One Person Can’t Do It Alone
The owner of the kind of expensive restaurant navigated the dining room as though it was the school cafeteria. It was like an adult version of the high school cafeteria with the cool kids at one table, the rich kids at another, and then there we were, the grown up version of nerds. Or that is what we felt like. The owner with a scarf tossed casually around his neck, sat down for long talks at some tables. At other tables he stood for lengthy conversations. But at our table it was an obligatory “how is the meal” two sentence “drive-by”.
There are those that would argue that he spent his time talking to people that he knew. But to this I would argue, how do you get to know someone if you don’t spend time talking to them? If we continue to talk to only people that we know, how do you add new people to your relationships?
The reason this is important is that PEER is the word of the decade. 21st century experts and gurus will say that the goal in this century is to develop a peer relationship with clients, vendors, prospects and centers of influence. But it takes two to develop a relationship; one person can’t do it by themselves.
So the goal of becoming a PEER is like having the goal of eating chocolate cake without the calories, or getting the benefits of working out without the sweat equity. It is difficult to do, if it was easy-everyone would workout. It takes two to develop a PEER relationship; one person can’t do it by themselves.
A client was promoted to vice president. After becoming a vice president he complained to me that the CEO did not treat him like a PEER. I brought this up to the CEO. He said, “When he acts like a peer, I will treat him like a peer”. Here was a Mexican stand-off. The new vice president was waiting to be treated like a peer, and the CEO was waiting for the vice president to act like a peer. There we are back in the high school cafeteria once again: the nerdy guy waiting to be invited to the cool kid’s table. Being cool is kind of like being a peer; one person can’t do it by themselves. We can’t label ourselves cool and we can’t label ourselves a peer.
It’s not easy or everyone would have a peer relationship with those above and around them. First we need to have a peer relationship as or goal and then we need to see ourselves as a peer in our verbal, vocal and visual. We can have PEER as a goal and take steps toward that peer mindset. We can’t do it by ourselves. We have to figure out how to get the guy with the scarf casually tossed around his neck to stop at our table for more than a drive-by.