Most human beings have an apparent hierarchical understanding and they tend to picture themselves somewhere within it; be this in the business world, a sports club or at home. It is often heard that someone is labelled “the head of the household” or “the boss”, “the club president” and I’m sure you can all think of many more.
In my younger years I signed up to this way of thinking in a big way. I spent my first few adult years staring upwards and picturing myself in a higher position, always wanting to “better myself” then becoming too big for my boots and getting knocked back down again; and on more than one occasion landing right back where I started.
This constant craving to step up and be someone that I’m not, but who at the time I thought I should be, brought out some or the worst traits in my personality and consequently I lost a few good people along the way.
Over the many subsequent years I managed to see sense, I became able recognise the subtle difference between ambition and aspiration and the dangers of letting the former turn into an obsession.
However throughout all of this there is one trait that has got me further than any other in my life and that is being polite and today was another example of why it is so important.
Upon reaching the PA of corporate executive this morning I expressed my sincere apologise for intruding into her busy day. Now if you need to know just one thing about a PA then this is it, they are by far some of the busiest people in the corporate world. I could go on to wax lyrical about all the things these people have to do but that’s not the point of today’s takeaway. The point is that by being courteous and polite I was able to have a conversation with a person within this organisation who has her finger on the pulse of everything that is going on in this executive’s environment. As a result she was able to help me in a way that no other executive would even have thought of doing.
This has pleased me on so many different levels and here’s why:
- I was pretty stressed when I made this call yet still my politeness shone through.
- I proved, once again, that cheap “old school” cold calling tactics are worthless in the real world. Come on how many times have you heard, so called sales trainers, tell you that to get passed the gatekeeper you have to treat them like a door mat. When they answer the call just say “Mike Jones” and wait for them to put you through. (This is my absolute pet hate, the height of rudeness)
- I had a very pleasant conversation which gave me some exceptional insight into a company structure I have been, thus far, blissfully unaware of.
So yes when you do interact with another human being please remember to do so humanly, humbly and politely.