starting at the top

Starting at the Top

by | Jun 28, 2011 | 0 comments

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Does starting at the top make sense to you?

A few years ago, I hired a person to help me market our graduate program. We needed to get the program in front of people in the military since it is online and develops leadership resulting in a master’s in engineering. But getting inside the military complex and finding out who to talk to is tough.

So I get help from Bob.

A few weeks later, Bob called me with a contact inside the Department of Defense. I set up a time to call her. Once on the phone, she started to explain how higher education and the Department of Defense worked together. I looked up the program she was referring to on their website and found her name and photo as the lead director of the program. I was talking to a high ranking DoD member.

Starting at the top?

I called Bob to find out how he had gotten to the right person so quickly. I knew that Bob has no connections to the military. I also knew that many of my connected friends (officers in the military) had not been able to get me to the right person.

Bob told me he had just called the White House. What? He explained that he always started at the top. He said he called the White House and explained what he needed. The lady at the White House referred him directly to the lady in charge – who I had just spoken to.

What stood out about starting at the top?

Results. Starting at the top can quickly identify the right people at the right level. In other cases, this would have taken days, weeks, and maybe even months to get to the right people.


A Side Benefit of Starting at the Top

Since working with Bob, I have started at the top on several occasions. It always works and saves time. But there is a second benefit. You work your way down – which means the boss refers you. So when I called the DoD, I was told the White House referred me. The lady I was talking to had no idea my connection to the White House – and was not about to ask 😉


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Dale Callahan

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