Nathan Tanner

How Politics Is Killing Your Organization (And What to Do About It)

One of my favorite things about Neighbor is our No Politics rule. No, it’s not a rule against discussing politics at work, it’s a rule against BEING political. What do I mean by that?

In the words of James Courier: “The fundamental particle of politics is the simple act of saying different things to different people.” 

Companies can’t thrive in a political environment. Full stop.

Organizations where politics run rampant are draining. They’re exhausting. They suck the life and fun out of work. Employees are too busy playing political games or strategizing what to say to which person that they’re distracted from doing actual work that will move the business forward.

One way we avoid politics at Neighbor is by “exposing to daylight” any comment or idea that seems like it’s political.

For example, if a VP of Engineering is saying something to me that he won’t tell directly to our Recruiting Lead, then we have a moment of politics. The antidote is to have the VP say it directly to the Recruiter. These direct conversations can be tough, but they’re powerful and necessary.

Neighbor isn’t perfect, but consciously deciding to avoid politics has led to less friction and drama than is typical at a startup. New employees regularly tell me that the environment at Neighbor is refreshing and they love just focusing on doing good work.”

“No Politics” starts from the top (shout out to JosephPreston, and Colton for setting the example) but everyone plays a role here.

For more on how to build strong companies where politics don’t exist, check out this James Courier article