Friday, January 13, 2012

And There Rose a New King

It is said that the Torah or Bible could be interpreted in over 70 ways. More likely these days 100's of ways. In light of this idea, I want to start some posts that bring a business sense to what we can learn on a weekly basis.

So what business lesson can we learn from this week's Parsha or section which is read this week?

Chapter 1, verse 8 says "And there rose a New King (Pharoah) for Egypt that did not know Joseph".

Many times in business we face this situation, sometimes at a client, sometimes as an employee. In either case it leads to many questions and worries for everyone involved.

The need of the new leader to show their might or change of direction from previous management or regimes is filled with opportunities. The problem is how to deal with these changes. People on the whole dislike change. Employees are sometimes immune to it, especially when you are lower in the hierarchy. But what can you do to make the transition smoother for you and the new leader?

If you are in management, how do you want present your best foot forward? If the new leader is unknown you may only get one chance to get the discussion to go your way. If you are in sales, you face the same dilemma.

Naturally you want to present your projects or solutions to the new leader...but hold on a second.

Have you thought about what the new leader wants to accomplish? You know your projects or offerings but is that what they want to hear?

Since new leaders seek out quick wins and accomplishments, in addition to setting their own pace and personality on the business, think about how you can help.

Your projects may be nebulous but find that quick win! If you rely on the same old attitude or discuss how the project is a year long initiative or is a company wide effort you will not make them happy. Even long term company wide projects have short term goals and little things which will bring some benefit, put them in play.

If you are selling to the new leader, don't bring anything to the meeting except your ears and something to take notes. Your first meeting will set the future. Don't blow the opportunity by pushing what you are comped on or thinking the previous discussions will be continued. You can still steer the conversation your way but you need to first listen to the leader.

Many times when I am called upon to meet with clients for the first time or under new regimes, I ask the most basic questions around what the leader wants to accomplish, what are the limitations and what would make their daily life easier. You want to encourage them to lay out their mind and plans and understand them and show you understand them.

The next time you end up in this situation remember that the Pharoah in Egypt did not listen to his advisers and it led to his downfall so don't end up being the ignored adviser.