TrekAcademy


Lesson 020: Access to top management
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 5/1 ('Redemption Part II')

[Scene]

The Federation is in need of help from the Klingon Empire. Capt. Picard reaches out to Gowron whom he had helped to gain the leadership of the Klingon Empire.

Gowron does not respond to Capt. Picard's attempts to contact him. Instead, a very low level, Junior Adjutant to the Diplomatic Corp. of the Klingon government responds to Capt. Picard.

Capt. Picard does not react emotionally to this diplomatic insult and instead advises the Junior Adjutant to tell Gowron about the Federation's request.

Upon being asked what the Klingons will receive in return for the helping the Federation, Capt. Picard tells the Junior Adjutant to tell Gowron, that Gowron will have the 'gratitude' of the Federation. Capt. Picard also adds that if Gowron is unable to assist the Federation, then Capt. Picard will make the request of another Klingon government member and then that Klingon will have the 'gratitude' of the Federation. Capt. Picard concludes with a slew of platitudes praising Gowron's leadership qualities.

At the risk of a fellow Klingon rival gaining the upper hand with the Federation, Gowron arrives immediately in person to address Capt. Picard's request.

[Lesson]

This scene addresses the most fundamental communications hurdles faced by all of us when we wish to contact someone in a power position.

Unless the one in power has something to gain personally, they will most likely not respond, or if they have a shred of decency, they may forward our request to a lower level staff member, who usually responds with standard pre-formatted answers.

So, what should we do in this case?

Once we have tried going through all of the proper channels and failed to reach our targeted contact, we need to revise our strategy for communicating.

Our new approach must focus on offering our targeted contact an incentive to respond. We need to establish and highlight what benefits can be realized by our targeted contact by them responding to us. The benefits are usually in one of two forms.

A direct benefit, whereby, the targeted contact gains financially, promotionally, strategic position, egotistically or by receiving favors is generally the preferred incentive.

The indirect benefit is a more subtle, yet if implemented properly, can be a more powerful inducer.

This is where we need to set the scenario for our targeted contact such that they will stand to lose more by not responding to us. Some simple approaches are the implied threats of contacting the targeted contact's superiors, contacting their competitors, contacting their clients, contacting them via open letters in newspapers and magazines, and then, of course, there is the Internet! Public methods of contact via web sites, blog sites, social networks, and twittering have now made it very easy for us to send our messages, complimentary or defamatory, to anyone and everyone, everywhere.

If everyone were decent, then we would never have any need to resort to such lengths just to be heard. However, more often than not, people, especially those with some power, tend to be more like Gowron, and bow deep and kiss our feet when they need our help and then shun us once we are no longer of any use to them.

Just like Gowron, the more arrogant and indecent these people in power are, the more you should emulate Capt. Picard in treating them.

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