I’m constantly reminded of the importance – in business and throughout our entire lives – of keeping yourself open to all things. This includes stories, news, situations, circumstances and, of course, the people you meet. How many times have you serendipitously engaged with someone who provided some help and guidance just when you needed it?
This happened to me once again last week. I’ve been pursuing a major prospect – a Fortune 100 company – for six months and had connected with multiple people inside the organization. As often happens, getting feedback on their needs and challenges was proving difficult and while trying to further landscape the company to identify additional decision makers, I was coming up empty. To make matters worse, the people I’d initially met with were starting to go dark.
Cut to just last week when I learned that a colleague of mine in a different department is married to a senior executive at this very company. And, he had dotted-line oversight on one of the people I’d initially met with. It’s a small world and we’re all connected. Recently I’d helped this colleague of mine on a few projects and had built a nice relationship by cultivating a spirit of generosity…it’s the timeless approach of simply helping others whenever possible. So, she was happy to connect me with her spouse and I set up a time to meet.
Over coffee, in less than an hour, I was given all of the key pieces of information I’d need to craft solutions that could potentially help their business. And, critically, these are very different from the ideas I’d initially proposed. In one way this is “back to the drawing board” and will require a good deal of work to pivot and change my approach. On the other hand, this conversation saved me months of slogging and pushing what was, more than likely, an idea that would go nowhere.
The importance of having an inside coach at any organization cannot be overstated…and, the best way to find one is to be open, generous and willing to help others often. It also helps to be open to change (a big subject in buddhism that we’ll address at another time)!