Last week’s blog on the Habit of Extreme Flexibility caught the attention of several readers who called or emailed to share with me how adopting this habit has paid huge dividends in their careers, relationships and life in general.
As I reflected on these stories, the one I kept revisiting in my mind was Kathy’s description of how using the Habit of Extreme Flexibility helped kick her career into high gear.
Kathy works for a company that produces and sells high-tech hardware and software to residential, commercial and industrial properties. These products include electronic access systems, monitoring panels, alarm systems and CCTV cameras.
Several years ago she was given an insider’s tour or of a particular high-rise office high-rise tower and was astounded to discover the poor quality and state of disrepair of the systems in use in the building.
She immediately attempted to establish contact with the head office of the company that owns that, and many other commercial properties in the city, all to no avail.
All her attempts at setting up a meeting with the Vice President who oversees security for their properties were met with a resounding “No.”
In the intervening years she had repeatedly attempted to gain access to this person and had never been able to penetrate the wall around him further than several conversations with his assistant who, time after time, impatiently reminded her that “he has no interest in talking to you.”
Kathy, if nothing else, is one determined lady. She had read about something called the Law of Requisite Variety which, loosely interpreted, states that in any interaction the person who displays the greatest flexibility will ultimately control that situation. In other words, the Habit of Extreme Flexibility.
So Kathy began pouring over books on sales, articles, magazines, anything that might suggest a creative different approach and, after much research, she found one.
Kathy had done her homework. She had visited as many of this company’s properties as she could gain access to and walked around lobbies and parking garages and ridden elevators all as part of her information gathering research. She was confident if she could just have a few minutes to present her case, she could make a compelling argument as to why this VP, who she had nicknamed Mr. Big, should devote further time exploring whether his company should invest in greater safety and protection for their buildings.
Kathy put her plan into action.
Rather than calling yet again to attempt to secure a conversation or a meeting with Mr. Big, she went to his office building and asked to speak with his assistant.
When his assistant materialized Kathyapologized for hounding her all these past years and explained she only did so because her reason for wanting this meeting with Mr. Big was vitally important.
She then handed the assistant an envelope and spoke the lines she had spent several hours rehearsing. “Please tell him that it is so important that I meet with him that he can keep the contents of this envelope in exchange for a five minute meeting with me today.”
Inside the envelope were 10 crisp, new $100 bills.
Kathy told me the assistant was flabbergasted. She didn’t know how to respond and quickly disappeared down the hallway into an office. Kathy waited for what seemed a lifetime, but in reality was no more than three or four minutes, when a man emerged from the office, came up to her and introduced himself as the person she had been trying to meet for many years.
He ushered her into his office and the five minute meeting she requested lasted almost an hour. She left with a commitment on his part to meet with her two weeks later and review a building by building proposal for upgrading and enhancing their systems.
She also left with an envelope containing 10 crisp, new $100 bills which he had returned to her with a smile at the end of the meeting.
That meeting took place three years ago and since then his company has become not only her largest client but also a steady stream of referrals to other clients.
Kathy laughingly told me that each time he prefers another client to her it is always with the words “you may as well meet with her now because she will hound you till the end of time until you do.”
Kathy had tried the same method for several years of getting into see that client and had experienced the same result each time. When she attempted a radically different approach she experienced a radically different result.
The Habit of Extreme Flexibility. A simple, yet powerful message. When what we are doing is not producing the result we desire, it is simply a clue – a really loud clue – to try a different approach.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.
P.S. My book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours now has its very own website. Please visit us at www.lifesinksorsoars.com and let me know what you think.
– After three years of research, my company recently introduced our newest Personal Coaching oportunity. Here is our Ebrochure for the “Boot Camp for Your Brain” experience.
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– Robert French – an accomplished author – recently posted a flattering review of my book, Life Sinks or Soars, the Choice is Yours. Please click here and take a moment to read it.
– Here is another review of my book by Actionable Books.