It is no secret that at the start of my career I was like a bulldozer on steroids driven by the prospect of money and promotion.
As the ‘blue eyed boy’ top biller, I felt like I was beyond reproach (how naive I was!). I recall a jarring conversation with the Head of HR as if it was yesterday. I was just about to be promoted and the conversation went like this:
- HR: “Paul, let me tell you what people really think about you”
- Me: Silence (her tone should have told me something was off but I presumed adulation was on its way)
- HR: “People don’t trust you, you don’t let them know you and they think you operate like a selfish machine”
- Me: Still silent (looking over my shoulder to see if she is talking to someone else – which was odd as it was only the two of us in the room)
- HR: “You need to let people in to see the real Paul Taylor and explain why you operate the way that you do. Until that happens, people will continue not to trust you”
Upon reflection, this was a pivotal moment in my career and I am forever grateful that the person cared enough to give me this feedback. So what have I learned?
Getting people to buy your metaphoric book is about buy-in.
Let’s say you know I am writing a book and you see that book on the shelf in a store. What are the chances you are going to buy my book? How can I improve the chances that you will by my book?
I am writing the same book but in this instance, I ask you to help me. I seek your advice and I list you in the credits of the book. You are back in the store and see my book. What are the chances now that you will buy the book? Dare I say, dramatically improved, maybe even guaranteed.
This metaphor for getting people to agree or accept an idea is hugely important when working as part of a team in IT. It can help consultants gain credibility in their ever changing work environments and ensure a collaborative team all pushing and pulling in the same direction to deliver a successful project.
Getting people to buy your book is a powerful long-lasting influencing strategy which I now employ on almost a daily basis. It helps you explain rationale, gather feedback as well as valuable input and buy-in.
I am no longer a bulldozer on steroids but I still believe nothing beats hard work and passion – as long as people also buy your book!