Most of my life I’ve been behind the scenes: backstage, behind the camera, off right, number two, backing someone up. Mostly by choice, sometimes by necessity.
See, it’s not that I wasn’t capable; sometimes, the person behind the scenes is really running the show. A linchpin, so to speak. This person wields power and shouldn’t be ignored.
What’s my point? Know the situation you’re in; the players, who’s involved in the decision-making process. Titles can be meaningless, and seating arrangements misleading. That marketing coordinator in a cubicle? He runs the marketing department; his company recently moved to an open concept floor plan (no offices).
I’ve seen so many situations where someone never has a chance — to win the business, to land that dream job, to be invited to partner with an innovative organization — because he ignores the assistant that he arrogantly assumes is worthless. She’s not; she may be one of the most powerful people in the room.
While you should be nice to everyone in general, there’s also something else at stake.
In today’s society, that receptionist taking your phone call could have the president’s ear — and be an integral part of the decision-making process. The barista making your drink at Starbucks could be a power player in your industry someday (soon) — or the daughter of the Fortune 500 CEO you’ve been after.
Don’t judge someone by the position she’s in at the moment or for trying to show gratitude. That ‘young lady’ carrying coffee you came in the building with? She’s not an intern or assistant; she’s the CMO you’re interviewing with. I hope you didn’t miss that opportunity!
Have you ever misread a situation? Assumed someone wasn’t important when he was? Been misread yourself?
Chime in with your experiences so we can all grow together.
Photo courtesy of Asian Development Bank on flickr
4 thoughts on “Behind The Scenes: Ahead of the Game”
Awesome post! My father always taught us to treat everyone as if they were the President (although that could mean something completely different today). You just never know how you might impact someone or how they may impact you.
I know this all too well. When I was growing up, there were 2 brother who mentally were not the same as everyone else. While many made fun of them (including my brother), I always played with them and treated them, well… normally. Over 20 years later, I was looking for work. I go to an interview, and wouldn’t you know it, their mother was the owner of the company. I had the job the second she saw me walk in the door. Life has a crazy way of evening the score sometimes, and we get what we put into it, especially with people.
Great comment, Lance! I have always been a big believer in karma and treating others how you want to be treated. It’s amazing how things come full circle! Kudos to you for spending time with those brothers. You never know when you can make a difference in someone’s life.
They were over on Sunday, playing baseball with my boys. Their mom did a wonderful job with them. They work for her company doing whatever is needed. They love life and are great to be around. Couldn’t be prouder to be their friends.
Reblogged this on Official Blog of Lance Wyllie and commented:
I love this post from Jaime. In this networked world, we must realize that every connection is so very important.