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Chapter 15. Team Politics > Through the Dimensions

Through the Dimensions

The external strategies of teams are a complex matter. The team leader or project manager may play a key role in managing outside relations, but there's more to it than just your boss dealing with her boss. Teams need to manage various interfaces and interconnections with numerous parts of the organization. These interactions really take place in several dimensions: the power structure, the task structure, and the information structure.

Think of the power dimension as vertical. The important external connections in this dimension are upward. Few teams achieve real high performance without learning how to “manage up.” They need “ambassadors,” politicians who know how to play organizational politics and work the power structure, effectively marketing the project and the team, as well as building and maintaining a good group reputation through how they represent the team and its interests to others. Public relations can have a lot to do with team success, since a team's reputation can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. “Good” teams get the pick of projects and priority access to new software and machines. A lot of success can be a matter of taking on the doable challenges and passing on the boring and the impossible.


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