Friday, June 24, 2005

Welcome to market politics!

If you've never been good at office politics, don't worry about it. The new game now is market politics.

In other words, it's how you manage perceptions in the job market and in social circles that will determine your career progress.

In the old economy, with office politics, you had to pay close attention to what was going on in the office, because if you missed a cue or a hint or accidental body language (i.e. things people say through their body language without meaning to, thereby revealing their true intentions or plans), then you might have lost a promotion or failed to get your budget approved or lost subordinated personnel, etc.

In the new economy, as far as careers are concerned, the corporate walls have crumbled. Office politics is replaced by market politics. It's no longer about your "position" but your "mobility."

And the more visibly mobile you are in the market, the more power you will gather at the office.

For example, imagine that you invite your boss to join your LinkedIn network and he sees that you have 300 connections (many of whom come from competitors of the employer organization). Now imagine your boss is also invited by one of your co-workers, who only has 12 connections.

Obviously, you would impress your boss more than your inadequately networked fellow co-worker.

In negotiation parlance, it means your BATNA is greater than your co-worker's, which may put you in a much better position when you ask for more resources, more work schedule flexibility, a higher salary, etc. from your boss. (BATNA means Best alternative to a negotiated agreement -- it basically means "how good are your other choices?" The better they are, the more power you have in a negotiation.)