Many articles have been written about the challenges that E&C professionals face in the business. A recent article offers three ways to address these challenges and one of these ways got my attention: connect personally. The author, Vera Cherepanova recommends the following:
Do field drives with the salespeople to better understand their job and the ethical risks they face. Use interpersonal ties to develop your trustworthiness. Really listen to employees’ concerns. Even if you have to say “no” to an idea, treat them with respect and show that you understand their perspective.
It reminded me of this saying: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
As an E&C professional, we are seen by many as a profit-reducing center, as the “Department of No”. They don’t believe what we believe, and this is often because we haven’t connected with them on a personal level.
Connecting personally can be done in ways that are not time consuming. We can ask questions like “Help me understand why you want to do it this way.” We can share lessons learned or success stories every quarter. We can provide E&C training that help employees do their job better rather than focus on legal concepts.
Today, pay attention to your interactions with colleagues and ask yourself repeatedly: “How can I connect better with this person (or this group) in just a few minutes?” Do this every day and take some small actions. Before long, you will notice an increase in traffic to your door. That’s a sure sign that you are providing value. Others now believe what you believe.