Sutton Enterprises

Thoughts of a Maturing Baby Boomer with Attitude

January 21, 2021

Ten Things to Know About Political Savvy

Presented by Dianne Floyd Sutton

 Political Savvy, is it self-serving? Yes, but there's nothing wrong with that. If you are going to make a difference, you need to have power.

1. The two keywords are ethical influence.

2. You have been practicing political savvy since your childhood.

3. Your image counts – Identify and refine your brand. Act like your cell phone is checking you out 24/7 - Identify your values – they will be questioned?

4. Understand power is not good or bad…it’s how it is used. Identify your values – they will be questioned? What is important to you?

5. Be sure to wag your tail. Practice subtle self-promotion. No one can appreciate you if they don’t know what you are doing. Share information without being obnoxious.

6. Understand the organization's cultures - Identify the unwritten rules by observing and asking questions.

7. Identify and observe the power dynamics in and out of your organization – Identify who the power players, team players, and mavericks – Who is in and who is out?

8. Pick Your Battles - Do you want to be right, or do you want to be effective?

9. You are not dealing with just one generation, listen and be flexible

10. A little bit of savvy is a sensible strategy even if you choose not to “play the game”… at the very least, learn the rules and be an informed spectator

“Politics is not good or bad: it’s neutral and natural.”

Politics is not a zero-sum game; being politically savvy does not mean that someone else has to lose for you to win. Politics is not about being false; instead, political savvy is about using your skills, behaviors, and qualities to be effective, and sincerity is vital.”

                                                                        ~ The Center for Creative Leadership

Identify and observe the power dynamics in your organization

  • Official position power          
  • Unofficial influence power
  • Emerging leaders
  • Peer leaders
  • Opinion Leaders
  • Coalitions
  • Your adversaries
  • Your allies

Politically savvy people understand the organizational culture, each group's roles, and responsibilities, and know who the key influencers are in each area.



  •  Political Savvy, A Systematic Approach to Leadership Behind-the-Scenes, Joel De Luca, Ph.D.
  • Get Them on Your Side, Samuel B. Bacharach
  • Playing by the Unwritten Rules, Moving from Middle to Top, Indigo Triplett Johnson
  • Survival of the Savvy: High Integrity Political Tactics for Career and Company Success, Rick Brandon and Marty Selman
  • The Speed of Trust, Steven M.R. Covey with Rebecca R. Merrill
  • The Skills of an Effective Leader, Bernard E. Robinson
  • Who Really Matters: The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Success, Art Kleiner
  • Workplace Savvy, A Guide to Gaining A Competitive Edge in Today’s Workplace, Dianne Floyd Sutton



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