S1:E2 - Little Miss Nicey Nicey
The others have started to listen at last, thought Doran, Head of Marketing. Doran had had a devil of a job getting people to pay attention to the warnings about old products and the need to get the new version of their proprietary networking software, HRT 2, up and ready for the end of Q4. To be honest what was really needed was a re-branding... starting with a re-naming! Gene, the Canadian-born CEO and owner of The Company, had wanted the main characteristics to figure in the title (HOLISTIC REAL-TIME) and could not be persuaded that people would associate his product with women going through hot sweats and mood swings... not exactly the image portrayed in the printed advertising. Five gorgeous, trendy, early thirty-year-olds in tee-shirts and designer glasses that they didn't need, sipping lattes against the backdrop of a snazzy loft conversion in Hoxton whilst poring over images of improbable-looking growth charts on their brand new Macbooks.
No, HRT would have to go. But for now Doran just needed to get the next release out of the door - or at least persuade Gene to persuade his CTO, Charlie, to pull his finger out and sign off the manuals. 9 months of work and testing and they only had to finish the bloody manuals!
But that wasn't the real problem. For Doran it was about being nice. Too nice. She had done extremely well at The Company. She had started out as a temp in the marketing department, trojan horse style (she had a degree in Marketing from Durham for goodness sakes!) and within 4 years because of one thing and another (and many thanks to Gene not being the easiest person to get on with) she had landed the top slot about 2 months ago. That was all well and good but Doran couldn't get away from the thought that one or two people still saw her as the best person to ask to fetch them a latte. She didn't know what the rest thought - not for sure.
What was starting to help was her coaching. Peter had confirmed that not only did she come across as smiley, pleasant and easy to get on with but that when she talked about the negatives to him, she did it in the same sunny way that she had described all the upsides of her working life. Peter had helped her to realise that she would have to take a risk with the 'eternally likeable' bit and occasionally let herself show how she really felt. Always being nice just wasn't working any more and it was starting to be a lie. She had to get stuff done. Responsibilities were hers now. She couldn't hide behind a senior person - she was it and people couldn't expect her to keep up the Little Miss Nicey Nicey bit all the time, making the coffee and always caving when it came to avoiding conflict.
It was whilst she was heading for the coffee area, thinking all these empowering thoughts, that she bumped into charming but vague Charlie, CTO. He was doing the last week before Christmas here in the Reedsham office and she knew that he was working January in LA. To catch him now, face to face was a perfect nightmare... and a perfect chance to get this all sorted out in one go. Oh, god. It was now or never.
Doran: Hi Charlie - do you have a sec?
(Peter would smile to hear her say 'a sec' when she knew full well she needed about 20 minutes to make her point properly)
Charlie: Yeah, shoot
Doran: Charlie. I'm stuck. And actually I'm getting worried.
Charlie: Go on.
Doran: I have everything lined up with the campaign to support the new release - I mean everything. But the new release documents still haven't been signed off, Charlie. And only you can do that.
Charlie: No sweat Doran - relax. It's all gonna get done pretty soon.
Doran: (oh nooo, decision time, nicey nicey or the truth?!) Charlie I hate to get heavy - especially just before Christmas - but I am really not happy with what you just said about 'pretty soon'.
Charlie: Why? (looking genuinely puzzled... Doran had never pushed back like this)
Doran: Because you don't seem to be taking this seriously. Sales are going nuts. Gene is really pissed off and keeps asking me when we're going to launch. I'm taking all your flac, to be honest.
(Silence for what seemed an age, Doran noticed she had flushed and she knew she didn't look happy for once.)
Charlie: Wow, OK I'm sorry. I didn't realise it was quite such a big deal with Gene.
Doran: Charlie - it's a big deal with me.
Charlie: For sure, sorry , yes, I get it. I'll get onto it right away. I didn't mean to imply...
Doran: No worries. Can your guys manage by the 31st?
Charlie: Yeah, that's do-able. Erm, Sorry look. It just ran away from me this time. No offence.
Doran: Cool! Can I get you a coffee? (smiling again)