What People Feel about You Is More Important than Reality

About six months into my tenure as CIO, I noticed a very interesting dynamic. Our clients and our management felt more positively about the progress we had made to date than was actually warranted. That is not to suggest that we hadn't made progress—we certainly had. The team had worked very hard to create a new client-focused attitude and had started to improve many of our services and processes. The reality is that we had probably moved from being a 4 to being a 7 (using Olympic scoring!). However, many of our clients would rate us an 8 or higher! Why this disconnect?

As we discussed in Chapter 3, perception is reality. Let me say that again so it sinks in: Perception is reality. How many times have you seen someone tried in the court of public opinion before they ever have a chance to defend themselves in an actual court of law? What people feel about you outweighs the facts! Now clearly, over time enough facts can change people's perceptions. However, as many have stated in other leadership books, first people buy into the leader, then they buy into the message. Creating goodwill and being someone that people trust and like are critical to providing you the time and space you need to make a difference.

We are emotional creatures. We work more from feelings than from logic. In order to create the runway you need to really have an impact; you need to create the goodwill and relationships that will make people want you ...

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