Friday, July 12, 2013

Book Review “Beyond Office Politics: The Hidden Story of Power, Affiliation and Achievement in the Workplace” - Professor M.S.Rao

What are the details of the book?
If you want to learn organizational politics, you read this book.  If you want to learn about coaching, you read this book.  If you want to advance your career, you read this book.  Linda Sommer’s book titled, Beyond Office Politics: The Hidden Story of Power, Affiliation and Achievement in the Workplace contains 126 pages including the Coach’s Notes. The book is divided into seven chapters. The chapter 1 preludes with hierarchy and positioning; chapter 2 deals with power, affiliation and achievement; chapter 3 explains coopetition and King Arthur; chapter 4 dwells that your boss is your customer; chapter 5 outlines that business is all about people; chapter 6 highlights brand identity and the answer frame; and chapter 7 describes about the back in the game.  Linda hits the bull’s eye with her well punched ideas, and insights in a story format on office politics in this book.

What is inside?
The book is a magical presentation of Harvard psychologist, David McClelland’s Power, Affiliation and Achievement. The author displayed tremendous creativity in articulating McClelland’s theory in a conversational tone. Those who failed to understand McClelland’s motivational theory, this is the ideal book to buy, understand and apply in their real lives.  The book helps readers rate their motivation levels and also assess others’ motivational levels to achieve the desired individual and organizational outcomes.

The book is written in a story format dealing with motivations and politics in the business world. The key character in this book is Don whose blind spots about politics and communication hold him back to be considered for a new position.  The style of this book reminds me of ‘One Minute Manager’ as the entire book revolves around Don in a conversational note which engages the readers up to the end.  

This book helps you understand the ground realities about organizational politics that often hinder employees reaching to the top in the workplace. It provides you the requisite tools and techniques to overcome the challenges of office politics to enable you play safe, and to be in the good books of your superiors. It helps you advance your career growth and achieve your professional success. It provides you a blueprint to achieve career advancement irrespective of the industry you are into.

This book provides solace for the career aspirants who are pulled into office politics although they are not interested in them. The book is well presented, structured and sequenced with chapters.  At the end of each chapter, Linda provides a link connecting with ‘Coach’s Notes’ which helps assimilate the essence quickly and ensures effective takeaways.

The book helps readers understand their personality, leadership styles and aspirations as per power, affiliation and achievement. It helps them understand what is their predominant area of motivation to enable them to build a right connectivity, compatibility and chemistry with others; and manage their roles and responsibilities to excel in their careers.

Key Takeaways
  • There are three types of mammals: solo, herd, and hierarchical: solo mammals like bears and tigers live alone, except for at mating time; herd mammals, on the other, like gazelles and cattle, also have no social structure but mingle around one another for safety in numbers against predators; and hierarchical mammals, however, like chimps, apes, wolves and humans have an instinct for social organization.
  • People motivated by power have a desire to exert their influence over others and situations. They often like things done their way, or want other people to follow their directions. People motivated primarily by affiliation, on the other hand, want to be associated with other people. They are keenly motivated by a social orientation. People who are primarily interested in achievement want a sense of personal accomplishment. They often seek out challenging and competitive situations, set realistic and achievable goals, and set a standard of personal excellence for themselves.
  • Lists out the actions one could take to appeal to Power, Affiliation and Achievement-motivated person.
  • Unfolds that language is behavior. Whenever people talk, their language reveals their motivation – both conscious and unconscious.

What is the recommendation?
It is an engaging and informative book.  Linda is passionate about coaching with a true heart to make a difference in the lives of others. She had distilled her two decades of experience to share it with others. The book is useful for the readers and leaders who want to know the real dynamics of organizational politics to enable them to guard themselves and move cautiously in their corporate ladder.

After reading this book your perception towards organizational politics will change. The book contains pearls of wisdom on coaching and leadership. It is written in a simple and straight language.  Linda wrote this book based on her two decades of practical experience. Hence, you can imagine the leadership takeaways from this book.  This is a good resource for learners and leaders to scale their corporate ladder quickly.  Enjoy reading this book!

Life is great!

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