Working the Cultural Network
Almost every good
senior manager has spies. Typically a spy is a well oiled buddy
in the woodwork-someone loyal enough to keep you informed of
what is going on. The best spies are people who are liked and
have access to many different people; they hear all the stories,
and they know who's behind them. Often the best spies came from
the ranks of the company storytellers. Most tend to be
unthreatening people because they are not going to
progress any higher in the organization, they'll always be taken
care of as long as they keep the channels o information open.
These are not spies in
the cloak-and dagger sense of infiltrating the boardroom or
snooping in the files. Truly effective spies never say a bad
word about anybody and thus are much loved as well as much
needed. They are so careful that they won't attempt to
color the organizational climate in any way that might impinge
on the careers of others. They do this carefully and precisely
to keep those valuable channels open.
Instead, sharp spies
keep their fingers on the pulse of the organization. Smart
managers on the way up latch top spies and develop special
friendships with them. They lunch with them once a month and
find out from them what is transpiring in their little corner of
the cultural network. The use spies to verify the rumor
mill or they balance the information they get from their
Recent arrivals to the
company are very effective, if unwitting, spies. A newcomer has
the freshness of perspective to judge events more clearly than a
habitual player. And the the newcomers don't know enough to
filter out information that someone more savvy thinks the senior
manager shouldn't hear.
Senior managers often
cultivate these new workers spies. They might ask. "How have you
found your first six months here?" Or, "what's going on out
there?" Or, " What do you feel about these changes?" The junior
employee, flattered by this unexpected favoritism, will say:
"Well, we've got to change something about such and such." And
the senior manager will ask, "Oh, why's that? Tell me about it."
The junior person will tell the senior manager everything he or
she wants to know about what's going on; after this initial,
rather intimate conversation, the newcomer is very likely to
come back to the senior manager again and again with more
insight and information.
Continue reading about
'working the cultural network'.
The cultural network
are people defined as: