I really enjoy the story of King Arthur, and the Knights of the Roundtable. Watching a movie, or reading a story, based upon this legend, always energizes me. Although this story is based upon folklore, it offers a magical view of leadership and strategy.
According to medieval legend King Arthur was an amazing warrior. Smartly, he surrounded himself with incredibly talented knights. Each of these individuals earned his respect, and a seat at the roundtable, by distinguishing themselves in some noble way. Much of Arthur’s legendary success, as a leader, and Camelot’s stature, as a powerful Kingdom, was attributed to the combined strategic planning efforts of those seated at the Roundtable.
“As its name suggests, it has no head, implying that everyone who sits there has equal status.” — Wikipedia, on the concept of Arthur’s roundtable
Have you ever wondered why you find yourself playing a tactical, or reactive role with your (internal or external) customers? Are you delivering services in response to direction provided by them, when you could have produced more positive results by leading the way?
Timing Is Everything with Business Communications
These are common business challenges, and they can be inhibitors to your level of success, as an influencer. As the saying goes, “timing is everything” and, if you are finding yourself in this position frequently, then it may be time to consider adjusting your approach towards business communications.
In this world there are people who are knights (leaders), and there are commoners (followers). If you wish to attain knighthood, then you must act proactively. In the meetings and events business there is a planning cycle, as we all know. You must get in front of that cycle, if you wish to influence the development of the strategic event plan.
Earn a Seat at the Strategic Event Planning Roundtable
So what’s the solution? How does one get a seat at the “strategic event roundtable”? How do you play a strategic role in helping customers make the best decisions regarding their event’s direction? How do you become their “trusted adviser”? Here are some thoughts.
Ask for the Seat – first and foremost you must ask for the opportunity to participate in the strategic planning process. In this case “ask and ye shall receive” does not necessarily apply. You must offer some compelling reasons why your participation will yield a valuable benefit to the process.
Earn Their Trust– Do your homework. Seek to understand all aspects of the organization’s business objectives for their event. Talk to key members of the planning committee. Visit the event website to search for any clues that will provide you insight.
Act with Nobility– your actions will speak louder than your words. Provide strategic advice, and assistance, when the opportunity presents itself. Demonstrate integrity in all that you do!
Evangelize Your Ideas– If you have a unique perspective, or a cutting-edge idea, that will bring value to the planning process, present it enthusiastically, frequently, and with factual information supporting its value.
The average business person does a reasonably good job of responding to customer requests and requirements. Individuals that nobly distinguish themselves, as strategic partners, will lead their customers along the path of success, leaving everyone else in the dust. What will you settle for?
Question: In your business relationships do you see yourself as a knight, or a commoner? If you are seated at your customer’s roundtable, what propelled you there? I look forward to your comments.