How well are you leveraging your “top pocket anecdotes”? You know, vital, valuable information only you have, that your bosses need?
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We Dislike “Not To Know”, Don’t We?
It is human nature that we dislike to be seen to not know something. Or how much we enjoy being seen to be “in the know“, right? I have found that this becomes more relevant the further up the hierarchy chain we go. Pride, ego and the need for significance seems to grow proportionately with “rank“, agree?
Why? Well, have you noticed how amongst other things, the further we go up into the narrower parts of the hierarchy triangle, so “the wind seems to blow harder“? And that life is extremely competitive? This is where we often talk about the “pis…. contest“, where “mine has to be bigger than yours” prevails.
In Pride and Ego – what have they cost and lost you? I speak about how these sometimes narcissistic energies can dominate. To the extent that personal agendas often far outweigh the company’s strategies and expectations.
You’d think that the more mature and senior our business (and political) leaders are, the more responsible they’d be and thwart this sort of petty personal behaviour. Well, I’ll leave that to you to assess from your own experience…
Leveraging Top Pocket Anecdotes
So if the picture I’m painting here is somewhat accurate, then of course as a coach, we will want to help our clients leverage such opportunities to work in their favour. In this and the context of Managing Up, I teach my clients to use the “top pocket anecdotes” feature.
Leveraging Top Pocket Anecdotes.What’s That?
Well, you and your peers report to a boss, that represents your and their division’s agenda at their boss/peer group meetings. To do so successfully and to help them “look good” in front of this competitive audience, they need to “have their finger on the pulse“. And also “their ears on the ground“. That’s time-consuming, hard work to get and stay on top and stay in touch.
They are dependent on having access to relevant and up to date information to do so. Every leader understands that political forces will try to sway certain perceptions to suit the purpose of the holder’s agenda. (Mmmmm, I often wonder if they really do…) Hence information is “filtered” on its way up. (Of course the same level of filtration will feature on its way going down, right?).
Well, you and your peers have an advantage over the boss, in that you are closer to the action than they are. And usually also have access to more depth of relevant and specific information at your level. And if you’ve been listening to your coach, you’ll probably also be getting much better at Internal Networking. Where you learn to constantly enhance your exposure across all levels and divisions of the business in order to “know what’s going on”.
Plus, your job is to learn to understand, appreciate and leverage this information’s worth towards your boss. So that they can use it to “look good”. This is what you want to hold in your “top pocket”. Why?
Leveraging Top Pocket Anecdotes. How Does It Work?
So, whenever or wherever you’re in an elevator with them or in line in the staff restaurant or in the taxi or the airport etc, what do you do? Instead of relying on Small Talk to engage in conversation with the boss (or their bosses), why not practise Drip Feeding them relevant anecdotes from your knowledge and information? Information they can use when next they are around tables in rooms you aren’t present in?
For instance that you can nonchalantly “drop” that your function or department etc “halved or doubled the ratio of x to y over the last 3 months“. Or that you “managed to convert transition y to x since the last …“. Or that you have “outperformed your competitor in the abc by x% since introducing 123“, etc.
What are they going to do with this information (apart from being impressed by your results)? They are going to use it in their next meeting to “look good”. Given all that we started this conversation with, this is just what they need. Something they will always be interested in. Something you can always leverage to your and their advantage. Very selectively, of course.
Leveraging Top Pocket Anecdotes. So What?
So, whether you wear garments that have top pockets or not, may I strongly suggest that you develop an awareness for the kind of such “anecdotes” your leaders need? And that you always have a collection of them available to you in your metaphorical “top pocket”?
I don’t make the rules. But I do help my clients become more aware of them and to better leverage them for their and their bosses’ benefit. Why not you? Can you see how this can help raise your visibility and credibility and promote you and your agenda in rooms you aren’t present in? But need to influence?