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Working with Powerful People

  • Mike Kaeding

Mike Kaeding

2 min read
Working with Powerful People

It can be really hard to work with people who have so much power over you.

We have been working on the design for a new apartment building for months.

It will be the single best building we have ever developed with a two-story front entry, an internet café, a sky lounge, a large fitness center, a pool, a modern game room, and incredible smart apartment technologies.

It will also have a new office for our staff!

I’m very excited about this project.

We have put a lot of energy into every detail.

But we don’t have final say if we can build this building. Instead we have to go to the planning commission and city council. They will review our work and determine if they want to approve us to build in their city.

This is terrifying.

Planning Commission

Last week, we had our scheduled planning commission meeting. We arrived at the city hall and the parking lot was completely full. Usually this is a bad sign. When lots of people show up to a public forum that usually means they don’t want a project to be built.

My heart was racing as we entered the impressive city council chambers.

We were last on the agenda. And luckily most of the people where there to discuss a different project. When it got to our project, late at night, most everyone had left. Luckily our project was unanimously approved!

But it hasn’t always gone well. In fact, in one city I got unanimous disapproval from a planning commission. It got resolved, but those were some of the most painful meetings of my life.

Working with Powerful People

I’ve learned to be respectful with everyone including very powerful people. When I was younger, I didn’t like that government could dictate so much of what we could and could not do. I fought it more than I should have. That put me in some difficult positions like getting unanimously disapproved.

I’ve learned that there are appropriate times to push back on powerful people. Especially when they are doing unethical things. But I’ve also learned that most powerful people want to do the right thing. It’s better to build those relationships and work together to solve issues than to fight one another. I wish I would have known this when I was younger. It could have spared me from a lot of painful events.

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