Name Dropping

I have a confession to make… Yesterday for the very first time I did something that I always detest when I see other people do it: I was name dropping in order to get things done.

Let me justify myself first! After many attempts at trying to collect, a client had still not paid an outstanding invoice (now passing the 90-day mark from the original due date). The company’s admin officer had promised to send us the cheque by a certain date and when we called on that promised date, she asked us to send  over the invoice again (for the 4th time!). This was stressful and unnecessary and I knew I had to step in to get the ball rolling, so only when I threatened to explain her inability to deliver on her commitments to the regional president, was the matter resolved. The cheque was then delivered within 24 hours.

I hate it when people do this and I felt very guilty that I had just done the same. I felt bad for the person whom I ‘bulldozed’. I have come to realize that sometimes we have to press down hard on people to get the job done. On the other hand, why can’t people just do their job without being threatened? How come you can get things done when you throw around big names?. What is it in our culture that we are motivated by fear and not by desire…?

Have you done this? Used names and influences to get things done? Would love to hear your stories!

– Paul Keijzer

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13 thoughts on “Name Dropping

  1. Many times because its people who make you do this to them and there is no other way out. And these people include office colleagues, suppliers and anyone you get in contact to.

  2. Well that’s a normal phenomenon in our society. I have experienced this in my own home, first by my Mother and now my wife. My mother used to threaten me saying let you father come, i shall tell him what wrong you have done and now same is the case with my wife, she used to threatens my kids the same way but now she has realized the now Kids and father both have changed 🙂

  3. I was expecting an international money transfer to my bank account, and despite having received instructions from their London office, HSBC Pakistan sat on it for four days, and when they finally did forward it their partner bank (who then had to send it to my bank), instructions were incomplete. Despite 6 phone requests, they sat further for 2 days. So I googled name of their country head, visited a branch and asked to meet country head introducing myself as his friend (knowing its not head office). Branch Manager on hearing the name, came out, offered refreshments and work was done in 10 minutes. I am not proud of it, but sometimes people ask for it.

  4. Paul, I had a speaking client in a certain eastern European country who had booked me for an event. The deposit (half my speaking fee) was paid properly, I did the gig, then I got the runaround for, get this, 18 months.

    So I took my gripe to social media. I waited until this conference organizer’s next event and tweeted, using the event hashtag asking when I would be paid for the event I spoke at. How interesting that I was contacted that day and got the money I was owed wired to me within a week.

  5. Paul, you are very to the point and true … and yes I have also done this but not very often or usually. As there are so many different types of people so are their behavior/attitude towards work etc. so sometimes we have to do this ‘name dropping’.. :). But I have observed that it all depends on many things:
    – General work environment of that Company
    – Individual’s attitude or professionalism
    – Prioritizing concept

    I believe all these things are linked up with core values of people connected with the core values of the Company. We often see big values written on Company’s bill board, ads, in office premises in very fancy presentations etc… but how often we see those core values to be practiced and followed by each and every individual from top to bottom, how often we set our job expectations and goals alignment with the human behavior with which the tasks are to be done professionally? How often we are analyzed or rated for our values to be practiced for every activity we do? How often we see these values being practiced at all levels while being appreciated for practicing them. If I talk about my self… I have commitment, respect, honest, accountability etc (to name a few) as my core values … in my personal and professional lives both… but how often am I appreciated and analyzed for practicing those. I believe, the companies who practice their values and try to inculcate the same in their teams while devising policies, work practices and reward systems aligned with these values at all levels… people start aligning their attitude and professionalism the same way… and yes, there comes the constant mentoring and coaching required from the top / leadership to nurture the same through the years that finally forms a culture and Company’s image through each employee the company hires.. (but no doubt some special or weird cases we may find everywhere.. who need ‘Name Dropping’.. 🙂 )

    • Think you are absolutely right Samya. It is about living and working from that place insides you that drives you and makes you tick. You have clarity on your personal values and you try to live them, however how many people can sincerely say the same. In interview I often ask what are your values and I can spot the difference between people that have thought about it and live them and those who just come up with a generic list. Having that personal awareness is key

  6. Man, when it comes to getting paid for services, you do what you think is necessary. Took me 6 months to collect on one specific project, and as guilty as you might feel for “name dropping”, it should pale in comparison to the guilt the client should feel for stiffing you on a bill.

  7. Indeed its a scenario where you have to take some sort of an action. However, relating to this very scenario I had an experience which contrasts with the situation mentioned above. My personal experience revealed another fact that the person in contact with the contractor/consultant for processing of payments is usually a ‘coordinator’ (Not by title but by role) and the person who is supposed to process the payment belongs to the Finance dept and is generally at a higher level or has more authority. What disturbs me is the fact that when we drop names, the person who is acting as a coordinator gets to face the music while the actual culprit i.e. the Finance person saves himself since he was not known to us so we dont end up taking his name.

    Sometimes we judge the situation on the face value, However, if we look at possibilities other than what we assume to be true we might be able to give benefit of doubt to the ones who are taken badly by such scenarios just cause they are having a bad day or maybe sheer bad luck.

  8. Paul, you did the right thing. you were not pressurizing the person through an out side influence, but the regional head of the same company, and that worked. Though it is not the best practice, but is happening at most of the places.
    To get you task accomplished with in required time, and to make the other party realised that s/he is nor acting professionally, this is the only way forward left( barring bribe…) to get your job done.
    Don’t feel guilty…

  9. Sometime people use others name to get things done. But at times it backfires and would not make any difference.

  10. Mr. Paul, unfortunately this is how things get going. Majority of people work for fear of being punished or terminated (unless they are well connected above). Very few will take pride in doing the job.

  11. I believe this has become a normal trend when you try to have blind faith on your Clients and they after few transaction bully you by using lame delaying tactics. Which than arouses you to use any ways or means to get the money out.
    I , feel in today’s world globally there many good companies who are really appreciable even in under developed countries who are good & prompt payers.
    I have experienced this in Pakistan myself.
    But there are few nasty customers one you mentioned.
    Regards,
    Yousaf Noor
    Head Industrial Sales
    Shortening & Frying Oil

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