Attention Please

This past week I continued my work on the case that I had been assigned to the previous week. While I continued to use the confidential databases that the NYPD maintains, the majority of my time spent was working on the several presentations that were given throughout the week and will continued to be given in the upcoming weeks. The main attorney who I have worked with on this project explained to me that each presentation she makes is tailored to the needs and or interests of that particular stakeholder. The only presentation I attended last week was the one given to a higher-up from the intelligence department of the NYPD. The attorney who I work with in a rather tongue-in-cheek fashion told me to prepare for interruptions as she has given presentations to this man before and this was “his MO”. Once the presentation began I quickly realized she was not kidding; within the first ten minutes the man from intel had interrupted several times with questions and was constantly looking at his phone while the attorney from Police Action Litigation continued presenting. While I had not spoken once, I could not help but get frustrated by a clear display of disrespect and lack of appreciation for the hard work that was put into the presentation. About halfway through the individual from intel received a phone call and informed all of us in the conference room he needed to step out and take it. The time he spent in the hallway on the phone afforded the attorney presenting to ask the fellow attorney in the conference room about how it was going thus far. Instead of speaking of the disrespectful behavior, the two attorneys gameplanned how they would shorten the already abbreviated presentation to accommodate the attention span of the individual they were presenting for. This decision proved to be quite effective as once the slideshow ended the man from intel continued a conversation for another half hour bouncing ideas off of all us in the room on how to potentially move forward with the case. By the end it was clear that his interest had been piqued.

This presentation demonstrated how important it is for leaders to maintain their composure and the importance of being able to adapt and change on the fly. The presentation was well executed, yet the attorneys still determined that this style was not the best way to accomplish their goal of having this particular stakeholder to become invested in this project. As a result of reading the situation and adapting the attorneys were able to effectively capture the intelligence department’s attention and interest in the success of the project. This also demonstrated how when working within such a large organization with many different moving pieces it becomes imperative to understand that there is no one single way to operate, but rather each situation must be individually analyzed and catered to in order to successfully achieve your goal. The attorneys from PAL could have stuck with their presentation throughout and justifiably expressed their frustrations that it did not yield the results they hoped due to the individual from intel’s lack of attention. Instead, they realized change was necessary and made the changes necessary to fix a problem that arose through no fault of their own. This was a great display of problem-solving and I am glad I was able to witness it.