do you still have to be political to succeed? – The Express

do you still have to be political to succeed –

Stand your ground in difficult times so as not to hurt your furious superior. Being able to find the right time to bring him his favorite chocolates, so that the pressure goes down and he is able to take the helm of his ship again. Smile when he belches and calm him down, telling him that he is right but that others do not necessarily have his rare intelligence. A bit exaggerated or hypocritical, it’s a way of ensuring a warm place at his side. The salary and the rank that go with it and, by an extraordinary leap in a silo system, when you are a politician in the company, you can climb very high.

“Go higher, go higher / And still believe in the future / Go higher, go higher / Get closer to the future”, sings Tina Arena. Not necessarily the greatest worker, nor necessarily the most talented, certainly not the inventor who develops complicated algorithms, he is on the other hand the privileged colleague of those in a position of power. It is the essential “politics”, capable of reassuring and encouraging without ever offending them or making them lose their power. Is this still the best way to progress in a company that is now openly questioning itself?

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Lessons from History

“What are the mechanisms that led the scion of a family of ‘middle’ financiers from Languedoc to become, in 1726, the principal minister of Louis XV?” asks historian Fabrice Malcor (The Ascension of Cardinal de Fleury (1653-1726), Rennes University Press, 2023). Only political ends succeed in entering near the king, living at court and shining there. But only geniuses stay there and make a career. Posterity remembers Richelieu and Mazarin. Monsieur de Fréjus alias Fleury deserves to be raised to their level: the helping hand of a financial uncle, a classic ecclesiastical career in the 17th century, this destiny was honorable. “The drivers of ascent are then individual and based on the interplay of clienteles.” The least known cardinal of the three nevertheless became tutor to the young Louis XV, the king’s true support, a devoted and respected Prime Minister. Envy.

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Three centuries and a revolution later, the power games in companies are identical: if everyone does not have the opportunity to observe a rise as remarkable as that of Fleury, everyone remembers incredible successes. They are due to five qualities: boldness, perseverance, resilience, intelligence and composure. Luck is a major factor without which it is pointless to struggle. Seize it if it passes or know how to provoke it: the political professional who sees all his support disappear thanks to a sale or a reorganization will have to deal with new governance. Like André Hercule de Fleury who lost and found other bosses before approaching and seducing the Sun King.

Take inspiration from Netflix?

If France has a past which is based on great climbs, the United States, on the other hand, seems much more interested in other forms of progression. Following the example of Gafam (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft) allows us to escape from these cultural mechanisms which hinder individual capabilities. Reed Hastings has imagined a new variation with the disruptive No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention published in 2020 (Rule ? No rules! Nextflix and the culture of reinvention, French version published in 2021 by Buchet-Chastel). Accepting disagreement is the opposite of the method of the political manager who agrees to each idea during a Codir and who loses his place or his desired trajectory, if he brings a divergent brick. Yet this is the recommendation of the co-founder and director of Netflix: “Absolute sincerity rather than dodging.”

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“I had the impression that, even in France, we had gone beyond this question of being ‘political’ in the world of start-ups. But I think that it still exists”, indicates Pierre Fournier, author of The Will Method. management novel (2023, self-published). Several trends continue to coexist. It is up to organizations to act if they want to “depoliticize” the pyramid. For Reed Hastings, this involves accepting weaknesses, failure as well as flashes of genius, management based on freedom and responsibility. However, for employees and managers to deconstruct the “political” system, it is imperative to establish a climate of trust. Is this the solution? 93% of employees in France today say they are disengaged with the company in France, 66% in the United States (Gallup, 2023). “The quality of employees is more important than the quality of procedures,” is one of Mister Netflix’s credo. Louis XIV would perhaps have acquiesced. His court, certainly not.