What happened the last time you ran into one of your higher-ups in the hallway or on an elevator?
Chances are they said something along the lines of, “Hello, how are you?”
What was your reply? A standard, “Fine. Thanks. Busy. How are you?”? Maybe you commented on your favorite sports team or the weather. “Hot enough for you?” Or did you open the door to a mutually beneficial encounter?
It’s not always easy to quickly and effectively engage anyone when you’re caught off guard — especially someone in the upper echelons of your organization — and make a good impression every time. But it’s unfortunate to pass up face time with someone who can help you with your career development.
The obvious solution is never to be surprised or unprepared to engage anyone, anywhere, anytime, in a meaningful way. To help you do that, I share a simple technique I learned last week.
Rather than answer any greeting with, “Fine,” be prepared to engage the other party. Always have three topics as an answer ready, and be prepared to go three levels deep with each topic.
It might go something like this:
How are you?
I’m fine, thank you.
1. I’m working on the Baxter project
2. Doing well with my personal development plan
3. And I’ll be taking the Effective Meeting Management Workshop next week.
Oh, that’s sounds great. Tell me more about your development plan.
1. My manager and I have defined my key priorities last week
2. We’ve focusing on aligning my team, closer to the strategy, this quarter
3. And I’m going over the feedback from my 360 Leadership Assessment, today.
So what are your key priorities?
1. Team alignment
2. Delivering feedback to my team on a more regular basis
3. And driving greater accountability.
I’m sure from the above example, you get the idea of how this works. You’ll be very lucky if you get to go three levels deep before your party reaches their floor, but always be ready, just in case.
Take time to reflect today on your 3 x 3, and try it out.
I wish you much success!