“PRESIDENCY, n. The greased pig in the field game of American politics,” as defined by Ambrose Bierce in The Devil’s Dictionary.
This week, following the U.S. presidential candidate debates, all eyes are on the prized pig. Few people (except Winston Churchill) would deny that politics is a game. And that’s just what authors Avinash Dixit and David McAdams try to explain in their most recent Harvard Business Review article, “Applying Game Theory to the Supreme Court Confirmation Fight.”
The article attempts to explain why—almost a year later—we still have no Supreme Court nominee to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat.
“First, a quick reminder of how we got here. The death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February set off a political stalemate that has served as a sidebar to the presidential election campaign. Under the U.S. Constitution, the president nominates justices ‘by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.’”
“Yet within hours of Scalia’s passing, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell vowed not to consider any nominee while President Obama remains in office,” reports the authors in the HBR.
So, when President Obama nominated Merrick Garland, a judge considered moderate compared to others on the nation’s highest court, nothing happened. Garland has been in nominee limbo ever since.
Part of the reason—Dixit and McAdams go on to say—is that both sides, Democrat and Republican, are playing a political game of “who will win the Senate seats.”
However, if Hillary Clinton wins the presidential election, and the Democrats control the Senate, there is a chance the nominee will be a judge even more liberal than Garland. This—to the Republicans—is the worst outcome.
Nevertheless, Republicans are reticent to go back on their stance; they will not approve Garland. Part out of overconfidence in winning the Senate and part out of the “sunk” costs of disagreeing for so long, Republicans are standing by their stubborn position.
“If Clinton wins the presidency and Republicans keep Senate control, she might prefer that Obama leave Garland as his nominee during Congress’s ‘lame duck’ session—that way she can avoid a nasty Supreme Court fight at the start of her first term,” the authors conclude.
“Unfortunately, if recent history is any guide, Republicans may actually relish the thought of dragging out the Supreme Court confirmation process into Clinton’s first term. If so, Republicans would prefer to continue blocking Garland’s nomination even after a Clinton win.”
There you have it. Politics as game where nobody gets the greased pig and nobody wins.
But, your firm doesn’t have to simulate these tactics in the office.
When competent people vie for a professional promotion, usually the one with political savvy wins. And when conflicts arise, the politically astute reconcile those differences. Why? Because they know how to get things done, and they know what to say, when to say it, and to whom.
Take, for example, the subtle art of self-promotion. Self-promotion involves telling managers, not colleagues, about value you bring to the company. Bragging is exaggerating this value with the sole purpose of appearing superior.
Trump’s tweet, “Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest -and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault,” is shameless bragging.
But, one of the more memorable lines from Clinton during the debate with Trump was, ‘“You criticize me for preparing for this debate,” Clinton said.
“And, yes, I did. Do you know what else I prepared for? I also prepared to be president.”
Passionate and prepared self-promotion, done properly, is important.
Studies show men tend to be more involved in office politics and regard them as a natural and normal part of organizational life. Women, on the other hand, often think of office politics as manipulative plotting or blatant bragging.
So, if women want to be successful they must demonstrate political intelligence. In fact, by learning to practice positive politics you can avoid potential pitfalls, increase your personal influence, and develop a career-enhancing game plan.
Take C4CM’s “Smart Woman’s Guide to Office Politics: How to Increase Your Influence & Achieve Your Career Goals,” on Friday, October 14th, 2016 from 11:00am to 12:15pm Eastern.
You will learn:
- How to survive and thrive in a power hierarchy
- Handle five different management personalities
- Know if you’re committing political suicide
- Special strategies for successfully working with executives
Leave the debates and games to Hillary and Trump. Vote in the election. Win in your career.