Parts 1 and 2 of this story dwelled on my anxieties, my experience and the strategies I employed to survivemy very first face-to-face meeting with my Chief Executive Officer as a lowly placed manager many years ago. No doubt those experience helped to shape my learning curve as I advance in my career in later years.
One of those experiences was the fact that if as a leader in your organisation, a time comes when you have to downsize, or re-focus or re-direct the organisation on a new direction, the buy-in of key players across all levels in the organisation is mandatory. This is because there will always be those who are unwilling to follow you on the new path you have chosen.
Such people will stop at nothing to thwart your efforts. Unless you are able to identify this critical segment and engage them in a constructive way, you are not likely to get anywhere with your plans.
But it is a delicate game to play, because if you lay out too much detail of your plan, you inadvertently hand them a weapon to fire you with. Just the right dose of information to elicit their buy-in and commitment is all that is required. Of course a rosy picture of their future in the organisation will have to be painted. Never mind that some of them may eventually get swept away as details of the re-organisation unfold. By then though it is too late.
So after I got the go-ahead order from the CEO I realized immediately the extent of the challenge facing me then. I realized another thing also – that my getting recruited a little more than a year prior to that time was part of the general re-organization plan.
MORAL OF THE STORY
- No matter how good you are, or think you are, at your job, never take the credit. Somebody, or some people, somehow made you who or what you are. Give him/her/them the credit.
- Know your organisation’s culture, its core values and leadership/Management philosophy and align yourself to them. For instance, if your employer’s Management philosophy is continuous improvement, then know that you are expected to continuously improve yourself.
- If you are an aspiring leader, never be overly eager to step up to the high table. Instead, prepare for it, but never demand it. Let your qualification for the high table be seen in the things you do. Bid your time.
- Never show your employer by omission or commission that what he pays you is not worth your input, no matter how much pressed for extra income you may be. Appearing before your employer shabby or in dress unsuitable for your position is a complete turn off for most CEOs. Believe it or not, most employers like to see how well their business is doing reflect on their employees. Only very few think otherwise. Looking beggarly before your boss would make him loose confidence in your ability to attract business to the company.
- Always look out for areas of improvement in a plan, system, process or situation.
- Never be afraid to suggest something, no matter how ridiculous your suggestion might appear. Sometimes, silence is not golden.
- Always seek to learn more, especially in unfamiliar territories
- Always be different in a positive way. As OgMandino said, “it takes a little bit more to stand out”
- Always defer to anyone above you. Make your point but don’t push it. Let the logic of your point speak for itself.
- A good team is always a handy tool. So build a well-nit team around which your activities revolve. Never, however, be preferential in your relationship with members of the organisation.