“My OPINION doesn’t MATTER”!
Have you seen the FED-Ex commercial called “Stolen Idea”. Well, it’s in a meeting setting and an employee comes up with a sensational idea about cutting shipping costs, the idea lands like a leaded balloon, there’s a pause in the room, the CEO speaks up and repeats the exact same idea and receives an applause……employee steamrolled (http://youtu.be/zNCrMEOqHpc).
We’ve all been there and I should stress the point it doesn’t matter what level you’re at in a corporation (including CEO), there will be a time when you feel like DAMN IT….“My OPINION doesn’t MATTER”! I along with probably many of you use to think that the higher you move up in a corporation the more “Presence” your opinion has and that’s not necessarily true. There are 2 words I’d like for you to remember as I’ll be sprinkling them in throughout this post and they are: “ENERGY” & “SUBSTANCE”.
The implication of the FED-Ex commercial is that if you’re in an inferior position your opinion/voice doesn’t matter and in this case stolen by someone with higher stature. The business world is not that far removed from “Life” in that we often see where corporations will often communicate that EVERYONE in the organization has a voice…but it’s never demonstrated through action. My last client after a National Sales Meeting implemented this “Idea Capture” template which allowed attendees to share their thoughts/opinions on how to “Connect”, “Communicate”, “Collaborate” better, a few months later decided to shut down a significant piece of their commercial business and laid people off….your voice can go “bye” bye”. An apprehension that many people have at voicing their opinion is how it’s going to come across, I’ve actually witnessed people sweating almost profusely in meetings struggling to convey their thoughts….very uncomfortable witnessing. The norm would be to say that there are just some people who lack “confidence” and “self-assuredness”, and to that I would say “yeah, maybe”. I’m not cancelling out the fact that “confidence” is a critical behavior but I’ve seen “confident” people fail at getting their point across or voice heard….I think it’s more than that. This brings me to my favorite 2 words, “ENERGY” & “SUBSTANCE”. The definition of “ENERGY”: “The strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity”, have you ever met someone who epitomizes that definition? True story, I was invited about a month or so ago to a potential client meeting fully prepared and psyched to meet with the executive board of this company. They were looking to revamp their business model and make a huge left turn into a totally different market channel (e.g. analogous to moving from Medical Devices to Over the Counter Consumer Products); the decision would be a mammoth organizational change. I remember at the table was the CEO, CFO, COO, VP Sales & Marketing, and Executive Assistant, I kid you NOT the most “Engaging”, “Energetic, and I dare say “Competent” person at the table was the…..Executive Assistant. I can’t place my finger on it but to say she just had “ENERGY”, if you didn’t have the titles of the participants beforehand you would have thought she was the CEO. She captured your attention with authority but not arrogance, with great pace but not hurriedly, it was Standards of Excellence on how to get your opinion/voice heard….pure “ENERGY”. The definition of “SUBSTANCE”: “The real physical matter of which a person or thing consists and which has a tangible, solid presence”, sounds eerily similar to “ENERGY” but in physical form. It’s not by happen stance that I chose these two words because they both play off each other in a beautiful synergistic way, without “ENERGY” there’s no “SUBSTANCE”, without “SUBSTANCE” there’s no “ENERGY”. Unfortunately, we live in a world where “HOW” something is said is much more significant then what is said, and we discount someone’s opinion/voice because of their positional stature or stupid stereotype placed on them. The story about the “Executive Assistant” while nice as it sounded, how many “Executive Assistants” out there would have kept their mouth shut during the entire meeting? I bet many.
“My OPINION doesn’t MATTER” is a devastating psychic thought that ALL of us have shared and some of you still share, however, know that each one of you were blessed with “ENERGY” & “SUBSTANCE” and how you utilize the two will be the difference in making this world a better place.
“My OPINION doesn’t MATTER”!
Checkout my presentation/workshop on “All Eyes on You” (Public Speaking-Teaching the Power of “ENERGY” & “SUBSTANCE”)
AH2 & Beyond Consulting