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So what’s this skill called “Political Acuity”?

You have heard that someone has amazing political acuity and are left wondering…. what does this really mean?  This skill is one that takes years to hone and usually gets more developed after we make a series of mistakes in our career. What? So making mistakes do have some real value; you wonder. Making mistakes by forgetting to consider the context or not anticipating the questions that will be asked helps us to grow our political acuity.

The trailblazer in you wants to push ahead with a great new idea.  You are so excited and try to sell this new concept to others around you. They resist or even shut it down.  So why is this?

In your trailblazing way have you may have moved too fast and forgotten to garner support along the way for your idea.

Have you found information about where this idea has worked and did you take the time to convey this information?

It’s always wise to consult the organizational historian about whether this or an idea, which is like your idea has been tried before and find out how it worked. This historian is often not in an official position of power and may be a colleague and not your boss. Often the knowledge they have is a huge benefit to you.

Consider how many new ideas are on the organizations plate at the same time. Try not to tip the scales. Timing is everything. Is this the right time or will there be some event in the future, which will support your idea?

Have you clearly and I mean clearly in plain language described your new idea and why its so important?

If you are overwhelmed now … don’t be.

Just pause to consider these factors and then decide if you need to slow down and do some more homework. This will help you to have a better chance selling this idea to the boss or the politicians and the public.

I call this connecting the dots. Be aware of the important consideration and connections between these factors that will help you gather steam to launch your idea?

Remember you will miss the boat on some of these considerations and you will fail to make important connections between them. Your idea may not fly this time…that’s ok. With failure comes learning which will lead to a sharper sense of political acuity. Next time you will have more success in getting the buy in you need to move the yardstick forward!

There are also so many considerations outside the organization. Oh that’s for my next blog. This political acuity thing is complex but that’s the fun of it.