Dear Travel Coach
A large company has just swallowed up my small independent car hire firm. I am sure that with my experience I can move up the ladder but need some tips on being genuine and standing out from the crowd. Any ideas?
The overarching aim here is to be yourself and avoid becoming an anonymous cog in the machinery. Here are some strategies:
The past counts. Be proud of your small company background and let it shine through. Because you previously multi-tasked you are in a great position to empathise with a broader range of people in this new set up than the ones who only know the big company environment.
A quiet revolution. There will be a corporate way of doing stuff. (Pretend to) adopt it and then tweak it your way. The important thing is to abide by rules and policies but to give them a unique spin. Some people may think you’re showing off – they’re right, you want to be seen to be different but still ‘on board’.
Do as I say… By keeping true to your word you will maintain respect. If for example you want your sales team to promote rentals of electric vehicles, drive around in a one yourself.
Be clear and visible. In a small outfit it is difficult to hide when things go wrong. Because the opposite can be the case in a big set-up (such as in governments) you will do well to take the blame when you’re at fault and helping sort it out whenever you’re not. People will see you as reliable dependable and trustworthy.
Embrace the big. This new environment can offer many fresh angles. Although some of them might be scary (such as taking a qualification for Continued Professional Development) push yourself to do them and enjoy the ride. Your enthusiasm will be noted and will work in your favour.
Split personas. Successful people have a knack of using different bits of their personality in different situations, being a leader with their teams one minute and then showing deference to their bosses the next. The great skill here is to maintain consistency. It’s a bit like being an actor except that you are always being ‘you’- just that it is the ‘you’ that has planned what you want to say and is able to react in the same style.
Un-hidden persuasion. Once you have worked out the genuine ‘You’ you need to work out how other people are buying into it. Listen out to reactions and watch people’s faces. Do they smile back? Do they always answer immediately and willingly when you say their name? These are all clues as to how well you are being perceived. Be prepared to adjust – but make sure you are always being true to yourself.
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