Lately I have been busy managing things. There are many different things that need managing and it takes different kinds of people to manage certain things. Having said all that, everyone, especially in the small business area, have to know (or learn) to manage their own perception. In other words, you have to know how to control the way people perceive you.
Let’s consider the following example. The company has just hired a technical expertise person, who they call ‘developer’ for lack of a better word. Company itself does not maintain any IT staff, rather relying on multiple outside vendors to provide services. Immediately upon the introduction of the ‘developer’ to vendors they went from happy and content to almost hostile. The obvious reason was that from their perspective the ‘developer’ is going to take away from their plate and take over most, if not all, work some of them are doing. Company’s management happily
Now, had this ‘developer’ been introduced to vendors by using his actual title – which included the word “manager” – things would have went a lot easier. Vendors would understand that the real goal of that person coming aboard would be to manage company’s relationship with those very vendors, having a more streamlined way of communicating requirements and processing feedback. In a way, this person should be a single point of contact between vendors and the company, removing or significantly reducing ambiguity and redundancy in processes.
However, by not managing the proper perception of the role, the company management created an obstacle in their relationship with vendors that wasn’t there before. Had the proper perception management applied – there would be no hostility whatsoever.
Managing the way your business partners and vendors perceive you and people who work for you is an important stage in relationship development. A lot of small businesses miss the opportunity to build on this early on and playing a catch-up game to resolve the issues that should not have been there in the first place.