No matter how many people work at your company, it only takes one or two people to change the game you’re playing. Choosing your alignments on the job can make all the difference in your career. In fact, forging alliances in the workplace is a lot like getting elected: it’s not the most popular candidate who wins, but the one who has proven himself/herself to be the most influential.
In terms of voting power, finding the right alignments is about courting individuals with the most votes that count. In other words, you can have all the friends in the world, head the Cheer Club, lead the league in strike-outs on your company softball team and generally have the popular vote, all without winning the election. Just ask Al Gore, who won the popular vote in the 2000 election, but lost the Electoral vote.
These viewpoints are most certainly capitalist. When you’re in a corporation, democracy doesn’t help you win the favor of your co-workers; your outcomes are determined by your relationships with key decision makers – those one or two consummate executives who have the most influence on your future with the company.
The corporate alliance is a very intimate one; for better or worse, you could be aligning yourself with someone who is very visible, influential and known throughout the company. A consummate executive also remembers that it’s not just the ally you’re courting, but everyone in his or her network.