Take your damn seat at the table

For about the last 20 years, I’ve heard a lot of whining from training and HR folks about wanting to “have a seat at the table”. We love to flog ourselves about why we stink , and to criticize our executives about having their heads up their behinds for not recognizing how important we could be.

I know, I used to do the same thing. And I also spent time “marketing” my training team, conducting phony ROI studies, and taking on any scrap assignment thrown my way as a way to prove our worth and “earn” a seat at the all important table.

Well, I’ve learned over the years that if you want a seat at the table, you need to assume it’s yours, just barge in, and take it. Grab a cookie, have a seat, pour a glass of water, and contribute to the success of the business. Executives aren’t stupid people – if you have something substantial to offer, they listen. And if you don’t – if you try to get away with shoveling fluff at them, they are quick to size you up and dismiss you. Take your cookie and go home.

For the last 10 years I’ve been hearing about the importance of leadership development and talent management. For me, that’s been an open invitation to join the party. I’ve never felt so valued and had so many opportunities to play. My team’s dance cards are consistently filled to capacity. And not just because the need is there – and it is – we are drowning in a sea of opportunity. More importantly, it’s because we know what we’re doing – we know how to develop leaders and we’re damn good at it.

By the way – that seat at the table we’re all clamoring for – it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. But that’s fodder for another post.