So today I thought you would like a story, a parable so to speak, that will clarify the differences between an Engaged Leader and a Disengaged Leader. This is Part 3 of a 4 part story so it will help you to read Part 1 and Part 2 first.
The Moment of Honesty For an Engaged Leader
The Princess, being perfectly honest with herself regarding the state of Charming, was very clear. Charming Ltd. had a few major flaws. These issues did not seem to be apparent at Duke Enterprises.Duke’s top employees when they applied. She had first hand intelligence on the operational dysfunctions within both companies. She saw opportunities and took calculated risks as a result.
Hence, the Princess made it a point to hire executives from the competition. Her perspective was that she can learn from these employees!
Her first priority was to find solutions to the issues in her own company. Creating the opportunity to have lunch with her top directors and Tom was the first step. The Princess prepared for the meeting, having her staff gather the reports and graphs that she felt would seal the job offer she was planning on making to Tom.
At 10 am Tom walked into the Charming corporate offices to meet with Mary and Jane. The interview went off without a hitch. Tom was thinking to himself during a short break, “The atmosphere and culture here are very different from Duke.”
What Tom noticed was:
- The team atmosphere is apparent. Everyone belongs to a variety of teams.
- Everyone spoke respectfully. There is no yelling!
- Things are calm, decidedly different from the chaos at Duke.
- There is value in giving input.
- Collaboration is apparent at every turn.
Tom started getting excited as a result of the morning discussions. He was starting to see the possibilities as the interview process restarted. This could be his new job.
Mary, the HR Director, walked in and sat down next to Jane, the Director of Sales. They gave Tom a list of issues and asked Tom how he would come up with a solution for each one. After 45 minutes of discussion around the sample issues on the form, Jane caught Mary’s eye and gave her a knowing look.
Lunch with an Engaged Leader
Jane and Mary escorted Tom into the offices of the Princess. The conference table was transformed onto a dining table and laid out with a fabulous lunch.
Tom was introduced to the Princess, “It’s to very nice to meet you Tom. I have heard so much about you, as I have followed your career at Duke with interest.”
“I’m flattered” Tom responded a little embarrassed. “Then I am sure you know I had a falling out with the Duke and I am looking for a new position.”
“Indeed, I have heard rumors to that effect. I wanted you to join us for an informal lunch and a little business chat. Would you accept my invitation for you to have lunch with us?”
“I would be happy to.” Tom said with a smile.
They all sat and started eating as they discussed Tom’s responses to the issue questionnaire.
“Tom, how do you see yourself making a difference at Charming Ltd.?” Mary inquired.
Things are Rarely as They Seem
Taken a little off guard, Tom said “I expected this question, however the response I prepared is not valid. It does not fit your culture or the collaboration I witnessed during the time I have spent here. So, I am going to change direction here and be candid, if I may?” Tom continued, “My research from the time I was with Duke, showed certain holes in both your marketing and sales channels, no offence Jane. Now that I have walked inside these doors, I believe the issue my research uncovered is not the whole story. I am now thinking it is a symptom rather than a cause.”
“Interesting perspective” the Princess concluded. “Go on, tell me more”.
The Heart of the Problem
Tom felt completely out of his element here. He could never have a discussion like this with the Duke, even after the 20 years he was with him. He was never a trusted adviser!
This is really difficult, but Tom’s commitment is to put his best foot forward while trusting that he is going to win over this tightly knit team. A team, he just now realized he wanted to be a part of in the worst way!
Tom continued, “With all due respect, ladies, while everyone is fully functioning within their respective tasks, I am wondering if two specific things are happening? First off is each of you being challenged to hit core objectives and are you stretching as a team as well as individuals? Secondly, are each of you challenging the teams and individuals you lead?”
“Interesting” the Princess stated questioningly. She thought to herself, “Tom, was able to surmise quickly what I have been looking at for months now.” She has felt for a while now that Duke Enterprises has nailed this part of the business. She has been struggling with how she was going to solve these problems at Charming.
“Tom, I am interested in seeing if you can solve these very problems for us. I have conferred with my team before your arrival today. I am now prepared, if you accept, to have you installed as the VP of sales and marketing here at Charming. You will be responsible for driving the marketing arm as well as the sales teams. Jane will be your co-chair for the sales team. You will be given the latitude to build your own marketing team.
My conclusion is that I see you as an engaged leader, as you have demonstrated throughout your career. The contract is in this Hire Package. I will give you the next couple of days to think it over.” The princess beamed.
“Thank you” Tom said as he stood to shake everyone’s hand. “I will get back to you shortly, I appreciate the confidence and the offer.” They all said their good byes as Tom Left the offices with his hire package.
The Princess sighed, her next focus was about how to save Duke Enterprises from the Duke now that she was sure she had hired the employee that kept his company alive. Her conclusion is that time is of the essence!
Tune in next week to see how the disengaged leader becomes an engaged leader!