I first met Julie Regan in August of 2006 on a summer evening at the Capitol Grille in
Rule Maker Moment #1: Look for opportunities to expand your exposure.
Julie signed up for a volunteer assignment to ensure that logistics went smoothly during the evening for EMC customer groups and their hosting EMC executive. It wasn’t a glamorous assignment and the interns had to give up a summer evening to be there. Nothing was offered in return but a free dinner once everyone was settled.
Julie made an immediate impression on me. I found that she was as enthusiastic about working at EMC as she was about helping that evening. Her demeanor dulled only for a moment when she told me that her internship was about to end.
“Would you like to stay on longer?” I asked.
With eyes and a smile that lit up the dark mahogany surroundings she said, “I’d love that! My schedule at BC this year would even allow for it.” I remember thinking that you don’t let someone with this amount of passion leave if you can help it.
“Have you asked if you can stay longer?” I asked.
“No … I mean, it’s a summer internship so of course I figured ….,” she said until I interrupted her. “Julie, this is EMC! Ask if you can do it and chances are they’ll say ‘yes.’ Remember, your boss can’t read your mind.”
Rule Maker Moment #2: Ask for what you want.
The next week I got an email from Julie with these comments, “They said,’ yes!’ I get to stay.”
Rule Maker Moment #3: Build Relationships
Included in her email was an “ask” for me. “Do you think we can have lunch one day? I’d love to learn more about what you do and how you’ve navigated your career.”
The Goodness Continues
Julie’s extended internship resulted in a job offer to start with EMC once her studies at BC were complete. Said Julie, “I had a totally stress free senior year knowing that I had the job at EMC. It was awesome!”
Rule Maker Moment #4: Plant the Seed.
A couple of weeks ago Julie contacted me with news that she again used the advice to let her boss know what she wished for and was working toward. In a manner that was respectful, kind and yet also evidenced a desire to excel, she shared with her boss that she would love to take on a new job off the typical career path should such a position open up. There were no jobs posted and the usual protocol for any promotion is to wait for when the boss calls you, right? Not if you’re smart.
When a successful track record, opportunity and courage meet:
The next day her boss called her into his office and said, “We’re ramping up a new group of inside sales that will launch our operating model and dedicate it to a specific market opportunity. Would you be interested in helping to replicate this operation on the West Coast? You’d be based in
Julie accepted with pleasure.
For a high performer, simply putting an idea on the boss’ radar can make magic happen.
---- Talk Back:
What about your career? Have you used “rule maker” strategies to help you excel? Have you shown the courage to ask for something that wasn’t part of the official process? Have you seized opportunities to expand your exposure and network? Do you work to build strategic relationships with people you’ve met along the way?