Addressing the ugliest risk: internal politics
Maybe it’s a taboo subject, but I can’t say I have seen it discussed very often.
Politics can be the greatest risk to the achievement of objectives, whether at the corporate level, between division heads, among managers, on projects, or from one worker to another.
I have seen it far too often:
- Hiding information
- Spreading false rumors
- Sabotaging projects by withholding people or other resources
- Failing to tell others of dangers ahead
- Duplicating efforts with competing projects
- and more
So what should we do about it?
- Recognize that internal politics, at any and every level, can be a source of risk
- Follow your risk management process (e.g., as explained in ISO 31000) to assess and determine how to treat the risk
- Be aware of the politics of dealing with the politics
- Avoid being accused of playing politics yourself by being open and taking care how you frame the issues (such as talking about availability of resources rather than people withholding resources)
- Stay alert and keep your eyes and ears open to changes in the political environment
- If this is a significant problem, talk to your champions at executive and board level about how to change the culture
I welcome your stories, comments, and opinions.
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