Untold Management Rules-1: ‘Position of Privilege’
Updated: Feb 28
Have you ever noted that sometimes, when you share a bright idea in a meeting, nobody cares, but when similar or rather dim thought is shared by someone else its well appreciated?
Similarly, you may have seen that in a forum when you are trying to make a point, moderator advises you to be quick or interrupt/stops you, citing time constraint whereas someone else is allowed to go on-and-on with their rant.
In any cultural event of poems or songs, have you sometimes felt that the one with best lines, presentation and voice was not appreciated enough as compared to the one who was average or below average.
All these and many such experiences go on to prove that it’s not only the merit of the content but rather the position and perception of the person involved, which commands respect. I call it ‘Position of Privilege’ (POP).
Hence its highly recommended to work towards earning this ‘POP’. This has to be the most sought after virtue. Not having ‘POP’ can lead to some real frustration and I have seen many bright colleagues leaving the organisation or retiring into oblivion, in absence of ‘POP’. People ignore this and than blame their managers or colleagues for not listening to them, but that doesn’t help them in any way.
Obtaining ‘Position of Privilege’ is a combination of lot of things – Perception building, right alignment, display of confidence, smart communication, most importantly indispensability and then your achievements, in that order.
I have seen many bright individuals working towards enhancing their knowledge, get various certifications, working hard on their projects, burning their midnight oil etc. On the other hand, there are few smart lads who in addition to above mentioned things are busy aligning themselves to those already in ‘POP’, showcasing every bit of work they have done as ‘big’ and going around blowing their own trumpet loudly. Of course, latter get to climb the ladder of success much faster.
Having said that, I do not mean that content and knowledge is not important. In fact, that’s the foundation. What’s important is to note that if content and knowledge is comparable or even if slightly less, ‘POP’ plays a big role in your success. You can also consider it as – content/knowledge ensures you get the entry to an organisation/arena and may help you sustain there, but it is this ‘POP’ which gets you real success.
I remember that once I came across a renowned artist who was well known in advertising/creative world with lot of success to his credit. However, when he joined a new group, those in POP in that new group, did not acknowledge that person’s merit and he had a tough time settling in there and making a mark. This brings a very interesting point that we have to earn POP all over again in each new setup. There will be a different set of people commanding ‘POP’ in each setup and one has to regain it in every new setup, unless your previous ‘POP’ was big enough to create an impact in the new setup.
Fortunately/unfortunately, I have never settled at one place and have been changing groups, projects and organisations. Thus I myself have first hand experience of being an outsider and making my way into ‘POP’. Not that I succeeded every time. Once you master the art of it, you know the drill but please be aware that experience would be different every time and that entry in inner circle would be sometimes easy, but mostly difficult.
Every situation is different and your own setup may be quite unique in itself, so there is no intent in this blog to handhold and provide you tips (that’s for some other blog :-)) on how to get ‘POP’, but you can find your own way by pondering on following questions –
Who around you have ‘POP’ and how well are you aligned to them?
What are the typical traits of those having ‘POP’ around you and how they conduct themselves differently?
How the choice of words, tone, and affability of those in ‘POP’, is different from yours?
Are you displaying enough enthusiasm, confidence, and optimism in your conduct?
Are you easily replaceable in your setup or there are few things, which only you can do or know?
Do you have the right skills for the job and are your displaying them loud and clear?
Good Luck and remember two golden rules –
It may be true that you don’t get second chances to make a first impression, but you do get more chances to make a better impression.