Friday, April 15, 2011

Impress For Less The Digital Way

Ok - so it has been a very long time since I have updated this blog - The Pelican Report staff has gone on to better and busier things neglecting the very essence of what we originally set out to do. So I have come out of semi-retirement to comment on something you might find interesting.

Since most of our readers are young professionals, and have long dismissed since us as dead, we here at The Pelican Report felt it fitting to make this edition all about advice for those early in their career who might know a thing or two that their bosses don't but otherwise who really don't know Jack! So if you haven't made a total fool out of yourself in a meeting well above your pay-grade yet then you are either lucky, really new, or just not on anyone's radar. Any of which we can help with. So sit back, pay attention and you might learn something. But what do we know anyway?

Best Regards,

Drew V. Davitian

The Pelican Report

Issue 2.1, April 15nd, 2011


How to impress a boss who has seen and done everything with $50 bucks and an Internet Connection.

Before the Armenian curly haired bad guy bastardized the it in the pre 300 pound Steven Segal sequel Under Siege 2, Louis Pasteur coined the quote, "Chance favors only the prepared mind."

Eric Bogosian used the saying while ordering a henchman to detain an adolescent Katherine Heigl, which is the only reason I watch the movie when its playing on TNT. Louis Pasteur, however, had more noble and salient intentions in his lecture at the University of Lille 156 years ago. Louie was talking about the scientific field of observation and we will again bastardize the famous quote to fit it to the purposes of this article.

In 2011 for a new hire, "chance favors only the prepared mind" means pay attention to the details around you and remember them - you will get your bosses to take notice if you can communicate the not-so-obvious from time to time. Example: I do a lot of research and presentation building for my superiors. When we were recently working on a large merger I was given a presentation turned to a single page and told to recreate that page and add some of our internal information to it. I did so but I also read the rest of the prezo which outlined all of the steps, financing, marketing initiatives and corporate structure of the post merger company. A few days later I was able to deliver some of that info in a meeting where quick answers were needed. For each subsequent high level meeting I was asked not only to provide full research and advice, I was actually introduced to the full C-level post merger leadership team and I was even asked to present on my division in the due diligence proceedings. Long story short I went from a small support role in a small organization to a decision maker and advisor in a much larger organization: in 2 weeks!

There is a first rule that has to be in place to make any of this possible and we will discuss that now.

Rule 1: you are young - there are a few things you know how to do that your bosses don't, become an expert in these things and incorporate them into your work.

There is a reason I was asked to build that one presentation slide: I create attractive and functional presentations. When I was brought on as a full time employee I presented a marketing plan to my management team. I briefly covered internet marketing, e-mail and lead generation campaigns & offline strategies. It was as good as it could be for someone who doesn't know Jack but I made it pretty. Very pretty. I spent the time to ensure the layout, graphic design, pixilation and grammar was flawless. The CEO saw that presentation. I had done no other work for him directly since that presentation, as a matter of fact I don't think he knows about half of the work I even do today. but that presentation made enough of an impression on him that 5 months later when he needed something done well, he thought of me.

Rule VI (obviously we are not following an accurate numbering system here) Make your boss look good and your bosses boss look better.

This I stole from a book called How To Be CEO - good book, and I'm going to bastardize this one as well.

Look at your next pay check. If you are like 95% of the rest of North America you probably don't work directly for the guy who signs your check. Ok no one signs my check payroll comes ACH, but my expense checks do come with a signature. He's the bosses boss. I do everything in my power to make him look good. Even if it is taking the blame for something that was really his fault. Something business related in front of the rest of the staff, not something illegal. My bosses boss trusts me because my boss does. He takes me to lunch and teaches me because I make him look better. I say nice things about him behind his back to customers and employees alike. I do what he asks when he asks and I'm never too busy to take on more.

That's incidentally the final point, and an important one. Always be willing to do special work for the boss, any boss. If you are just the new guy but you want to be the new hot shot, then you need to be willing to work like a dog until someone notices you. I propose that you probably don't know what working like a dog really is. It means working hard and very smart. It means coming in at 7 am when you have to and working till 7 pm that day, that week or every day if the need be. If your boss doesn't notice your efforts and you really think you are working like a dog, then go find another decision maker and work like that in front of him, or her. Someone will eventually notice and your job description will grow. Notice I say job description, not salary. First they will pile on responsibilities, then when you deliver you will become an integral part of the organization i.e. no one is going to fire you. then you can ask for more money. The caveat here is that you really have to be doing super human job here and you have to know that they know that.

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