Sabina: Your Experience Deserves Her Experience

You're doing it all wrong

Anders was a successful and much sought after CEO. The high-tech firm considered it quite a coup when he finally accepted their offer. However, by the second week on the job, Anders had alienated much of the C-suite and lost precious goodwill at the company.

He openly criticized a litany of things the company held dear. From the organization’s strategic direction to its technical implementation process right down to how the offices were furnished. Nothing was sacred.

Many of his criticisms were on the mark, but his delivery, timing, and intentions needed work. The bottom line:

Anders was able to successfully transcend organizational cultures. He learned skills that allowed him to tell the truth while still preserving relationships. He became the kind of leader he wanted to be and the company needed him to be. Instead of berating and criticizing, Anders inspired others to make the changes most critical to the company’s long-term success.

Collateral damage

It’s no wonder David became a Vice President at a major telecommunications company. He was focused, driven, and strongly goal-oriented. Upper management knew they could completely rely on David to deliver high quality results on time every time. The people who worked for him loved his decisiveness and his investment in their careers.

By the time I was asked to coach David, his manager was receiving at least one complaint a day from his peers. As a member of the C-suite, his manager quickly grew tired of spending time on "damage control".

The problems began, as they often do, at the point of a transition. As the next big step in his career, David was placed in charge of a large project that required something new – collaborating across multiple teams with multiple functional disciplines. The bottom line:

After six months, David moved to a new division. He applied the lessons learned and the new skills he’d practiced to his daily interactions. People now describe David as empathetic. He’s seen as someone who listens objectively and considers various viewpoints before making decisions. Significantly, he’s also still seen as someone who sets a high bar and gets things done on time.

Now you see me, now you don't

Mia is a dynamic, go-getter who’s great at whatever she sets her mind to. She rose quickly through the ranks to become General Manager of the Chinese subsidiary. Not only did she deliver great results, but people loved working with her. She was a popular and effective representative of the organization both internally and externally.

But whenever Mia came to the headquarters in the U.S., the senior leaders couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. During succession planning discussions they hardly ever heard from her. When Mia did speak up, senior leaders were still left without a strong sense of her unique contributions. The bottom line:

Mia focused on how to translate her working style across cultures while remaining true to her beliefs and identity. Eighteen months later, Mia was hired into a job at the U.S. headquarters. Now she contributes comfortably in meetings and her ideas are appropriately adopted and attributed.
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