Within the first month of his employment, the new IT guy called a meeting with myself and a few of the executives to talk about why everything we were doing online was wrong and how he was the only one who knew what to do and how to fix it. (that may be a somewhat biased recollection of events) Needless to say, Nick and I did not start off on the right foot.
From there, we debated nearly every point, and – admittedly – I sometimes took an opposing viewpoint simply because I refused to agree with him.
Fast forward four or five years and Nick’s awkward, insulting way of saying things has actually grown on me. I’d say the turning point was when the marketing crew put his face on my birthday cake.
Don’t get me wrong – he is still totally offensive. Take, for instance, last week. He popped by my office and said, “Congrats on your new relationship. I can tell things are going well.” I asked him what he was talking about and he said “Well you’ve been gaining weight, and that’s what people do when they’re in a new relationship. Everyone does it – they just let themselves go a little bit.”… Yes, my IT guy just called me fat – but he meant it in the nicest way.
To be fair, I don’t get to work on the treadmill desk he saunters on all day. Nick clarified his statement by saying, “I was trying to say, among other signs, it seemed like you were happier in life and that makes me happy since you’re a friend”.
Aside from all of his idiosyncrasies, Nick is the most genuine guy and puts himself fully into whatever project he’s working on (enter: online gummy bear distribution, gourmet ice cream, driving to Arizona for pizza – from Missouri, and a long list of shenanigans – most of which I’ve been sworn to secrecy and can’t share).
The key to working with Nick is to recognize his strengths and use them to my advantage (that can really apply to learning to work with anyone). He’s the data guy – he soaks up information and finds a hundred ways to look at something. He’s always the pessimist – so the data he gives is always on the conservative side, which lends itself well to the “under-promise, over-deliver motto”.
He’s also the loudest, most passionate (long-winded) in the board room. So, if I can get him to buy-in to the latest marketing request, then it’s pretty much going to happen.
Knowing how to motivate your IT team is an important tool in moving your marketing tasks up the project list. As much as it pains me to say it, I love working with Nick!