I just completed reading Empowering Yourself: The Organizational Game Revealed by Harvey J. Coleman.
This book weighs in at 178 pages. The writing is excellent and makes it quite easy to burn through the book quickly. I basically read it in about 4 hours total (on and off).
The premise of the book is to explain the “Rules Of The Game” in regards to how one is picked for promotions and how one can increase their status in the workplace (or in any organizational hierarchy really). The Rules of The Game basically boil down to three areas that are necessary in order to succeed, which the author calls the P.I.E. model:
- Performance – This basically comes down to what you do.
- Image – What others think of you. How you project yourself.
- Exposure – What visibility you have inside and outside the organization.
The author does a really good job of explaining the components of the model in a way that the “common man” can understand. As I was reading it I was able to relate the stories or principles to things that have happened in “real life” and understand why some of the things that have happened may have taken the turn that they have.
The author states that each of the components of the P.I.E. model carries a different weight in the ability to move upward in an organization. Surprisingly, performance counts for only 10% of the total, with Image at 30% and Exposure accounting for the other 60%.
For me at least, this was the complete opposite of how I have approached my career. I have always focused on results as the primary means of moving ahead in my career (as did the author initially). The weighting listed above has me thinking seriously about the things I need to improve in order to move forward.
Also covered in the book is the separation of organizational structure into seven levels. For the rest of the book, the seven levels are defined, and explained in a number of different contexts in ones life.
I initially approached this book with some reservation, thinking it was another one of those “self-help” type of books — but as I read it I realized what a valuable resource it could be for everyone in an organization to read. The objective of the author was to take the mystery out of the “game” and explain it to everyone.
He does a really good job of doing so — and definitely has me thinking a bit. This is one book I am going to recommend that each person on my staff read, as it isn’t a management book at all, but a book explaining the world we all work in. Some of it you will find rather disappointing, as I did, but it’s good to know nonetheless!
Once you finish the book, the real question becomes do you really want to play “The Game” now that you know what it entails.