Business Review to show general business acumen." Aimed primarily at "under-political" people perennially steamrollered, ostracized or exploited by slicker operators, the book includes lots of "self-talk" mantras ("its networking and relationship-building, not schmoozing") that readers can recite to overcome their reluctance to play the game. The authors have a good feel for the nitty-gritty of corporate conflict, misbehavior and skullduggery. Their portrait of a business world ruled by intrigue, "buzz" and "savvy" instead of competence is not reassuring, but this engagingly written and reasonably specific primer will help employees navigate it.
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Politics are a reality in any organization, but as this terrific book shows, you don't have to throw your ethics and integrity out the window to master the game. Brandon and Seldman's fresh approach to a taboo topic is as entertaining as it is inspiring. Survival of the Savvy will teach you how to avoid the ego trips and journey with others to greatness.
Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager and Customer Mania!
Seldman and Brandon have years of experience coaching and training at companies like PepsiCo to help executives navigate the complexities and ambiguities of organizational politics with integrity and positive impact. Their practical tips on reading political styles, building a network, and exercising verbal discipline are invaluable.
Michael D. White, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo International
Finally, a book that speaks the truth about corporate power, influence, and the science of relationships. A must read for serious corporate leaders and, equally important, aspiring leaders!
Jovita Thomas-Williams, Vice President, Human Resources, MGM Grand Detroit Casino
Survival of the Savvy provides CEOs, business leaders, and their teams with vital new insights and essential skills. The authors set the bar at a new height in describing how to effectively understand and influence others and how to ensure a values- based and high-performance work culture.
Edward Ludwig, Chairman, CEO, and President, Becton, Dickinson and Company
Brandon and Seldman, two clever writers, give a lifeline to anyone treading water or trying synchronized swimming in the corporate shark tank...They fill their book with practical, tactical tips to help protect their readers' assets.
Harvey Mackay, author of Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive
Brandon and Seldman tap into the nervous system of corporations and offer fascinating straight talk about a tacit business taboo -- their writing is engaging, entertaining, and easy to relate to.
Deborah Harrington, National Training Director, Citibank North America
They're not kidding when they say "survival;" even Darwin would have approved of this objective look at the precise intricacies of human behavior. If you take office politics seriously, you'll appreciate the weighty analysis Brandon and Seldman bring to even the most obscure workplace scheming. Brandon and Seldman take on the role of corporate anthropologists, dissecting how office politics work and what you can do to master them ethically.
FAST COMPANY'S READER'S CHOICE AWARD REVIEW, FEBRUARY, 2005
"Ever had an idea stolen by someone brash enough to present it as his or her own idea at a VP meeting? Brandon and Seldman offer serious research to substantiate this all-too-prevalent work problem and outline the many ways the politically inept can develop the savvy political instincts we all need to feel valued at our work."
This is a book about what these two mega-powered business consultants call using "high-integrity" politics as a useful change agent...Not incidentally, through case studies, they analyze self-defense strategies to insulate executives from well-known banditos lurking along the trailway to the top.
BUSINESS 2 BUSINESS, JANUARY, 2005
This work will help employees navigate office politics in almost any kind of setting. Corporate consultants Brandon and Seldman offer practical advice, starting with the assumption that engaging in office politics is vital to one's career. Recommended for larger public libraries and all business management collections.
LIBRARY JOURNAL, November 15, 2004