He was sitting in for his boss at the executive’s staff meeting. He followed her leadership blog so he had a sense of what’s in her head. She had just written about how to make the most of a temporary seat at the table. He followed her formula. Good start. There was one vital topic her team was debating. The issue was complex, so they decided to do some more work and revisit the following week. He listened intently, but didn’t say much. On Sunday he emailed her (and the team) a carefully thought-out proposal, neatly articulated in Powerpoint.
Strategic, subtle, ambitious.
She arranged for follow-up call to discuss further. Another seat at the table. Before the meeting he stakeholdered the model with her right hand expert whom she had invited to the meeting as well. This guy was impressed and validated his strategy and thinking. Her right hand then invited him to partner on all future meetings on the topic. Yup, more seats at more tables. She asked questions about the model, but also about him.
Executive: What other aspects of the business are you most interested in learning (this was substantially outside of his normal responsibilities)…
Impressive Guy: “All. I want to learn as much as I can.” And then some examples along with how his experience would add value in those arenas (think elevator speech in action).
Executive: Hmm…the next step would be negotiations with a lot of key players. How do you do when you buy a car
Impressive Guy: Actually, I do quite well. You see, I owned my own business before I came to this corporation. I had to negotiate contracts and other tough situations all the time… confidence, well timed.
I’m impressed. I asked for permission to share his story which has only just begun.
What impresses you as a leader?