Featured Guest Blogger: Babette Burdick
Sales Aerobics for Engineers
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Stop salivating. I’m not going to be discussing the eternal dialectic between architects and engineers. I know the engineers take what architects design and somehow make it function. I know architects take what engineers design and make it aesthetically pleasing.
I’m talking about what form you take to make yourself functional. In any context.
How would you characterize your form? Are you a shape shifter? Do you constantly morph? Are you the same form regardless of situation? Does anyone know what – or whom – to expect when you interface with them? Do you take your form on and off like a suit of clothes? Are you play-acting? Are you authentic…Ever?
How does the form you take impact your function – and your value – to your organization? Are you the loose cannon no one wants to deal with because they never get the same “you” twice? Do you hide behind your engineering degree and your technical jargon so that you are impenetrable except to your peers – and therefore difficult to communicate with? Are you constantly striving to earn style points (literally) by putting yourself on an artistic pedestal and making your clients feel uncomfortable – even though they are the ones writing the checks for your services? Are you confused about what folks are expecting of you, and therefore inconsistent in actions and, consequently, performance?
We are at the time of the year – and this year particularly – when we need to take stock of ourselves. This is a thought process we should always be engaging in an ongoing basis. You know, continuous self improvement? Why just confine it to your architectural, engineering and planning projects?
If you are so many different things to so many different people based on what you think they want, how do you keep all this functional role-playing straight? Why on earth do you feel that you wouldn’t meet yourself coming and going, eventually?
It’s easier to shape shift than taking some personal inventory and aligning yourself so your form and function are fluid, continuous and authentic time after time. No surprises for anyone anymore. Although this new “you” may surprise you, yourself. Have you ever thought how it would be to effortlessly answer a question from a unified form-function position without thinking out a scripted response aligned with whatever politics you feel you need to support at that time?
So you guys think you don’t have time for this stuff. Too busy hustling new business or completing projects by year end? Compartmentalizing your professional form with function again?
Guess again. There’s no better time than now to figure out how to create steady-state dynamics between your form and function. Unfortunately they didn’t teach you – or any of us – about this in engineering school. The real world throws continuous curve balls at us. Most of us spend our lives dodging them or avoiding them rather than anticipating them and incorporating them. The big secret is that compartmentalization of the personal from the professional side of things doesn’t work.
Look around you and figure out how many shape-shifters are in your workplace. Is shape shifting encouraged? Does it result from a management style that leaves everyone in the dark…. Perhaps on purpose? Is this type of atmosphere toxic to your career and personal development? Are you ignoring this situation and hoping things resolve? How functional is all this shape shifting?
OK. I’ve made my point. I also encourage you to follow a similar discussion titled: “Are You Impeccable With Your Word?” on my blog at Sales Aerobics for Engineers. You see, I couldn’t compartmentalize this week, writing one distinct blog for my readers and another for the Civil Engineering Central audience. The two blogs are both parts of a whole. They invite dialogue.