Boss Ready: CEO as Trainer


A client has evolved in communications over a few years from a fountain of words at each opportunity to “speaking in packets,” then gauging the listeners; evolved from mostly a “do-er” to much more of a leader, heads in with fingers out. In the process, his team has stopped watching which way the wind blows, looking for him to go first with solutions and become more accountable for their own diagnoses and solutions.

That said, two of his direct reports cannot seem to focus on and communicate concisely what the boss needs to hear. So, in a recent coaching session, I asked how the client starts conversations with these people and how the back and forth goes. He described his patient but painful direction from initial details to “neon signs:” big picture, major points of what needs to be done and with or to whom.


I suggested an experiment: ask the direct report what the boss needs to know about a particular project and, before the other person can respond, hand them a marker and ask them to step to the whiteboard.

The result should be a quicker focus on what really matters and far fewer words than either oral response or a power-point makes possible. It is not easy to write a paragraph on the whiteboard.

CONFIRMATION (from Brendan Browne, LinkedIn vice president of global talent acquisition)

A few days after the conversation with my client, an article appeared in Business Insider describing how the chief recruiter for LinkedIn uses the same idea to with candidates to explore whatever they are passionate about. The finding is that it tests the quality of thinking about something important to the candidate but also the ability to improvise, think in real time, communicate clearly and concisely, and understand the process central to their passion whether it is learning to cook or making music or being good at a sport.

It is an effective tactic.

And it is worth reading the full notes about “Five Lessons:”

A Practical Tactic

That’s just my view. What’s yours?




Tags: , , , ,

Comments are closed.

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


Buy Now
Barnes & Noble

Latest from twitter...

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner