Tuesday, October 19, 2010

An Opportunity to Prove Yourself...

An opportunity to prove yourself, it is what we all strive for in life.

Reading that statement is one thing, but hearing it from the person who signs your paycheck is another. Ms. Palmer related this very statement to Kathy and Wyn, after a meeting with the CEO of Boyle Technology.

Ms. Palmer was being held accountable for Kathy and Wyn’s intense technology training of Boyle Tech’s new products. The CEO requested a presentation to showcase these products utilizing their technology equipment. This was perfect timing for Kathy and Wyn, as they were experiencing student burnout.

After a year and a half of sitting through painstaking technology courses, Kathy and Wyn were finally given the opportunity to showcase their new skills in what they both deemed a proper setting. During the past year and a half at Boyle Technology, they were asked to present the occasional workshop using PowerPoint and cartoon graphics, which always produced the usual chuckles, but now they were more than willing and eager to prove themselves worthy of a full blown technology presentation. The only guidelines given by the CEO were for Kathy and Wyn to have mastered the knowledge and application of Boyle Tech’s new products before introducing them to 200 prospective buyers. Ms. Palmer reminded Kathy and Wyn of her previous statement regarding their opportunity to prove themselves as her job was also on the line.

The presentation was scheduled on a Saturday morning. Kathy and Wyn had two weeks to prepare. The venue was an unfamiliar room inside a local hotel casino. Ms. Palmer gave Kathy and Wyn contact information for Robert, the meeting room coordinator for the hotel casino, and Wyn set up a meeting for early Monday morning. Upon arrival, the first thing the ladies did was to scope out the size of the room. It was a 300 person capacity room. This was going to be a challenge as presentations they had previously given were in a 75 person capacity room. When Robert arrived, they went over the specifics for their presentation. The accommodations were confirmed; the number of tables and chairs, appropriate lighting, the oversized projector screen, and complimentary beverages. Robert would even have signs posted with arrows leading the way to the room one hour prior to the presentation. With just a rehearsal date and time to schedule, they were done for the day. Robert checked his calendar and all three agreed on the Thursday before the presentation as acceptable.

Kathy and Wyn could now devote their time to mastering the CEO’s new products and applying their knowledge and skills. More than just keeping their jobs; they wanted to be appreciated for their expertise. Ms. Palmer often reminded both ladies of her own career expectations resulting from a successful presentation. Kathy and Wyn were not overly concerned because; after all, they have been working for Ms. Palmer and Boyle Tech for six years and were very well trained, feeling confident they could do a great job.
They were, however, feeling anxious. They wanted to be offered a better position at Boyle Tech after this presentation. This had been their strategy behind the decision to accept Ms. Palmer’s offer to pay them to attend all the extra technology training courses. They loved working with technology and considered being privy to new products a privilege. Kathy and Wyn had assumed they would be asked to be accountable for the money invested in them by Boyle Tech., and anticipated being asked to do some kind of a presentation. If successful, the result would be money in the bank and a name plaque on their door, as they secretly chatted about over many lunches. So this was the opportunity that would indeed prove themselves to both Ms. Palmer and Boyle Technology. It was what they both were striving for in life!

So, for two weeks, Kathy and Wyn tested the products and created their presentation. They were very impressed with the new products and were excited to present them to prospective buyers. They practiced daily after work until the rehearsal date on the Thursday preceding the presentation.

The rehearsal went well; Kathy and Wyn were 100% prepared, feeling almost cocky. Kathy made sure they had backup paper copies of the presentation, just in case an unexpected technology problem occurred. They checked and re-checked the products and equipment, leaving no room for error. They packed up and left, thanking Robert for his efforts and agreeing on a 7:30 arrival time on Saturday morning.

Kathy and Wyn were at the meeting room early on Saturday and were setting up as Robert checked in for any last minute concerns. This was much appreciated and at the moment nothing more was needed of Robert. Buyers started entering the meeting room between 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m., by way of Robert’s much appreciated arrows. At exactly 9:10 a.m. Wyn went to the podium to introduce herself and to announce the standard housekeeping rules required at all meetings. She then gave the podium over to Kathy who introduced herself. After taking much anticipated questions from their audience, Kathy walked over to the equipment table and stood composed waiting for Wyn’s signal to begin. Wyn began the oral part of the presentation and then signaled to Kathy to start the visuals. When Kathy flipped the switch, nothing happened.


The oversized projector screen had been blank of any and all text and graphics that Kathy and Wyn had prepared. They had silently chuckled, exchanging looks which they both immediately understood, and proceeded with the presentation. With so much on the line, Kathy and Wyn had brought their own backup equipment, which was concealed under the table, and Kathy just reached for them nonchalantly as previously rehearsed.

The CEO of Boyle Technology had an unexpected emergency and never made it to the presentation. However, he did send his assistant, Rich, who was more than willing to report the outcome of the presentation back to the CEO.

Rich’s table had been close enough to Kathy’s whereby he was instantly made alarmingly aware that a product of Boyle Technology had just failed. He was in awe of the backup plan Kathy and Wyn had ready to handle this potential disaster. They had masked the failure of the equipment and completed the presentation without the buyers being aware of any technological problems. These employees were exemplary, is how Rich relayed his thoughts to the CEO. He added that not only did the presentation continue smoothly, but the evaluations proved the presentation to be more of a success than anticipated.

Rich showed the CEO the evaluations from the buyers that were handed in immediately following the presentation. Every single one praised Kathy and Wyn on all levels. All but 22 left their names and contact information to set up a future meeting to purchase one or more of the products. There were many that requested Kathy and Wyn to be present at these meetings; there was even one asking for Kathy and Wyn’s personal cell phone number!

Ms. Palmer was given a bonus for the presentation’s successful outcome. Kathy and Wyn were both promoted, which came with a raise and a name plaque on their door. The first assignment given to both star employees was to determine the reason for the product’s failure at the presentation.

No buyers were being scheduled for meetings to purchase any new products until they were able to complete this task, and with this Kathy and Wyn were immediately earning their ‘money in the bank’! Repeated once again, they heard………..
An opportunity to prove yourself, it is what we all strive for in life.


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