Mastering the art of corporate politics and learning from hidden agendas

The half-smiles and nods were concerning. I didn’t receive any questions after the presentation, and people quickly left the room without engaging in the usual small talk.


I’ve made presentations to groups of various sizes before and felt like I had a good read on people. Either the executives around the table were genuinely not interested in my proposal, had another meeting to catch, or didn’t have the heart to tell me that it wasn’t a good idea to pursue.

I discovered a few weeks later that the key person in the room had been actively working behind the scenes to shut down my proposal because it would impact his work and territory within the company.

In essence, I would become a competitor in the game of corporate politics.

At the time, I wasn’t aware of this dynamic. My project, which had the support of other senior leaders, would cost little to implement, and had clear opportunities for growth, was dead before the meeting even started.

In the world of corporate politics, it’s essential to be aware of the hidden agendas and power dynamics at play. Sometimes, even the most promising proposals can be thwarted by those who perceive them as a threat. The key is to navigate these challenges with tact and perseverance, learning from each experience and growing stronger as a result.

I learned this lesson the hard way, but I’m grateful for it. It’s important to be able to spot these dynamics in order to avoid being blindsided by them. This is especially true when you’re leading a team or organization, and trying to get consensus around a new initiative or policy change.

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