The only thing harder than managing office politics is trying to manage office politics on your own. You need allies and a base of support. In this video tutorial, Dorie shows you how to cultivate goodwill among your colleagues and become known as a thoughtful giver whom they want to associate with and help.
- Of course it makes intuitive sense that it's a good idea to build up goodwill with your colleagues, but how do you do it effectively, and in a way that's genuine? It doesn't seem like you're angling for something down the road. I'm going to share three strategies you can follow to create goodwill. You can't effectively be a giver if you don't know your clients and colleagues first. Of course, there are things that every human appreciates like genuine praise for specific actions. Not platitudes in service of sucking up to someone. But if you really want to build up goodwill, you first have to know who someone is and what they care about in order to understand what they value and how you can be of help.
In the 1980s, businessman and author Harvey Mackay introduced a concept called the Mackay 66, which was a list of 66 questions. Things like where did you go to college, are you married, what's your spouse's name, what are your hobbies, what sports teams do you root for, and the like. He required the salesmen on his team, over the course of a year, to fill it out for each of their clients, because he wanted them to get to know their clients so well, they could answer every question without hesitation.
When you truly pay attention to what matters to someone else, it becomes clear how you can be helpful. All the time in the business world you hear platitudes about the importance of adding value to others, but what does that really mean? Once you know your colleague well, it becomes far simpler to answer that question. You can build enormous goodwill by performing even very small gestures if they're targeted and thoughtful. Sending someone a note of congratulations when their favorite sports team wins is terrific, or making a small donation to their favorite charity, or inviting them to join you at a wine tasting event if you know they're a wine aficionado, or offering to help them think through their social media strategy if they're in the process of building their online presence.
It's not about lavishing someone with expensive gifts, it's about knowing what they'd value, and trying your best to make a gracious gesture. Here's one thing not to do. An easy way to blow what might've been a positive relationship is to ask for favors too quickly. That makes it seem like your aim was transactional. Even if you really did want to get to know the person genuinely, it can leave a sour taste in their mouth. Feel free to ask for advice or guidance with a new colleague. Most people appreciate it when you seek out their opinion and value it enough to seek it out.
But when it comes to favors that cost them time, or money, or political capital, be careful, and wait until you know them well. If you follow these strategies, getting to truly know people, adding value in creative ways, and waiting to ask for favors, you can build a solid foundation that will enable you to gain the professional support you need later on.
- Building social proof and goodwill
- Exhibiting authenticity
- Defining your workplace goals
- Identifying key decision makers
- Strengthening relationships
- Identifying company values
- Connecting your colleagues