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Toddlers In Suits

"To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius."  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Toddler_suit I suppose I should have known better.  But it really was there for the taking.  And looking back, I wouldn't have done it any differently.

I was interviewing for a project recovery contract, and it was my second interview.  I was facing four members of the C-Suite.  After all, it was one of the top two projects in the company, and they wanted to make sure they had the right person.  One executive asked the question I was expecting:  "How do you like to communicate with executives?"  I don't think they were expecting my answer.  Sure, I could have gone all "text book" on them, but when a critical program is being recovered, you know that there will be difficult discussions with executives on the horizons... and I had to be sure my response would reveal my accomplishment brand.

My answer?  "I'll be honest with you all:  I've become much better at executive communication since I became a parent and realized executives are simply toddlers in suits.  If I give you lots of pretty pictures with nice colors and manage your ADD correctly, nobody gets hurt."  I got the job.

In the coming months, I was able to have excruciatingly frank discussions with them.  When I left the project (on my terms and in my time), I knew I had delivered the value that was necessary to get the project back on the right track.

So the next issue for your accomplishment brand:  are you keeping it REAL?  Are you being authentic, honest, and up-front about issues, status, and progress?  There are a lot of people out there who want to be someone else.  We're nearing Halloween where many will dress in costume.  But what about the other 364 days of the year?  What costumes are you wearing which prevent you from being true to your brand?

Are you able to let others see the "real you" when you're accomplishing something?  Sometimes setting the stage up front by being real will save you a lot of headaches on the back end.

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Comments

Marc Hershon

Timothy, this is great! I've also found it increasingly true that playing it honest, straightforward and no BS is definitely more constructive, successful AND satisfying. And that holds true whether you end up getting the job, selling the project, or negotiating the deal. Mainly because you can live with yourself at the end of the day.

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