Academy for Political Intelligence

Case Studies

Case study of impact of PI workshop on at a HR department in a major Scottish bank

The dilemma:

In a small department of 12 people (all occupational psychologists) the rumour reached them that a Board member had been questioning the effectiveness of the group and had suggested that cost savings could be made by disbanding the team.

Their position:

Excellent work being done that added value to the business. They were not however ‘marketing’ themselves well and actually going out of their way to avoid the Board member as they had a belief that she was aggressive and unapproachable. As a result they were not keen to discuss their fears and concerns with her.

The solution:

To communicate to the Board member what they were about and to prove their value. This was achieved by ‘accidentally’ sharing the lift from the staff car park at the time the Board member arrived in the building and for 2 members of the department to use a previously practiced speech to attract her attention as to the work they were doing.

The result:

The Board member overheard the conversation, asked for further information and was invited to the department to see the work they were doing. She is now an advocate of the Department and regular lunches are held with her to update on progress and cost savings being made.


Case study of impact of PI workshop on a Finance department in a major financial organisation

The dilemma:

The management of the department had been relocated to another part of the country away from the Directorate of the function who were still based in London. Profile was not good and relationships were strained. Blame and counter blame were rife.

Their position:

They were setting up a new shared services division with considerable teething problems – this was adding value to the business. They were on the receiving end of a lot of criticism and due to the geography believed they were not able to defend themselves against other interests and agendas that existed in the organisation.

The solution:

The managers needed to develop relationships, market themselves more effectively and to improve their profile and communication with the London based Directorate. Each decided to visit London once a week to undertake ‘hot desk’ working with the stated objective to develop the relationships that were needed to improve their profile and to communicate what was actually happening in their area of the business.

The result:

Improved communication, better relationships and better results from the staff outside of London in the form of productivity. Improved morale.


Case study of impact of PI workshop on a Leading leisure organisation

The dilemma:

The company instigated a management development programme at three levels to grow its manager population in preparation for the organization going public.

The Executive Manager group, also known as the high potentials, was experiencing frustration due to developing broad knowledge and skills on their programme (EMDP) and yet, as the Trading Director observed, “ not knowing how to transfer the energy and ideas within the group into effective actions for the business.”

Their position:

The first important outcome was a realization that the strategy each individual was trying to implement in his or her role was a potential source of friction with other colleagues due to well intentioned, but not always well integrated, initiatives. The workshop enabled them to get this issue out in the open and overcome a perception that politics might be a factor. Even more importantly, with the aid of the workshop they now felt they had the capability to approach the board without the risk of being seen as confrontational or political. As one participant said, “this (politics) is the subject we all wanted to explore.” Networking and identifying allies was seen as a key element of the political intelligence to be put into practice in this respect.

The solution:

There followed a meeting with the chief executive in which they made a powerful case. The outcome was that they would be responsible for creating a strategy document for the next five years of the business. This would have the benefit of:

  • providing them with the involvement in the business they were seeking;
  • removing a potential source of negative political behavior by developing objectives in a collaborative forum;
  • demonstrating a real return on the investment in their development.

The result The formal strategy document was duly created, at all times keeping the chief executive and main board informed. The chief executive presented their strategy to a conference involving the operating board and members of the senior management team, together with members of the executive and senior management development programmes. It was well received and unanimously accepted as a vision of the future.

As well as a common aim, the organization has developed a common language in political intelligence and a positive politics culture focused on getting things done and achieving the vision. The company’s recent results suggest it is well on course.

The Head of Management Development summed it up like this. “Many organizations heavily invest in their ‘talent pool’ by developing their EQ and IQ to assist in their rapid rise up the corporate ladder…but fail to acknowledge the need for PI which gives them a far greater chance of survival when they get there. Behavior Intelligent is almost useless unless you understand the political territory you are entering into.”

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