Company X is struggling with the technological change and fast pace of consumers for years now. A typical old-style company, hiring one change-manager after another to reshape the company.
The CEO is an old man, strong personality, who tries to adapt to the new times, but really is not willing to give up on his 20 year success story in leadership. But the executive board sees that there is no other solution and starts the search for a new candidate.
They ask me to review the final three candidates with them. Two days before the interviews, I just visit the company and speak with about 15 people inside the company. From the receptionist to the board, and from the cleaning lady to the marketing department. Just asking them about the past years and their needs.
I see and hear that people are tired of all the changes. One reorganisation after another has passed and that took its toll on people. Change can be for the good, but changing all the time makes the workers feel without common ground.
With this I enter the interviews with the final candidates. I see the resumes in the pre-talk with HR, and she selected two male and one female candidate. The men have great stories, incredible resumes and did their homework. Even better than before, they see how this company can move towards the future by changing crucial elements. And then Juliet enters for the final interview of the day.
She is a calm and obviously intelligent lady. With an open mind she answered all our questions, but never with judgement. There is no urge to show how good she is, and after we are done, she get’s her notepad and asks us a bunch of questions. Really interested in the human-side of things and asking about experiences instead of results.
It is easy to guess that I recommended Juliet as the new company CEO. HR concurred and hired her. It gave the people of company X a breath of fresh air. They can recover from all the change and just get their game in place for the upcoming journey.
Is Juliet the right lady if the company hits a new crisis? Probably not, but that is exactly why leadership is not about staying in one place. You should continuously find the right people to match the collective fase.
We don’t always need leaders. We only need leaders for growth, change of when the collective is in crisis. Have you read this article about the research with the dental example
? Then you will understand why.