Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Rule 86: Be on the right side of the people who count


By on 15:20
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Nigeria's Event Management Expert, Temmie Amodu of  Decor-Kobo Rentals Ltd 


So how do you think I got on with Harry after my outburst?  Our relationship was bad beforehand. Now it positively stank.  Do you think I could get a light bulb changed?  No way, not now, not ever.  Identifying the people who count and being on the right side of them go hand in hand, obviously.


I once worked with an auditor who was a complete you-know-what.  Everything had to be done by the book.  Every I dotted and t crossed.  This man would have made Attila the Hun look like a charity worker.  But this was a man who counted.  Not only was he the auditor, he seemed to have juice far beyond his role as an accountant.  This was a man the senior management bowed to, listened to, sought advice from, dared not cross; were in fear of and they generally treated him like royalty.



I never quite got to the bottom of why he wielded so much influence but I had to work with it.  And once I had indentified him I had to get on the right side of him.  I hadn’t been up to then.  As finance manager my department came under his scrutiny constantly and closely.


“There is a group of people you should watch out for – they often have unaccountable juice – which includes: drivers, auditors, PR people, Human Resources people, Pas, people who have been with the company for a very long time, outside consultants, free agents, ex-employees and of course maintenance people!”

I had upset him at every step along the way.  We didn’t see eye to eye.  He was an accountant and I was a finance manager – there is quite a difference. My   brief was to install security systems, improve cash flow, cut costs, and tighten all fiscal procedures. His was to audit every penny.

I took my kids to a jumble sale one Saturday morning.  It was autumn and I felt cold so I bought a college scarf at the jumble.  You know the sort, stripy, dark, and traditional.  On Monday I wore it into work.  I bumped into the auditor in the corridor. ‘Ah,’ he said ‘I didn’t know you went to Manchester University.  Well done’.  And he walked off.

I hadn’t a clue what he was talking about until it dawned on me that the scarf was a Manchester University scarf.  This was the university the auditor had gone to (no, I hadn’t gone thee, or to any university) and from then on he accepted me as one of his own, a chum, an old college pal.  I could do no wrong.

This was an accident.  Since then I have engineered such incidents to get on the right side of the people who count, the ones who have influence who shouldn’t.  These are the ones who have juice incommensurate with their position or job.

There is a group of people you should watch out for – they often have unaccountable juice – which includes: drivers, auditors, PR people, Human Resources people, Pas, people who have been with the company for a very long time, outside consultants, free agents, ex-employees and of course maintenance people!

 (Excerpts from THE RULES OF WORK by Richard Templer Read “How to deal with new management techniques” from The Rules tomorrow on Asabeafrika)


Rule-to-Work Series
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