What Make Things Happen

There is no shortage of good ideas. The problem is how turn good ideas into action. Many people know what needs to be done, but few are able to leverage the energy and support of others in order to do it. The difference between successful leaders who can push ideas and those who fail to make things happen may be a question of their political competence. Successful leaders not only push an idea, but understand the opposition, get people on their side, and make things happen.

Political Competence is the ability to understand what you can and cannot control, when to take action, who is going to resist your agenda, and whom you need on your side to push your agenda forward. Political competence is about knowing how to map the political terrain, get others on your side, and lead coalitions.

Making things happen depends on your broad political vision. Without political competence, you can have the best of intentions, the most brilliant of ideas, the most exquisite processes of execution, but you’ll be unlikely to succeed in making things happen in your organization. Political competence is not simply one more process, but it is your capacity to understand and analyze your environment, and take action.

Many people can have good ideas, but real leaders are those who know how to mobilize others around these ideas. How often have we seen people with great ideas fail simply because they couldn’t win and sustain a coalition that could put the idea to practical use in the organization? People who generate results are politically competent.

Summing-up: In the organizational world of imperfect decisions, it is political competence that makes things happen. It is your political competence that will translate ideas into action and strategy into results.

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