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Chapter 17. Cultivating the Gatekeeper > Gatekeeper Relations: Dream or Nightma...

Gatekeeper Relations: Dream or Nightmare?

There are many ways to treat the administrative professional who serves as the gatekeeper to the decision-maker you need to reach. How you come across to that gatekeeper can often make—or break—your chances of getting through and doing business with that organization, as you will see in the following extreme, though entirely conceivable, scenario.

A vice president with a well-funded charitable organization, Deidre was a high-profile executive who was on a first-name basis with every CEO and major donor in town. Because her position gave her direct access to decision-makers, Deidre never thought it necessary to cultivate gatekeepers. On the contrary, she had no respect for administrative assistants and was blind to the power they often wield. One day, while awaiting an appointment with the CEO who served as her organization’s board chairman, Deidre made the career-altering mistake of rudely dismissing the CEO’s assistant. Within hours, Deidre’s boss received a phone call from the CEO, complaining about the treatment his assistant of 25 years had received, and permanently banning Deidre from his offices. Shortly thereafter, Deidre was terminated from her position.


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