Imagine the next scenario – It is Monday morning, you are enjoying your first much-needed cup of coffee, the aroma is sweet and delicious and you are in great spirits, ready to tackle the world. Then a nagging feeling creeps into your mind, which you try to first push away but it keeps coming back again and again. What is this all about? Then it dawns on you… Your boss still hasn’t answered that fricking question that you asked him 4 times last week and the client is going to go nuts if you don’t get back to him with an answer within the next couple of days… But hold on a sec, your boss will be away travelling at least 3 days a week and is already fully booked with meetings in the meantime… How the heck are you going to solve that, so he will pay attention to his staff as well? You slowly sip on your coffee, take a deep breath and get your old notes so you know what kind of techniques you can use to make this happen…
- The first step is to realise that your boss (or client) is also your customer and you’re solving problems for customers. What does this mean? Solve one of his headaches and he will be way more receptive to whatever you propose to him. For example, you know that he wants a massage chair for the office. Volunteer to make it happen! His only job is to approve the expenses and after that, you no longer have to wait for ages for his reply. You scratch my back, I scratch yours.
- Prepare the meeting like you are the leader – Most busy people are overwhelmed with meetings and don’t have enough time for preparations. They super appreciate it if someone takes care of the agenda, thinks about the next steps and controls the flow of the meeting. You’ll not score brownie points for the extra effort but if you are a reliable employee it is a lot more likely that people are going to react positively to your request.
- Do your damn homework – Only go with requests that are 99 percent completed and you have all the necessary information to make an informed decision. Busy people go mad if someone comes up to them with something that is not yet ready for decision-making…. (No one else uses their brain in this office? – they might think)
- Don’t cry wolf too often – If you have a reputation that all your problems are super urgent and important this means that none of them actually are. Prioritise your issues and make other people know that if you raise a matter, they had better listen because it is important.
Once you have finished your coffee, open your boss’ calendar and try to find a spot to schedule a short meeting. You may realise that “hey, I can do this job for him and when he has the time, he will get back to me”.
Does this technique work all the time?
Hell no, but at least, it is a lot better than waiting for a miracle. And you can pat yourself on the back that you have proactively tried something.
As Albert Einstein famously said: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
So for your own sake, you might want to give it a go. Your effort may bring the desired outcome.
Article by Gergely Balázs who is an investment manager at Vespucci Partners and lecturer at Corvinus University.