The Org Savvy Continuum

Geek 5, Org savvy

To continue our conversation about organizational savvy, I want to introduce you to the Organizational Savvy Continuum that is the foundation of Survival of the Savvy by Brandon and Seldman.

The Organizational Savvy Continuum (OSC) describes two opposite political styles that both have their strengths and risk factors. As with most ideas and styles, balanced is more effective than extremes. The OSC can help you identify your political type and determine how to modify it, so you can be as effective as possible.

At the far right side of the continuum, there is the “Power of Person” style. These folks tend to be political by nature. At the extreme, they focus on position power, image and perception, private agendas, relationships and self-promotion. An exaggerated description of these people would be that they are manipulative sharks who will do anything to accomplish their personal goals.

On the other end of the continuum is the “Power of Ideas” folks who are low in political savvy. These people tend to believe in substance over form, focus on feedback and learning, want to do the right thing and have an open agenda. Perhaps most relevant to geeks, they often believe that decisions should be based on merit and that results and ideas should speak for themselves. In other words, the smartest idea should win.

The less political, power of ideas people believe that power resides in facts, logic and innovation. They are usually technically strong people who love to learn and have intellectual curiosity. With less focus on personal needs, they focus more on the needs of the organization with a strong emphasis on ethical behavior and integrity. They focus on doing an outstanding job and expect the results to gain them recognition. As such, they resist “playing politics”, because the results should be the proof.

Sound familiar? If you have not already guessed, most geeks fall into the “power of ideas”, less political end of the continuum. In the next post, we’ll discuss some of the potential career derailers involved with being a power of ideas geek.

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