Organizational savvy is critical to career development, but is rarely discussed as a learnable skill. Drawing on
>45 years of working closely with Academic Health Center professionals, the author offers an introduction to navigating organizational dynamics that will be especially valuable to women, as they tend to be less effectively mentored than men; mentors may also find this guide of use in coaching these skills. Common misconceptions that interfere with acquiring organizational savvy include assuming that academic medicine is a meritocracy, that hard work will assure success, and that disagreements are personal. People who learn to navigate com-petitive hierarchies are continuously expanding their understanding of significant events, of how their unit fits within the larger system, and of which constraints they can influence. Strategies suggested for developing a political compass focus on building relationships, learning from surprises and disappointments, facilitating dialogue with open-ended questions, and handling sensitive topics as they arise. The author opens with a case illustrating common new faculty dilemmas and closes with examples applying the mentioned recommendations. Becoming more organizationally savvy helps professionals advance not only their own careers but also improvements in their institutions.
Keywords: career development, faculty development, leadership development