For most of the year, I have been telling everyone I meet about the hit musical “Hamilton”. I've also been playing the soundtrack for anyone who rides in my car.
There is a great song on the soundtrack called “The Room Where it Happens”. Aaron Burr's character (played by Leslie Odom Jr.) realizes that he is missing out in being part of many key decisions that are shaping the new United States simply by not being “in the room” where the decisions are made. As I have listened to this song over and over and over again, it has become my business and professional mantra.
Many of us share our opinions with our co-workers, and sometimes our managers or bosses. We have ideas of what our company should do, but are often shocked when the seemingly obvious or majority opinion is not chosen. It's that moment when we think, “Why would they do that?” or “That'll never work because...” The unfortunate truth and my realization was that while many of us share our opinion with the powers that be, we are not in the room or at the table when the decision is being made. This applies to decisions made by the government, in businesses, community agencies and schools.
So, what can you do? What did I do? Get involved, network, and be a part of leadership. For me, I accepted a voluntary board position for a local non-profit organization I support. I reached out to my local school district to volunteer my skills, support, and time to help further and grow one of their initiatives concerning student achievement.
I have networked with and met many great people in different fields and with a variety of backgrounds. I connected these people to resources and other people who could help their causes. I also was able to gain access to private events, discussions and locations as a guest of a new connection.
From doing this, I have gained access to data and information that many supporters and the public are not privy to. I know about campaigns that will be announced in upcoming months. I understand why an organization is fund raising and the sometimes dire consequences that might occur if the funds are not raised.
I am not writing this to brag, but to motivate you and teach you about access. Sometimes the room is not an actual boardroom, but an off-site meeting, a private club, fitness center or activity. Whatever the “room” is for you, find out how you can get into that circle of influence, and work toward it.
By the end of the “Hamilton” song, the Aaron Burr character is exclaiming that he's “got to be...in the room where it happens.” The next song begins with news of him winning a Senate seat.
In closing, I constantly look for opportunities to get into various “rooms” to be part of the solution for causes and businesses I care for.
What do you stand for and more importantly, what will you do?