Game of Business: Mastering The Power Play
"Would you like some water?" asks the receptionist as she observes Jason pacing back and forth inside the lobby before he meets with the company's executives.
A slight chuckle erupts from his lips, "I'm guessing you can sense my nervousness, huh?"
"Just a little bit," the woman replies as she hands him a cup of water.
"Thank you very much—Veronica," he says, looking at her nameplate on the desk.
While waiting for his competitor's meeting to end, he engaged in small talk with Veronica, telling her his story, and to his surprise, she gave him some helpful advice.
"I've been in this business for a long time, Jason," she says after listening to his story as he explained that this was his first time pitching to a corporation as a new business owner.
"You've probably been preparing for this moment for weeks, studying your competition and reviewing your notes steadily until they are second nature to you. But there is one thing I need you always to remember about business," she paused, waiting for Jason's response.
"What is that?" he asks, listening intently to what she will say.
"Don't fall prey to speak ill of your competitors. Some people think you must denigrate them to destroy them, but that is untrue." She pauses and looks at the meeting door as she hears the doorknob twist.
As the meeting door opens, his competitor and executives exit the meeting room, entering the lobby where Jason and Veronica are seated.
"Thank you for your time, sir. I'm looking forward to doing business with you here soon," said the competitor to one of the executives from the meeting while he winked at Jason. The competitor knew Jason was standing near waiting to enter, so he did that deliberately to taunt him.
Veronica gently places her hand on Jason's shoulder and tells him, "Remember what I said. . . don't fall prey." as he heads into the meeting room. She could sense the reek of arrogance coming from his competitor underestimating him.
"Jason," the executive greets him enthusiastically at the door, extending his arms to signal him to enter the room. "Welcome! Please, join us."
As Jason entered the room, he began circling the mahogany conference table shaking hands with the executives while handing them a printout of his presentation deck, hoping they would overlook the sweat of his palms.
After making his way to the front, he stands before them, inhaling deeply before presenting, and says to himself, "You got this, J," with a calm exhale that gives him peace and harmony.
"You guys ready to begin?" he says with a smile spread across his face.
His cadence made the room dance with every word he said throughout his presentation. Additionally, the confidence with which he moved across the room, expressing his backstory and in-depth knowledge of the synergy between his business and theirs, created the ideal setting for engaging in heartfelt conversations amongst the executive group, providing fresh air for their team to feel inspired.
However, although Jason felt he did amazingly well, he received different feedback than his competitor in his meeting when he overheard them after they finished. Naturally, this made him concerned, but he remained hopeful, thanking everyone for their time despite this.
After leaving the meeting room, he noticed Veronica wasn't at the front desk in the lobby. He wanted to thank her for their early conversation and say goodbye to her. So he grabbed his business card out of his wallet, turned it over to the back, and wrote, "Thank you for your wise words; I'd love to talk to you more about business. Talk soon!" as he placed the card on the desk to head down the hall to the elevators.
"Jason, Jason," a voice echoes down the hall.
Jason stops and turns around as the executive shouts his way, "Come back; our CEO would like to speak with you."
Jason walked back toward the office with a puzzled expression, asking himself, "Why would the CEO want to speak with me?"
As he sits in the meeting room amongst the executives, he asks politely, "I don't mean to be rude, but why does the C—" Before he can finish his sentence, Veronica walks in with his business card and sits down.
"So, you wanted to talk to me about business?" she asks.
Jason stares at Veronica, confused, asking, "Hold on. . . So you're the CEO?"
"Why do you look surprised?" she inquires.
"I thought you were the—" he says, pointing at the lobby room.
"Receptionist?" Her eyebrows furrowed in astonishment, "that's what your competitor thought, too, and that's where he messed up. Our receptionist called in sick today, so I figured I'd fill her spot. But yes, I'm the CEO."
It took Jason a while to comprehend what was happening. His hands were over his head, and his mouth was wide open. He was speechless, still stunned, thinking about why she didn't correct him when he called her Veronica when that wasn't her real name. Was this all just a game?
"You see, Jason, I do business with people that show and have respect for everyone, including themselves," she explained, pausing for a moment to think deeply. "To me, business isn't war, and my competitors aren't my enemies whom I'm trying to fight or harm."
She continued as Jason sat there listening intently to her advice as he had earlier. "I look at a business like a sport or a game. We're all in this, aiming to be the best on the same field, playing under the same rules, and at the end of the game, win or lose, we shake hands as a sign of respect, dignity, and total sportsmanship to the other party. Consequently, when you show respect in business, your relationships will naturally grow and bear fruit in sales, growth, and success."
"Besides," she stated as she glanced at his presentation deck on the conference table. "I heard your presentation was good. So they say," pointing at the executive team members.
"Care to share it again?" she asked with a smile.
🔑 Relationships are the basis of businesses, and people are the basis of relationships. So, if you have to degrade someone else's value to make yours superior, how much is yours worth?