High Stakes Personnel Move By CEO


Even my best CEO clients forget that ten minutes prep for a phone call is just as important as prep for a meeting when there are high stakes. There is an art to concise prep.


This week, one of my long-standing clients sent me reading material in anticipation of a phone call about an imminent high stakes personnel move…two hours before the phone call. An earliler appointment cancelled, giving me a bit less than an hour to read the materials and prepare. All I needed was 20 minutes to ask myself what this was really about, write down a list of criteria for good and bad outcomes, organizational choices beside giving the person broad and sole line authority, a list of constituents affected by the choice and some ideas about key messages.


The client presented his view, then asked for my thoughts. I asked him to do in real time what I had done in prep. The conversation was at high speed and got to a good place in short order. When he decided we were done (before the alotted time was up), he said: “You are either incredibly quick or you came to the call fully prepared. I am focused on results but there is a way to get them with far less collateral damage.”

I told him how I had prepared and for how long. He took it as a reminder for himself. Just because it is a phone call does not mean it is any less important than an actual meeting.

That’s just my experience. What’s yours?


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What Made jack welch JACK WELCH

How Ordinary People Become
Extraordinary Leaders

by Stephen H. Baum (Random House)

Most leaders of American companies started out as ordinary people. What prepared them for the top job?

Countless more ordinary people of equal talent never developed the leadership core required to run the show. Why not?

"Lessons for life about the core leadership traits of character, risk taking decisiveness and the ability to engage and inspire followers."
--Jim Clifton, CEO, The Gallup Organization


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