Sunday 26 July 2009

We all have a boss

The Leadership Summit now seems so long ago. What a week it has been!

One really great thing that resulted from this leadership event was that I got to spend time in the months leading up to this, thinking about the lessons we learnt since IS began. There are so many compelling tales and anecdotes – I never realized how many of them make for good stories.

I remember going to pitch Internet connectivity at our second corporate customer back in early 1994. I remember being asked if we could come up with a discount. I replied with “Let me check with my boss”. And the guy asking me suddenly felt a bit uncomfortable and goes “I don’t want to cause you any problems”. And I go “No problem at all – I am going to ask the boss to check with the board as to what kind if discount we can apply here.”

So I call up Dave Frankel, and I say to him “Please can you check with the board what kind if discount we can offer here.” And this what Dave replies with “We are ordering pizzas – don’t be late or yours will be cold”. And I go “I understand – I know the margins are tight – I thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask.”

And the customer was cool and looked relieved that the call was now over. They are one of our biggest customers to date and our relationship with them is solid.

Now, this is a colourful story, and what I learnt early on in life is that everyone has a boss. If I had said that I was the boss, and that we were the board, it would have sounded strange. Yes, all people have a boss, and they can't connect with you or relate to you if you don't have a boss.

When I left my customer that day I added lib a bit and said “You know, the board said if I ask for a discount one more time I should find another job.” He just looked at me and winked. We have very friends ever since.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker