Politics is a blood sport. Whether played in the halls of congress or in the halls of the office complex, it isn’t for the meek or the mild. Winning the political game, whether on the hill or at the office requires grit, determination, and confidence, but above all else, it requires capital. No, not money, although there is a ton of money in politics, I’m speaking of the kind of political capital that moves people to action. There has been a lot of talk this week about President Trump’s first 100 days in office and comparisons have been drawn between FDR’s achievements and his relative lack of them. That difference comes down to a difference in political capital that one gets from winning. FDR won a landslide victory. Trump lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. FDR took office with a storm of support, Trump was met with protests. This is isn’t a political post, I am simply pointing out that congressmen and senators were more likely to fall in line behind a president with more popular support. This caused FDR to roll up some big early wins, which only enhanced his political capital. President Trump hasn’t been as fortunate thus far, which has depleted his. My point to all of this is that winning is important because it sets us up for more wins. Put into the arena of office politics, if I square off with the top salesperson in my company and I am barely making my quota, who is going to win? One has capital that comes from winning regularly, and I am just a hanger on. This doesn’t mean that I should avoid the conflict it simply means that I need more capital if I am going to emerge successfully. The interesting thing about political capital, however, is, that it doesn’t expand until you use it. You actually have to risk political capital to be rewarded with political capital. Probably the best illustration of this happened in 1964. Lyndon Johnson became president under the most horrific of circumstances and by making himself the heir of a martyred President was flush with capital. His first instinct was to expand civil rights and he picked up President Kennedy’s stalled civil rights bill in order to do it. When aides tried to talk him out of it, saying that the risk was too great and the price too high, LBJ famously said: “Then what in the hell is the Presidency for?”. His instinct to risk a large amount of political capital in order to expand his,  was proven right in the 1964 election when he was elected President by a landslide. What does this have to do with office politics? Everything, because it’s a case study in power. If we’re going to rise above office politics, we have to have sufficient capital. That requires risk. It might require granting a favor, it might mean extending for a promotion or volunteering for a big project, but the only way political capital expands is to use it. Politics is a blood sport no matter where it’s played. Take the risk for big things because it’s the only way to ever come out on top.]]>