One of the strategies for playing and wining the corporate games includes being effective at giving and receiving feedback. To aid in this, I have created a 7 page Feedback Guide that includes everything you need to know about giving and receiving feedback!
Download the Feedback Guide Now!
Ep 6 - How To Play & Win The Corporate Games
In today’s episode, I wanted to share with you 8 strategies on how to play the Play and Win the Corporate Games as a Big 4 Leader. I will have another episode next week continuing this topic, but for employees at every level.
These strategies are going to be a little different from what you’ve heard as I want to give you strategies of how to play the game while still owning who you are.
However, if you are playing the corporate games, you still have to hold back just a little (aka smiling and agreeing with someone vs not telling them off).
It’s a practice but if you want to stay in the corporate world, or at least make it a bit more manageable until you can leave, this episode is for you.
Find the full show notes for the episode at RecovingCorpholics.com/6.
We’ve all had to deal with tough situations at work. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t have found this podcast! There could be a Partner or colleague who is just a nightmare to work with me.
Maybe you work with people who throw you under the bus, or people who make you feel like you’re not good enough. Maybe the workload is just unattainable. Or maybe you just don’t like all the games you have to play to be accepted or get ahead.
The Corporate Games are not fun but there are some people who thrive in it. How do these people do it?
Here are 8 strategies that those people know how to do and what you can learn, too, if you want to play and win at the Corporate Games.
FYI, I talk about giving and receiving feedback for one of the strategies and to help, I’ve created a free step by step guide that goes into everything you could need to give and receive feedback. To download, go to RecovingCorpholics.com/6.
1. Be open to others’ ideas
The first strategy I have for playing the corporate games is to be open to others idea, aka Listen! There is nothing worse than a Partner or a colleague who is stuck on one idea, one solution or one way to do things.
You may have something to add but as you know with some people, it will go in one ear and out the other. Do you like working with these types of people? I know I didn’t.
What does this look like? We’ll I remember I reported to a Director early in my career and we had to provide an update to the client. He told me everything to create for the deck.
I asked if we could change up one of the sections to include a couple a couple thoughts I had and I was immediately turned down. And this happened every single time. Funny thing is I would talk to the client one on one about those ideas, they really liked it.
He just always wanted to be in control. And when I rolled off that project, I ensured I never worked with him again (as best I could)
If you want to succeed in the corporate world, you need to know how to play the game. Maybe you only see one solution for doing things, but still hear everyone out. Ask questions and see where they’re coming from.
This makes people feel heard and respected. If possible, you even say things such as “I like that idea, I’ll incorporate it when talking through slide 2” or “we can add a bullet on that, I like that”.
And even if you don’t like the idea, you explain why it may not be the best fit but say to save those points for the next presentation and to keep the feedback coming.
Most people don’t want you to change up the entire presentation or idea or solution, they just want to feel like a valued team member. So, in summary, listen to your team. Be open to what they are saying.
2. Be genuine and curious about hearing others out
For the second strategy I have for playing the corporate games and to piggy back on the above, you also need to be genuine. If you have one idea or solution in mind and still want to hear others out for the sake of being a team player, then you have it all wrong.
And people can see through that. You want to hear what the person or team is saying and ask questions with where they are coming from. Good ideas will have good support to back it up.
I worked with another Manager on a project where she would do this exact thing. She would say how much of a team player she was (which is a red flag right there) and then would say I’d love your feedback/ideas.
But when you would say your ideas, she would just say things such as “that won’t work, or “that seems silly”, or “I can think about that or maybe next time” and other things that just aren’t helpful or necessary.
If you actually want to hear others out, be genuine about it. Take time to understand where people are coming from. Because the less you do, the less people will want to work with you and the less people will bring their ideas to you.
3. Shut your mouth
Now, for the third strategy I have for playing and winning the corporate games is to keep your thoughts (and/or anger) to yourself. When you come across people who aren’t genuine and aren’t open, the best thing you can do is to shut your mouth and keep it to yourself.
They don’t hear you for a reason so telling them what they do or don’t do most likely isn’t going to help. In my experience, this is all about power and people wanting to win. Believe me when I say that you win by keeping your mouth shut.
I’ve tried to give feedback a couple of times to people and it just made the person so upset! Some people can’t take feedback and some people don’t want to feel like they are losing control.
When I tried to give feedback to some people, this made them feel like I was trying to get one over them or that I was better than them. And that’s not the intention at all. The best way to go about this is to keep quiet.
4. Be strategic with how you give feedback
Now, if you are going to give feedback, as its really bothering you and you think the person will be open to it, then go ahead. But for me and my fourth strategy I have for playing and winning the corporate games, you need to be strategic on how you give that feedback.
And as I mentioned earlier, I’ve created a free step by step guide that goes into everything you could need to learn how to give and receive feedback. To download, go to RecovingCorpholics.com/6 now.
Your feedback should sound something like this:
"Hey Jake, How’s it going? Would you have some free time this week to go over some notes I had from our team meeting this week? I had some question and feedback if you are open to it. Great. Well, Thank you so much for making the time.
I really appreciate how you were asking for our feedback on the presentation this past Friday and asking for our ideas moving forward.
It really made the team, especially myself feel really involved. And I think we could make the team meetings even better by learning more about everyone’s ideas. To speak personally, I felt as though you didn’t fully hear my idea before moving on to the next.
I know we are on a tight timeline for things and I would have loved to know why my idea wasn’t the best and what I can do moving forward to come up with better ideas as I want to be able to contribute to the team.
If we have time now, could we discuss that? I really value your opinion and want to learn as much as I can."
Alright, I hope you understand what I was trying to do there. I trying to come from a place where I was understanding, I was calm and I was making it about myself and not the team. I also want to note that I made sure my tone was equally as important as what I was saying.
Now there are other ways you could have given feedback. You could have said:
"Hey Jake, How’s it going? Can I give you some feedback on the team meeting this past Friday? OK great.
I wanted to ask you, I had some ideas that I gave the team and you kind of shot them down and I just wanted to ask why they weren’t great ideas and what was going on."
So see how that feedback that I was just giving there, it’s a little unorganized, it sounds like your upset and if I was the person, Jake, receiving this feedback, I would automatically go into defense mood and stand my position.
However, if you were to give feedback from the first example, you’d come from a place where you want to give help.
I hope those examples were helpful. Again, you can learn more about giving and receiving feedback by downloading my Feedback guide now on my website at RecovingCorpholics.com/6.
5. Be cautious of who you trust
The firth strategy I have for playing and winning the corporate games is to be cautious of who you trust. I can count on one hand how many people I could trust during my 15-year corporate career.
And I would need more than 2 hands to count the number of people I thought I could trust but ended up going behind my back.
Everyone has a personal agenda. And it’s very normal at a Big 4 as everyone is trying to get to the top.
Very few people will go against others if they think they are doing the right thing. Tell people just enough so they think they know you but keep most a secret so they have nothing against you.
6. Suck Up to the right people
Now, even if you don’t trust them, hell, if you don’t like them, The sixth strategy I have for playing and winning the corporate games is to still make the right people think they are the best.
Because in turn, they will like you and if you want to get promoted or need a favor sometime in the future, you need as many people as you can on your side. Now, don’t go overboard, the idea is still to be genuine.
You may not like them or trust them, but you can come up with at least one thing that makes them special, I mean hopefully, right?
And even if you can’t find one thing, try your best. If you want to succeed at playing and winning the corporate games, you’ll learn how to talk and hang with even the rudest of people.
Going back to that Director I talked about earlier, he was not a good leader but you know what, he did deliver and get things done.
If he did ask for feedback, I would tell him how out of all the Directors I’ve worked with, he was always on top of his game and I used that for him to like me and in turn, I got a great performance review.
The quality of your work always needs to be good. But I believe that if you want to exceed expectations, you also need to have people like you and be a team player.
If you got hired at a big 4, they know you can do the work. The question is do they want to do the work with you. People remember the little things so make them feel like they matter.
7. Accept Responsibility
The seventh strategy I have for playing and winning the corporate games is to accept responsibility. Something happened?
Well, it wasn’t my fault, it was this person’s fault. Or it was more than one person’s fault. Or I didn’t have all the information yet so it’s not my fault.
You know what will make you win the corporate games, being the person who stands up for people and accepts responsibly. This is especially true when you are in a leadership role. Want to know why, because the truth always comes out eventually.
Let me give you an example.
In the middle of the project, the team made an error and the client found out. It was bad. When the Partner asked who was responsible, the Director stood up and said it was his fault.
The Partner then went on to say that he should know better and really gave it to him. We later find out that it was an error from an associate and not the Director.
The Director took the blame -and as he said - to the team only, he should have spent more time reviewing the work so - it was his fault. It didn’t matter that he was on a couple different projects and splitting his time.
That associate later came out and told the Partner that it was her who made the mistake. I can still picture this Partners face when he found out. He was shocked, almost embarrassed but also really proud. He couldn’t believe that this Director took the fall for something.
The Director got great feedback on that project, even a spot bonus for his leadership and value on that project. And every person wanted to work with that Director after that as they knew he had their back.
8. Remember everyone is human
This last one is key. And honestly the hardest to do sometimes. It seems very basic but if you want to play and win the corporate games you need to remember that everyone is human and that everyone is different. I know, so simple!
Everyone was raised differently, they have different values, different beliefs and just different ways of doing things. You don’t know what happened in one’s childhood.
There could be a perfectionist you work with who is like that because their parents rode them all their life. You could have someone who doesn’t want your ideas as they need to feel in control otherwise, they feel like they are nothing.
This strategy is the one that has helped me the most. Why? Because it takes away all the thoughts, how could they do that? What were they thinking? They should have done it this way, and so forth.
There is none of that. People all do things a certain way. And people aren’t always going to like the way I do things. But we need to respect where we come from and see how we can come together. That’s where the winning happens.
That’s all I have for today’s episode. I hope you enjoyed these 8 strategies on how to play and win the corporate games as a leader and I hope you like my free step-by step feedback guide available on my website now at recoveringcorpoholics.com/6.
Stay inspired and live powerfully,
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