Graduating Into Corporate Leadership
Forget Euphoria — Maybe They Hate Newbies
Friends And Vultures
Making meaningful connections on the road to success must include people as the primary resource. I hope the premise is clear now. It is true that sales come from the exposure of our business goods and services to customers to generate profits, yet the true success comes when people are eager to help us make it happen. Hence, you need to revise your training on people management or get a crash course to help you perfect your strategy. It’s not about beating the human resources department at their game but about building your cult. Yes, your faction; the people that will propel you up and beyond that ladder.
Begin by studying your boss and his/her influence over your department. How much do people like the boss? I mean, is your environment stern or relaxed. Does it reflect the boss in his/her best form? There is a lesson to be learned in this as you take your time to move to the other departments, visit with friends and collaborate on projects.
We were anticipating a new move in my company’s service offerings. As we worked on the project, we had created a set of business cards designed to differentiate these new initiatives from the traditional core of our branding. Somehow, a friend came visiting and I showed him the new business cards hoping to impress him. What we had done was to have a master business card that provided links to the new websites of the new services. Then, we made a separate business card for each service. The idea being that top executives who supervise the entire operations will use the master to sell the new opportunities while, people working on specific assignments can use their respectively relevant business cards.
My friend took a strong objection to the use of several business cards insisting the one business card was good enough for all the 5–7 services. All that we had to do was to have the name, designation, and office of the individual on the front-page of the card, and on the back-page list the services that we are offering. In any case, the logo of the brand remains on the cards anyway. We tested the idea and it turned out that our new design was stronger than the original one. It was less busy, and people can still associate the stronger brand with our new concepts.
Marketing managers in Wells Fargo had gone on rampage raking up fake accounts and duping many people. The scandal that broke was so big that it took the exit of the well-loved John Stumpf, the CEO to calm the waters. Stumpf saw the company through difficult times and made sure that Wells Fargo did not drown in the economic depression that required government intervention to rescue too big to fail financial institutions. The country had just started to breathe a little more comfortably when the Wells Fargo the scandal broke. It sounded too unfair and unbelievable. However, the public outrage was so severe that every effort to assuage frayed nerves failed until Stumpf had to leave.
Stumpf had to go because the general perception was that he led a colony of dupes. How could he have missed out on such a highly prevalent practice? After all, your employees do you bidding; they follow your instructions. If fraud was so prevalent in the organization and nationwide too, how did it happen that no one suspected anything? Admittedly, there must be some cover-up somewhere, or the management was out of touch with its staff. Leadership had to change to repair the image of the company and confirm the promises about the new shift in strategy. Hence, Stumpf lost his job.
Build Your Cult
In my current department, everyone takes coffee or tea in the morning. Even the boss will clean the coffee maker and set up the next brew when needed. There is always a smile, and a well-wish for everyone he runs into the department, every day and every time. So, it is a relaxed small coven, unlike next door where everyone minds his or her own business. In the second department, I sat next to a colleague from the adjacent department for one year and never said more than good morning to her. I never knew her name.
I found out that people will come from this second department to my own department just to chat, and to ease some tension while pretending to go for some coffee. Never the other way around. So, what is the picture that your boss has painted? It is an excellent exercise to sketch it or download an emoji to summarize the viewpoint because someone is going to do the same about you soon.
The human resources people dress up in their high heels while store-front managers may or may not be in heels but always looking more relaxed, certainly customer-welcoming outfits. The guys are likely in white shirts with a tie. The guys from the IT wear shirts, certainly no ties or high heels and indeed, none of those shirts is cream not even near white. The point is that these generalizations reflect the cultures of their job spaces. Each dressed to suit their roles not because the company pays any group better than the other or because some groups outsmart the other. Yet, they mingle freely with each other.
Simply put, the body reflects the head. The head owns and directs the organs that make up the organism. Mostly, it’s your set up, and you bear the responsibility for all its actions. I worked in a company that had warehouses, storefronts, and office complexes. When managers had training conferences and similar meetups, you could see the differences in the dress patterns.
Each group dressed up exactly as it would on a regular day. They wore whatever was familiar to their job environment. It is rare to see a manager from the warehouse wear a shirt. They would commonly be in some company T-shirt, and almost always in jeans. It's called workplace culture. Everyone has them, smart leaders understand them to boost their careers. Ask us how!