If you think panache [puh-nash, -nahsh noun; verve, style, dash] has gone the way of Cary Grants pomaded hair, let me give you some eyewitness accounts to its durability:
I recently met for coffee with a branding expert prior to a meeting we would attend together. As we headed downtown in a taxicab, her cell phone rang. She answered it, made some small talk and then said to the caller, I am traveling with a companion and I dont want to bore her with my one-sided conversation. May I call you later? Polite behavior raised to the level of panache.
Another example: A director at a securities firm took the time to call and let me know the status of a seminar proposal I had sent him earlier. A two minute phone call that eliminated phone tag and told me how he manages his people, his sense of humanity and his sure sense of dash.
I left a clients office and this senior executive at a nationally-ranked insurance company chose to walk me to the elevator, engaging in some warm and charming chitchat along the way. I left her office feeling uplifted by that short stroll (and her verve).
Nearly everyday I see glimpses of style and when I spot it, I savor the moment because its rare. And thats a shame. All the examples I mentioned took very little time but it was time well-spent in the art of building relationships with the people we work with.
Its easy to fall into the trap of doing less rather than more and I have never been a big fan of easy. Because you cannot get to the top of Mt. Everest by taking a short-cut. For high-performing clients, the game plan is to create the footholds of optimism, trustworthiness, honesty and integrity that provide support for future advancement. The extra dollop of dash and style just underscores everything.
Theres no question people get to the top without panache. But the ones that scale Everest wooing us, treating us with respect and consciously building the collaborative relationships have the competitive advantage and are in line for the big payoffs. With or without pomade.