With Patrick Mosher
My boss and I were sitting in the client cafeteria. Lunch long over, we chose a private table near the big windows. We had just finished a great workshop with a potential client. Spirits were high.
In consulting, we rarely got 1:1 face-to-face time with our bosses. Especially at the partner level. So this was a great opportunity to have a career conversation.
I considered how to ask it. At some point, you’ve probably labored over this same question.
“What do I need to do to get promoted to the next level?”
As he leaned back, I imagined all sorts of responses:
But his answer took me aback.
“I don’t think you have what it takes. You need Sharp Elbows”
What does that mean?
I was working on a project in Canada. My client counterpart was fabulous. She knew her people. She was incredibly supportive about the capability we were building in her organization and was overjoyed about the skills this initiative would build in her people.
About six months into the project, our relationship began to erode. She delegated important decisions to her direct reports. She stopped showing up for meetings. To keep the project rolling, I went around and above her to get decisions made. And eventually, she avoided contact with me altogether. I couldn't figure it out. Things were getting ugly.
I went to the partner in charge of the project for advice.
Virginia wasn't high on the EQ scale. In fact, she bemoaned her lack of people skills. Introvert and driven, she delivered hard messages somewhat …. Indelicately.
And yet, she gave me perhaps the BEST people advice I'd ever received in my...