My future job - Part 2
What is your assessment of the power dynamics in the job, organization or industry you are entering?
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Power & politics are two aspects which go hand in hand with any job, organization and industry - My future job introduction? It would be appropriate to say that these two factors are as essential to the survival of the company; as good financials. The advertising industry has long been associated with power plays and more often than not notoriety for its politics.
The best definition of power in an organization would be “the relation between two or more co workers where one can get the others to do something they otherwise would not have done. Politics can be aptly defined as the activity used to overcome resistance or the use of power to advantage.
As a part of the marketing team in an advertising agency, there will be a lot of power because the profile is a key position. The marketing manager is responsible for bringing clients, keeping old clients happy and coordinating with the entire team to produce the final product. The marketing manager would be the face of the agency for the outside world. The marketing profile is the most important power wise because the other departments have to work according to the marketing brief and their delivery however fantastic it may be, will have to be Okayed by the marketing team before being presented to the client.
The marketing manager is the one who is in contact with the clients and is hence an important resource for the company. As the business runs on personal relationships the accounts may well stop using the agency if their marketing manager quits. Hence the organization also needs to keep the marketing manager happy and hence it results in this team wielding power over the company.
The industry on the whole is one full of power plays and politics as the revenues are huge, the clients more often than not conglomerates and movie stars are wooed to be in the campaign. The environment is fraught with glamour and every agency plays “dirty” to get the account. The people in this industry are associated with creativity and fashion and the marketing team especially is known to be active on the social circuit.
As a marketing manager, I would need to be up to date with the trends in the industry and make contacts within all the departments to get the best for the accounts that I would bring in the future. At first being assigned to one of the senior team members, I would have to watch and learn and capitalize on the contacts and learning that this stage would bring.
The industry is also fraught with politics of the highest level in terms of bans on what can be advertised and what cannot .The client expects the world and can make the whole agency run the entire night to get the work done or redone.
Hence this is a very exciting industry in while people spend more time on power plays and politics to get their work done than in any other industry merely because of the number of interactions involved with people.
- What are the sources of power and influence skills necessary for you to accomplish your goals and be effective in your chosen position?
Dealing with power and politics is the toughest part of corporate life. The skill to tackle and manage is in very few people . One needs a personable nature with a great amount of charisma and presence to be effective in the advertising agency more specifically as a marketing manager. Power can make or break ones career and personality.The sources of power are basically the same as in any other organization or industry. Power can be Legitimate in nature, or that power because of the relative position and duties of the holder of the position (Raven, Rubin 1983). This is also a type of formal power which is conferred by the organization structure. This would the power that would some with the job of marketing manager. The all important duties of the marketing manager would lead to a lot of power because the profile is a key position. The marketing manager is responsible for bringing clients, keeping old clients happy and coordinating with the entire team to produce the final product. The marketing manager would be the face of the agency for the outside world. Therefore the power associated with this position would be present; however it is upto the individual to use this power to advantage.
The power of reference is yet another source which means the ability of the individual to persuade and influence others (Raven, Rubin 1983). This is based on the charisma and interpersonal skills and the person holding this power is looked upon as a reference point. This is an important skill for the person handling a marketing position as the position demands dealing with both internal departments as well as the client. The manager should be a source of knowledge and hence be able to guide the client in the direction the agency wants.
Yet another source of power is that of expertise, this is the skill set of the individual which is in demand by the organization (Raven, Rubin 1983). This is based largely on education or training. This power can be gained from a mentor relationship when one initially joins the team.
Reward power or the power to confer material rewards (Raven, Rubin 1983). This is generally a power which comes with the higher echelons of the organization. However when a job is well done and the team has worked at full throttle even a starter in the marketing team can be expected to throw a thank you party.
Last but not the least is coercive power which involves use of negative influences such as withholding of rewards (Raven, Rubin 1983). This power will not work in the long run because this power will make the individual end up being alone at the top, if he/she gets there. This industry is built on wheeling and dealing and social networking, coercion can earn one a bad name faster than the blink of an eye.
Therefore the powers that are essential to accomplish goals in this business are all but the last, because of the social nature of the business. Plus one gets better work with a platitude rather than a threat. Therefore the skills of social networking, knowledge and professionalism are essential to success in this industry. There is also a necessity to develop key contacts everywhere as the industry is a small one and if one knows the key people, they can get to know the entire team of importance.
- Do your current sources of power and your dominant influence skills match these requirements?
Power is a complex phenomenon which results from position in the organization and personal attributes. Some may have the skills or personal attributes while others may have the position and hence the power to harness resources. Yet others who develop themselves in a balanced manner have both.
While starting out in the job of marketing manager , there will be a difference in the ability to influence both position wise and personally as one would be new to the job and hence the culture . The development of position and personal skills over time would allow matching to the requirements of the organization from the marketing manager. The passage of time would allow the enhancement of power and development of personal relationships. Currently neither the position nor the personal relationships will evoke respect or be given due until one proves oneself on the job.
The acquisition of power is therefore a process which will take time and become prominent as time passes. If one were to start wielding power on day one on the job without experience, it would evoke negative reactions even though the action was well meaning. The marketing job is one which involves oral and written skills, or the gift of the gap and presentation. This is a skill which is inherent in my personality and hence would be a plus point in my career as a marketing manager.
The marketing manager needs to be persuasive to persuade others to their line of thinking, this is something that I believe I am good at, convincing people to think my way while believing it was their own idea. The marketing manager needs to be good at finance and research analysis and this is where my skills at numbers and at information analysis will come into play.
Therefore while knowledge power is present in me, it is very rudimentary as one would learn the ropes on the job. But my personality and individual characteristics would carry me far in my chosen profession. My personal skills and ability to be flexible, and my willingness to learn and keep an open mind would therefore be a plus point for me to meet the requirements of the organization.
- What is your plan for developing your sources of power, influence skills, and relationships necessary to be effective: (1) before actually taking the job, (2) during your first months on the job, and (3) over the longer term of your career?
The industry is extremely demanding and competitive and to ensure ones establishments and foothold in the power structure of the organization , one needs to be empowered. One must be prepared to take full charge of the assigned responsibility as well as demonstrate that ability. It is also important to not distance oneself from the office politics, as this may cause exclusion from the general crowd and therefore hinder advancement.
- Before actually taking the job
The plan is to do my homework on the company and the job I am expected to do. This would be done by asking friends in the industry to give me inputs, holding discussions on subjects who the job would refer to such as fashion or product trends, competitor strategies, market movements. The World Wide Web would be a trove of information which I would refer to for any information about the company and its market. In short the plan is to prepare oneself with basic knowledge about the company and sharpen knowledge.
2) During your first months on the job
The first few months would be filled with listening and learning and working on every aspect of the job possible down to even sticking the presentation together. By working with all the teams and departments on the project one will be able to develop interactions and hence communication , relationships which can be banked upon in the future. As the job would involve a great deal of coordination with other departments , I would prefer to spend time in each to learn their assets and weakness or constraints so that the marketing proposal can be made practically. In other words the key is to become essential , by being a person who does the job and someone that people want to interact with . Getting to know the boss and working to make him project proud will be an added advantage as in the long run , one can ask for more responsibilities . Learning the nuances of the business and the “talk or lingo” and not be labeled in the mix of office gossip or troublemaker. Building the foundations of a strong network is also essential in this point of time.
(3) Over the longer term of your career
The plan is to develop my skill sets to communicate and influence the direction that the organization is taking. The power I wield would be positive in nature and be developed and turned to negotiating situations with panache. I plan to increase the range of my influence skills to become a source of inspiration even outside my company. Multi tasking and strategizing would be competencies which I would like to develop in the long term.
The essence is to have a personal plan in terms of career path and goals and to learn throughout the career progress in the company. In the long run , would also like to be known to stand for right things. Develop characteristics of trust , reliability , fairness and hence power from the informal structure. In the long run known as a team player who expects the best and works on producing the best would also be one of the goals to the road to power.
- How will you stay vigilant to the kinds of ethical dilemmas that are likely to occur in your new job?
The new job is likely to bring in dilemmas of a nature that one is unaccustomed to in student’s life. There will be co workers who are cheating the organization, yet others who are skimming accounts, some who have no regard for discipline and rules of the company. The boss may be playing around with the company, and may expect you to throw in your bucket as well. There may be people who would create trouble and expect one to take the blame or face up to the consequences because of being the new kid on the block. There may be situations when people who become close friends are not being honest to the company and cover up their shoddy work by using a quiet co worker who is timid. Situations of tell and be a tattle tale or not tell and become partner to the crime by doing so will arise.
Ethics refer to what’s considered right and wrong. Sometimes the situation will arise when the client is taken for a royal ride and is not given the input he deserves. This is where as a marketing manager; I would have to ensure that quality standards are met. One cannot be a saint and save the world. The key to dealing with ethical dilemmas is to keep vigil and if it is out of proportion or damaging to self or to another person, confront the problem or report it quietly without creating a ruckus about it.
Common ethical decisions in a new job would be friends asking for discounts or tickets, these needs to be managed without cheating the company or disappointing friends. Reporting the number of hours working and reporting misconduct by co workers are two things which generally occur on a start up job.
Games on company time or dining on company expense are two other problems which will crop up. In advertising, everyone and anyone pad their expense account and present the bills to the client. It is up to the individual to be honest or to go along with the flow.
The right ethical decisions are essential to becoming a success in the long run. Knowing how to act with integrity and be responsible to the job and organization and how to treat one and all with respect is essential to getting along in both the job and life. At first those who are being unethical may shun you for being straight but in the long run one will find them leaving you to your business and respecting you for sticking up to your beliefs.
Therefore the way to meet up to ethical dilemmas is to not treat it as a dilemma but to be focused and disciplined in ones attitude and beliefs. If one takes the stand of not someone to be fooled around with, the attitude will reflect automatically and command the respect of co workers.
- Raven B.H. , Rubin J.Z. (1983), Social Psychology. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-87304-7