have become more comfortable with asking, even if I don’t
know and people think I should.
Lacking the courage to ask questions is something I
observe in colleagues from entry level to executive. People
don’t want to sound or be thought of as uninformed.
But let me flip the script on that one for you. Those
who don’t ask questions are the ones who are uninformed.
Save yourself some time and anxiety and ask a question
you don’t know in your next meeting.
SHOW YOUR RESPECT
Just like we teach children to get in the habit of saying
please and thank you as much as possible, I try to teach my
teams and colleagues to show their respect to each other
as much as possible.
I’ve worked in all kinds of cultures. Some very hierarchical where it’s accepted to only show respect to superiors, and those cultures usually collapse on themselves with
key employees eventually moving on.
Conversely at my company now, RPM Mortgage, I had
the privilege of constructing our core values with my fellow
executive team last year, and one of our core values is “
Approachable,” which we define as being supportive, patient,
welcoming so that our openness shines through in everything we do and is critical to the success of our business.
This was a critical moment in my career where I got
to participate in codifying respect into our culture, and
since we did it a year ago, it’s taken an already collaborative
culture and made it a place where everyone genuinely feels
DEAL MAKING IS ART AND SCIENCE
As noted above, let the outcomes of your work do the
talking for you. If you think this way, it forces you to understand where both you and the organization are really trying
to go. And you can’t do this without documenting both
qualitative and quantitative goals.
If you approach your career in this manner, negotiating becomes simpler too. The art of the deal is about
chemistry and salesmanship, which definitely matters in any
negotiation. But the science of the deal is where it’s made
or lost. If you don’t know your facts and figures—whether
it’s about your own compensation or a deal you’re negotiating for your firm—you will be compromised as you seek
And note that I said, “your interest” not “your position.”
One of the great books still used in most MBA schools is
called Getting To Yes, and it contains a simple lesson that
everyone should remember: focus on interests, not positions. If you’re too consumed by your own position, then
you don’t have everyone’s collective interest in mind, and
it’ll be much harder to get that “yes” you’re seeking when
Lorraine Sumulong is the executive Vice President and Chief
Legal & Compliance Officer at RPM Mortgage, the nation’s
17th largest retail mortgage lender. Based in Alamo, Calif.,
RPM specializes in providing smart advice, an easy process
and super speed to all clients’ home financing needs.