Good morning SOTGC readers. This is our second post in the saga “The Hunger Games of Business.” For the purpose of this post, let’s think of the “girl with the gong” as holding a similar role to a gamemaker in the Hunger Games.
This past weekend I was working at a spine fellowship education conference. This is a program that brings spine surgeons from around the country who are doing their fellowship year (and first year attending spine surgeons) together for a weekend of case presentations and discussions. The fellows from last year had turned in case presentations they had done with their attendings, and six of them were picked to present and explain the choices they made. The first night we got there, I looked around the room as we all sat down to watch the presentations and saw about 40 spine fellows, and several very renowned and respected faculty members from teaching institutions around the country.
As I looked around and absorbed the amount of intelligence, dedication, and talent that I was surrounded by, I noticed something that was proven over and over throughout the course of the weekend, and was pretty amusing. Amid all these surgeons in various degrees of training, the person who wielded the power all weekend was a petite Asian girl, with a xylophone (in the title I used “gong” because that sounds better…and started with a “G.”)
This young lady kicked off the entire weekend by welcoming the fellows, thanking the industry sponsors, and then informing us all that the whole conference was on very strict time constraints and during the presentations they would get 2 minute/1 minute notifications and if they went over their time they would be interrupted. A couple of the first year attending surgeons committed this heinous crime and were rewarded with an abrupt “TIME!!!!!” yelled into a microphone, which caused a startled expression, and some of them even stopped mid sentence at this juncture. I made a mental note to add this to my repertoire of “objection handling techniques.” (OK…so I’m NOT really going to yell “TIME” at a surgeon if he’s naysaying my product…but how funny would that scene be in a TV show…?)
During the breakout sessions the next day and a half, the surgeons were broken down into groups and rotated in 10-minute increments through each vendors’ booth to learn about their products. This same petite lady would move the surgeons from booth to booth with the melodic sounding xylophone (gong). Which to be honest, at first I didn’t even notice and at one point looked at our Vice President who was with us and asked “has she been doing that this whole time?” He looked at me like I was nuts and said “Yeah! ALL morning!” The funny thing is that I only became aware of the “gong” when the group I was currently speaking with heard it, started to get what looked like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and quickly thanked me and shuffled off.
I was sitting at breakfast with some of the spine fellows the last morning and heard one say “Yeah, she’s only a year out of college. She does a pretty good job bossing us around for being so young.” And then the fellow he was talking to said “YOU should have seen the girl last year! She made me feel BAD about myself at one point!” I asked what they were talking about and was told that the girl with the “gong” was apparently NOT to be messed with.
This got me thinking about the work environment in general. If I take a look at the successful people in business that I’ve met, every single one of them has a “girl with the gong.” Either in the form of their personal assistant, a co-worker, or even a mentor. This “girl with the gong” plays a crucial role in keeping this person to schedule and when they find that someone or something is holding them up, they step in and move the pace along. It also has me taking a look at my career and seeing if I can identify who, in my life, plays the role of “the girl with the gong…”