Days before a big presentation I forwarded my PowerPoint presentation to my new boss for review. I’d spent countless hours organizing the content for my presentation and double checking for spelling and grammatical errors. Within ten minutes I received a response to my submission. “Content looks fantastic! The template you selected is a little dry for my taste and way to feminine.
I took the liberty of updating the template to one more appropriate. Additionally, your theme “Partnering for Perfection” is too feminine. I have updated it to “Race to the Finish.” I slowly clicked on the link containing my “new and improved” presentation. Gasp! He used a race car template. I shook my head. I am presenting to a room full of female executives with a race car template with a cheesy theme. Great.
Because my boss was the self proclaimed “PowerPoint King” and “Marketing Guru”, I dare not challenge him on this lame brain idea. I got on a plane, flew to the west coast and delivered my slides. When I finished, the Senior Vice President shook my hand and said, “This is going to be a great partnership.” I chuckled inside thinking, “The flippin race car theme worked! Who knew?”
Later our client took me out to dinner. Right before dessert, the same Senior Vice President who shook my hand earlier said, “I have to ask you, what the heck were you thinking with that race car theme? That was so not like you. Not your style at all.” I looked back at the dessert menu and then at her. “Thought I would try something new.” She smiled. “Well, you are lucky I like you. With a theme like that you should not have gotten our business.” Without hesitation the Vice President of Sales chimed in, “Come on! Spill it! Your boss revised your original presentation! Right?” I shook my head no. She said, “Yea right! I have known you for some time. That my dear was not your work. Next time stick to your guns. I am sure your original presentation would have closed the deal. That presentation was way too masculine.”
The moral of the story? Just because you are the leader does not mean you are right. Have faith in your team. Let their creative juices flow. If your team knows that you will always shoot down their ideas or simply change them to reflect your style, they may stop coming up with new ideas. Remember why you hired them and utilize their talents.
If you are the employee who constantly gets your work edited or your ideas shot down, take the time to meet with your boss to fully explain your logic. While you may not always be right, you do have some pretty good ideas from time to time. Let your light shine!