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The Office-Politics Game Workshop

From the office crab to the back-stabber to the office princess and sycophant, we’ve all had to deal at some level with office politics. During this high energy (and funny) workshop, you’ll learn about the importance of knowing the political game.

Office-Politics Game Workshop at Canadian Education Convention Toronto 2015

Franke James, Founder of Office-Politics.com, will be helping administrative professionals play the office-politics game at the Canadian Education Convention in Toronto on May 21, 2015. In this interactive role-playing game, the audience will be divided into tables of 6-8 people. Each workshop is three hours. (If you are interested in playing the office-politics game at your next corporate event please contact “ceo at officepolitics.com” for rates and fees.)

Why play the Office-Politics Game? 

“Office politics” are the strategies people use to gain advantage for themselves or to support a cause. The term’s negative connotation derives from the fact that sometimes people seek advantage at the expense of others or the greater good. Negative politicking often adversely affects the working environment and the relationships within it. Good politicking, on the other hand, helps you fairly promote yourself and your cause in a context of networking and stakeholder management.

During this high energy workshop, you’ll learn the importance of knowing the political game. You’ll be analyzing power, assessing the company’s best interests and putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. You’ll be developing key skills to navigate the land-mines of office politics and how to spot trouble before it hits the front page of the news.

While some of the game dilemmas may be humorous, the impact of ignoring office politics can ruin companies, careers and lives. This workshop will help you exercise your ethical muscles and better understand the policies/behaviours that are the foundation of a positive, healthy and productive environment.

What are the benefits of the Office-Politics Game Workshop?

  • Team Building:
    Build trust through better understanding of one another.
  • Enhance Communication:
    Workshop gets people talking about office politics and how to manage it.
  • Exercise Ethical Muscles:
    Lets people strengthen their ethical muscles by role-playing ethical decisions.
  • Appreciating Roles:
    Gets people talking about roles and responsibilities.
  • Raise Awareness:
    Workshop raises awareness of the other person’s feelings which can increase empathy.
  • Understand Culture and Fit:
    Gets people thinking about culture and the importance of fitting in.

OP_bookCNNThe Office-Politics Game Workshop is based on the award-winning book, Dear Office-Politics by Franke James. Franke brings 20 years of business experience to her role as an adviser on OfficePolitics.com. “Many people want to pretend that office-politics doesn’t exist. But the truth is you can’t duck it. It crosses all borders and seeps into all cultures. It is everywhere. You need to learn to play the game.”

The dilemma-based social game teaches you how to play (and laugh at) office politics. In March 2010, it won a bronze Axiom Business Book Award in HR/Training. The ethical dilemmas are actual letters that were submitted to OfficePolitics.com since it was founded in 2002.

Dear Office-Politics lets YOU be an Office Politics Adviser and offer your best, sage advice. And then it turns the tables, and puts you into the role of Advice-seeker! How does the advice measure up? Well, the Advice-seeker each round is the ultimate judge, but you can also peek at the back of the book to see how the real Office-Politics Advisers answered.

“Even though some companies are less political than others, none have repealed the laws of human nature. Even in the Girls Scouts of America, we hear there are lots of politics. If there are no politics, check the people’s pulse in your company since they are probably dead!” Rick Brandon, PhD, Advisor, OfficePolitics.com

Book The Office-Politics Game Workshop:

Play the office-politics game at your next corporate event. Contact Franke James, “ceo at officepolitics.com” for rates and fees. See excerpts from the Office Politics Game workshop presentation.

I am still quite terrified I will not fit in

Licensed illustration istockphotos Mister M, colorized by Franke James

Dear Office-Politics,

I’m a recent college graduate and have never really been very good at playing the office politics game. Sadly, I have already had two positions in the past year and the problems I ran across at both companies were politically-related. I don’t care about being the popular person, the department poster child, or the biggest and brightest (though I’m sure that will come eventually).

Right now, I’m just trying to learn how to apply my college education, get along with people, and grow into a position where I can become the biggest and brightest. I am very frustrated though as I have been very much underestimated in my past positions in the form of not being given anything to grow with, but when I’m not given those things, coworkers tend to develop the perception that I am not capable of the job because I’m not working on it. Even when I did ask for tasks or projects to be on, I was told there’s nothing for me (though there’s sure a lot for everyone else!). So, I can’t get the knowledge without the work, but can’t get the work without the knowledge. The past companies have dealt with proprietary software, so there were no Internet resources to reach out to and documentation (if there was any) was very outdated. I was let go as my frustration manifested itself in the form of open boredom.

I now have a new position I’m starting in a couple of weeks that I’m actually very excited about.

Create a Circle of Eyes to Fight Back

When Ellen Roseman, author and consumer-advocate columnist for The Toronto Star, invited me to contribute to her new book, Fight Back, I was delighted. As you’ll read in my excerpted article below, Ellen was an instrumental pair of “eyes” in helping me fight back — and win!

FightBack_cover_200I WAS FIGHTING A COMPANY over the faulty installation of a gas furnace and ductwork, which had caused major structural damage to our home. I wanted them to pay for repairs. The company had deep pockets and no fear of going to court. Its lawyer said in a surly email, “Go ahead. Sue us.”

Going to court could have amounted to financial suicide for our family, or at the very least, hardship. There was no way I wanted to fight this battle in court, or even in an arbitration hearing… Read more…

The New Guy I Hired is Hated…

Text illustration by Franke James; cactus ©istockphoto.com/Marcin Rychly

Dear Office Politics,

I recently received a promotion and hired my replacement; however, everyone who now reports to him hates him. He is a very talented manager of work, but lacks charisma and needs to improve on his people skills. We have lost a couple of good people due to his arrival, and a lot of other changes within the organization. I am working hard to help this manager develop but when do I give up for the sake of the team?

Please help.


Leadership Lessons from Katrina for Hurricane Sandy Survivors

Hurricane Sandy, 30/10/12: Flooded Avenue C at East 6th Street in Manhattan's East Village; Photo David Shankbone Three Leadership Lessons from Katrina to Help Hurricane Sandy Survivors By Office-Politics Adviser, Dr. Greg Ketchum Like everyone else I’ve been watching the news coverage of Hurricane Sandy. As I’ve watched the images of devastation I’ve found myself experiencing vivid flashbacks of my time being trapped in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. The chief emotions these images have evoked in me are anger, frustration, and even rage at the massive failures of leadership that happened during Katrina. Some of the suffering I experienced during Katrina could have been avoided had I done one simple thing; taken on responsibility and leadership to get myself out of New Orleans instead of depending on authority figures to do it for me. I waited for governments, disaster relief agencies, and the national guard to arrive like the cavalry riding over ...

Millennial eye rollers are grumbling

Dear Office-Politics,

I have been asked to manage a few coworkers on an ongoing reporting project that is fairly low scale in the priority of our division. These coworkers are younger, newer, and still learning the ropes, and I’ve been at this company for seven years.

Part of the problem is our work environment, which is generally tightly controlled and can be discouraging, and these newbies complain regularly about being micromanaged by our boss. I want to be flexible and encourage them to enjoy the project. When I suggest they take on a task they showed some interest in, or just encourage them to (gasp) actually participate in the project, I have gotten no reply, or some eye rolling, and/or have overheard conversations about moi like “he should have just assigned blah blah to do blah blah.” I have tried to delegate a la “Ok, Suzy, why don’t you tackle the blabbity blah?” and get … the same response. I give them deadlines and guidelines to keep them aware of what we need to do and how.

Gossip gone wild: why being a gossip limits your career

original illustration by Billiam James © verbotomy.com

“I made a comment about a coworker that I know I shouldn’t have and now I think it’s going to bite me in the butt. I noticed that one of my coworkers leaves for lunch everyday and then comes back and eats his lunch at his desk… How should I play this?”

Office-Politics Founder Franke James responds

Dear Hot Water,

Your last line “How should I play this?” is where I’m going to start. I sense from your question, that you see office politics as a game – and that you’d like to be able to play it to your advantage. So that’s where I’ll focus my advice. Not surprisingly (given that I’m the creator of the game-book, Dear Office-Politics) I like to view office politics as a game. And just like all games, this one has rules (mostly unwritten), strategies, power plays, opposing teams, a scoreboard, and ultimately winners and losers.

But as in sports, you don’t need to play dirty to win. You can choose to play fairly. I believe that political skills are an essential life skill that can help you influence people, make change happen, sell your good ideas, and move into a position of power so you can do the right thing.