Power in hands that won’t shake yours
From the start, she put me in the ‘no’ category. The powerful leader of my division who had an extensive remit, had spent decades at the organisation and reported directly to the CEO.
I found out months after we first met that her first impression of me wasn’t great. She tagged me
with what I feared most - ‘she has low EQ’. With every interaction after, I knew she had written me
off as she looked at me with distaste; her body language dismissive. For her, even the basic courtesies toward me were visibly effortful and wasteful. I was on her black list.
My instinct was to hustle, to go the extra mile, to see it as a challenge, to turn it around. I knew I had to really focus and take every opportunity to override her first impressions. So I looked for any small window of opportunity, any opening which would give me a chance. A slither of something, anything, that I could hook onto. But every door I tried to re-open with her was locked or she would slam it shut.
As my time in the organisation went on, the deliveries I led gained momentum quickly. The successes started to compound into something really impressive. Something remarkable. They went beyond even my own very high expectations. At their peak they were described as ‘a stunning turnaround’, ‘knocking it out of the park, ‘it’s almost too good to be true’.
I now had deliveries on the board. They were indisputable. So I pivoted my focus to coupling those with my trusty mantra ‘never give up’. I thought I the magic combination of delivery and never giving up would win. It had never let me down before.
After just over one year she kicked me out of the organisation.
Deep down I think I knew from that very first interaction that I could not succeed in her organisation. But that was a truth that I couldn’t surface. Conceding or admitting defeat just wasn’t in my playbook.
No delivery would have ever been enough.
No effort and extreme persistence would have ever turned it around.
I never gave up on changing her opinions of me, but she never even started.
She never turned.