This weekend, The New York Times published an interview with Charlotte Beers, former chairwoman and C.E.O. of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, and the woman behind the conference series, “The X Factor.” It seems this interview was made in conjunction with many others to market the release of her new book, I’d Rather Be in Charge. After reading the interview, I admit I’m tempted to check it out!
In the Times interview, Beers showcased some amazing insight not just on keeping tabs on yourself as a business professional, but also keeping tabs of your own business methods. So often we tally our accomplishments to showcase during review or to associations when looking for that next raise, promotion, or inclusion on an important panel. But not often enough do we pay attention to ourselves day in and day out, and how we communicate with others at the office and how that communication may be perceived.
For those of us in management roles, this article I feel is a very good read with some very intuitive insight. And for those who are looking to take steps toward that role, consider this a fantastic primer. I found this interview very inspiring yet humbling, as Beers shared some anecdotes that helped bring her point home, and not all were pretty. At the end of the day, despite our roles and responsibilities, we’re just people. We have our views on how things should be, we can be wrong and we make mistakes.
This article – at least for me – conveys that it is okay to be human, and how necessary it is to step outside of our comfort zone and even make ourselves uncomfortable in order to continue positive business growth. In the article Beers stated, “I worry… today we lean toward that which is provable, when all the excitement is in the hard-to-prove.” (When someone asks about ROI, I may just pull out this quote.) My primary frustration, however, with running a business is impatience. How many times have we had to stop ourselves and say, “This can’t happen overnight. Be patient!” Then I’m sure your other self scowled back and perhaps even whined, “But I want it now!”
My key takeaway from this interview was the self assessment. Beers makes it very clear that you not only have to assess your work, but your relationships. Also, listen to how you speak to others, and think about how your words and tone translate. My mother told me over and over growing up to “pull an Atticus Finch“ and step inside the other person’s shoes before judging. Well, Beers also states that it’s important to step in your own shoes and judge yourself – and don’t leave out a thing. Beers says, include “the good, the bad, and the ugly.”
We all want to be great employees, great managers, great bosses. This type of awareness I feel is a great starting point to walk toward that ever-patient process.