It’s no secret that we can’t be successful working in a vacuum. We need other people to accomplish our goals. This can be a real challenge in the corporate environment. Resources are often scarce and access difficult due to certain loyalties and politics.

Have you noticed how some people never seem to have a problem getting what they need and others are left out in the cold?

The secret to the access is building social capital across the organization specifically with the stakeholders who have the power and influence to provide resources, and this must be done with finesse or political savvy.

Successful individuals are those who have done their homework and know their audience. They can adapt their behavior to each social situation. It’s not only what to say but when, where, and how to say it. This is where the finesse comes in.

In their article, “Gender and Career Success: The Facilitative Role of Political skill”, authors Perrewe and Nelson state:

Politically skilled individuals not only know precisely what to do in different social situations at work: they also know exactly how to do it in a manner that diffuses any potentially manipulative motives….Individuals who have political skill are excellent observers of other’s behaviors and are attuned to subtle differences in social situations.

Can this skill be learned? Yes.

Your success depends on listening and observing to establish strong connections with your network.

Here are some success tips on how to use your finesse and political savvy to get things done in your organization:

  1. Clarify what you are trying to achieve and what you need to accomplish it.
  2. Understand the dynamics and current politics and alliances that control the resources.
  3. Identify the people who have the influence and power over the resources.
  4. What do you already know about them? What’s important to them? What motivates them? What else do you need to know to help you build a relationship?
  5. Position yourself as someone who can help them achieve their goals (using your value proposition.)
  6. Be visible and build long term relationships with a strategic focus.
  7. Look for opportunities to expand your network and your influence across the organization.

Don’t be left out in the cold or stuck with a huge project and no resources. Begin to build allies and bridges to give you the resources you need to accomplish your goals.