When I first joined, I didn’t get this person, at all.
OK stop. I’m consciously trying not to use names and specifics in this post, to avoid embarrassment and being accused of sucking up. But this is going to make it nigh on impossible to write, let alone understand. When in Oz, I posted a story about ‘Hurling projectiles‘ and used fictitious names as I didn’t know the people involved. Made it a bit of fun, I thought? So rather than reinvent the wheel, I’ll try this again…
So, when I first started, I met Bob. Bob had immense credibility with the team I’d joined. Everyone seemed to rate him; he was seen to be switched on, impressive and really capable of doing a good job. Quite senior in the team, from what little I knew at the time, I just figured this must be a true reflection. But within my first few encounters with him, I became confused; why did people rate him? I didn’t understand a word he said! What was all this ‘solutioneering’ about? What was a ‘deliverable’? Surely, delivery was something couriers did when taking something tangible from one place to another? When he talked about this ‘piece’ or that ‘space’, what on earth was he on about? Surely a ‘piece’ was something tangible; a share of something, like a piece of cake? And ‘space’ was something infinitely difficult to measure or quantify, unless you were working in real estate? Yet in this ‘space’, everyone was talking about their respective ‘piece’ or that ‘piece’ and my sense of feeling completely out of my depth was becoming ever-more worrying!
I remember having my first meeting with Bob. My predecessor was also involved; we went through the specifics I was working on and Bob wanted to know how I was doing with them. Some of the questions he asked made little or no sense, and the more I tried to explain what I considered to be common sense, the less he seemed to be taking it on board. Why on earth did everyone rate him? Did he not get common sense? He just seemed to talk in virtual terms, with little or no substance, and nothing seemed to be definitive!
Then I saw Bob in front of a customer. And then I got it.
He never once said “erm…” or “it’s like, well…” or any other such uncertainties. He was considered, clear, straightforward, and regardless of the questions thrown at him, or challenges he was expected to manage, his answers were clear, concise, tied straight into the strategy and absolutely simple to follow, even for me (let alone a massive, slow thinking customer, who probably didn’t really appreciate why they were working on the contract in question).
Bob made it obvious. He managed challenges in a considered, polite yet clear way. He got the audience to understand what he was on about. He got their buy-in, and by the time we left the room, they (and I) were of a completely different opinion. For them, they got the concept, they understood what we were collectively trying to do. But as (if not more) importantly, they believed in us (or rather, Bob) and were behind us every step of the way. Not because he’d blinded them with bull, but because he spoke their language, not patronisingly, but in a way which made it understandable.
For me, I was in awe. Now I got it. I could see why Bob was rated. Whilst I still needed to learn the jargon and how a deliverable could be solutioned etc., Bob’s ability to think on his feet and manage the minds of the audience was like nothing I’d seen before… until today.
Having had little to do with Bob in the past 2 years, I was lucky enough to be re-enthused by Bob again today. Whilst the context was different, the audience internal, and the subject matter was factual (rather than selly / influential), Bob once again had every second of my attention. His ability to grab the attention of everyone in the room, without any ‘side chat’ and in absolute silence, was just brilliant. Once again, I got it. It reminded me why I’d been impressed by Bob to start with and why, given half a chance, I’d support Bob without question in future.
So, no sucking-up, Bob impresses me, it’s as simple as that, that’s all!