Political Mindset: influence decisions and embed change?

Dave HenshallMind-sets, PoliticalLeave a Comment

Political Mindset: influence decisions and embed change?

Political Mindset: influence decisions and embed change? – The final part of our introduction to the key procurement mindsets is the Political Mindset.

The Political Mindset relates to our negotiation style when engaging stakeholders.

It is importance because it defines our ability to influence decisions on who gets the resources, what goals and objectives are prioritized, and therefore who has power.

When managing the stakeholders who’s personal Interest conflict with our goals, procurement professionals must raise their political intelligence.

Political Mindset oThis involves developing a detailed understanding of the key stakeholders interest, their domains of influence and how they maneuver politically to maintain their interest. They must also have the courage to challenge the corporate order, not by confrontation but by building support through other influential executives who will help spearhead their cause.

Our adopted negotiation style typically reflects our mind-set towards the other party, which in turn influences the way we negotiate with them when both parties desire different outcomes and so mind-set is highly important.

Mindset Negotiation Style Behaviors
Abundance Mindset:


We both get what we want – there are enough resources and successes to share with others

    • Are happy when others succeed
    • Help others succeed
    • Think “Abundance”
    • Are willing to share recognition with others
    • See life as challenging but full of opportunities
Totem Pole Mindset:


I get what I want while others do not.


    • Use other people, emotionally or physically, for their own selfish purposes
    • Try to get ahead at the expense of others
    • Spread rumors about others
    • Concentrate on getting their own way without thinking about others’ feelings
    • Become jealous and envious when something good happens to someone else
The Doormat Mindset:


I don’t get what I want, while others do.

    • Set low expectations for themselves
    • Have low self-esteem and never consider themselves worthy or good enough
    • Compromise their standards over and over again
    • Give in to peer pressure
    • Allow themselves to be walked on with the excuse of being the “peacemaker”
The Downwards spiral Mindset:


I don’t benefit and neither does anyone else

    • Seek revenge
    • Desire to win at all costs
    • Are obsessed with others in a negative manner
    • Have codependent and emotionally damaging relationships

Which style is to be preferred depends on what situation we find ourselves in. In many situations people are interdependent: we need other people while they need us for better results, so it is important to consider the relationship strategy when choosing which style to adopt.

Applying the relationship strategy to the Negotiating Behavior Strategy:

Mind-sets are really important because our assumptions color our interpretations and influence behavior. They apply relational thinking to engaging with stakeholders and considers the likely outcomes.

In general it is fair to say that, win/win is the style we should aim for in the long run. Ultimately, winning whilst others lose is a losing strategy for ourselves – ruining relationships and our chance to work together with stakeholders effectively. However, in the political arena where the pursuit of goals and resources is competitive, procurement professionals must be aware of and apply appropriate strategies for their situation:

Win – Win Mindset:

Basic Principle is ABUNDANCE, not Scarcity.

  • Pursuit of synergy – making the whole greater than the sum of its individual parts. By working together, we can grow the pie larger so that we both get a bigger slice (mutual purpose).
  • Characteristics: Seeks mutual benefit, acts cooperatively, listens more, stays longer in tough conversations, willing to compromise without giving up what you really want.
  • Makes the journey from individual success to ‘collective success’ with stakeholders.
  • Win-win moves from competitive POSITION based negotiation to collaborative OPTIONS based negotiation.
  • Questioning and listening are key skills: (Consideration/curiosity) Advocating (Courage) behaviors require questioning and deep listening skills.

Win-Lose Mindset:

The world is a zero-sum game … I must make sure that I get my slice of the pie at your expense.

  • Most of us have been conditioned to compete out of HABIT, but we need to learn how to compete out of CHOICE – When is competition appropriate … and NOT?
  • Characteristics: Uses position power, credentials, force of personality, superior experience to win; often authoritarian & dogmatic in the use of power.

Lose-Win Mindset:

People who choose to lose and let others win show high consideration for others, but lack the courage to express and act on their feelings and beliefs.

  • Consider saying NO DEAL or considered compromise based upon the relationship damage between you both.
  • The other person will learn to value our opinion because we can show them genuinely that we care about the relationship, the outcome, and the positive effect of the outcome for both of us.
  • Shows little courage or real consideration, envious and critical of those who control the pie, puts self and others down … soured attitude.
  • Characteristics: Victim mentality, highly dependent mind-set, others have screwed it up beyond repair. Makes few demands on self or others; is quick to please/appease; buries feelings when getting the short end of the stick

Lose-Lose Mindset:

The desire to win at all cost results in both being dissatisfied.

  • People who have a lose-lose paradigm are low on courage and consideration. They envy and criticize others. They put themselves and others down.
  • Language: “THEY” Marked by helplessness, soured, cynical, little hope of things getting any better, nothing is good & its always their fault.
  • Characteristics:
    • Is the mindset of a highly dependent person.
    • Is a long-term result of a win-lose or lose-win.


Politics play a central role in all organizations but they have largely been seen as a negative force. This is a misunderstanding and legitimate political behavior is positively aligned to managerial activity.

Political savvy can be extremely powerful and positive, by balancing personal and organizational interests. Its centrality to organizational life make it the ideal place from which to change existing patterns of power and influence.

Understanding and managing organizational politics is therefore critical for supply management professionals seeking to embed procurement change.

There is no opting out – organizational politics is central in managing effectively and by combing political savvy with a principled use of power balances self-interest and interest in others, to redefine managerial activity. The rational mindset no longer suffices. To it is added a positive, constructive political mindset, deliberately learnt so both are used side-by-side.

Nuff said…

Leave us your comments…we would love to know your views.