WordFood - how we feed or starve our realtionships

- Julia Hubbel

Julia’s ability to get this group of type-A executives to engage in true networking was incredible. She is truly skilled at motivating the group to engage and interact with each other, and her openness and honesty really come through.

— Shelley Stewart, Jr.,
Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence and Chief Procurement Officer, Tyco

June 18, 2012

When Others Say WordFood Better Than You

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Julia Hubbel @ 7:46 pm

This week I’m giving a speech at a conference of women who are selling their products and services to the Fortune 500. For the most part, this is a very savvy bunch, and they understand their customer very well. But not always.

In the nine years of attending these conferences I’ve seen instances of alcohol abuse, bad behavior and inappropriate clothing that have cost these smart women contracts- and this from comments made to me by my Fortune 500 friends. I wanted to make some kind of mention in my presentation, but how do I do this without sounding, well, parental or condescending? For the last three days I have gone over the wording and struggled with the slide. Considered forgetting it altogether but knew that it made sense to say something, but what and how?

The answer came today in the form of Caroline, another woman business owner whom I met at the coffee counter this afternoon. Her comment to me was that “The Fortune 500 consider us as extensions of themselves – they want us to represent them to their customers. That’s how they’re looking at how we look and behave.”

This is perfect. Why do I have to say it? One of their own should. And better Caroline than me.

It’s not up to me to moralize. It’s so much more effective, and so much softer, for another business woman to make the case for how to be successful.

Sometimes it can be tempting to be right, to be Moses on the mountain and march down with the tablets. But my bet will be that with Caroline as the messenger they will  find the advice palatable and even wise, and certainly will not resent it.

When you have a tough message to deliver, you might check in with your ego first and make sure there isn’t a warrior intent on cleaning house. While the warrior may sound attractive at some level, you may end up making enemies. Find a way to utilize another voice to express your message, using positive WordFood to equals.¬† Caroline gave me a nice lesson in WordFood diplomacy. It works in families, financial summits and the founding of nations.

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