8. Costs of Avoiding the Difficult Conversations
Managing perceptions is necessary to achieve change. But it cannot sustain you through the entire change journey. Sometimes, having the courage to face political issues and tell it like it is actually represents the most effective and efficient route forward.
In their book on organisational politics and change, David Buchanan and Richard Badham cite cases where ‘playing politics’ have organisationally beneficial outcomes. In one case they report a manager they interviewed who conducted (by his own admission) a covert campaign of denigration against the company’s most successful salesman. He explains why:
“So, bit by bit, I squeeze him tighter and tighter. I think another six months and I’ll have him out. Which is nasty, I know. I consider that to be a professional approach. I consider that because I don’t believe that his attitude and motivators are good for the organisation. Whereas I consider mine to be [so].” (Buchanan and Badham  Power, Politics and Organization Change: Winning the Turf Game, Sage Publications)