Jane recently joined a company as CEO knowing it needed to evolve and the importance of committing to a strategy. Her inherited executive team, however, interpreted her steadfastness as inflexible and invalidating. This difference was being noticed by the Board and employees alike.
Jane sought out coaching to help her engage and align with others in her strategic vision.
Coaching started by encouraging Jane to empathize with the experience of her executive team. Through inquiry and observation, Jane began to appreciate how her intentions to save the company from the chaos of an ever-changing strategy were not matching her impact on the team that was now feeling diminished and annoyed. She and her coach explored ways to keep the organization focused while also involving and enrolling her colleagues where appropriate. Jane learned to clarify when the organization was in “brainstorming mode” and when decisions were finalized and the company was in “execution mode.” This clarity helped her executive team understand when it was helpful to provide input and debate, and when it was necessary to commit to implementation.
In follow-up discussions, the executive team reported feeling more included in the strategic debate, and also appreciated the clarity of knowing when the debate was over and it was time to commit. Because the executive team gained alignment, the broader employee-base gained clarity and confidence in the organization’s approach, which allowed the Board to back away from the day-to-day and operate at a higher-level. All the while, Jane gained versatility in her leadership style that will help her face the challenges of the future.