“But, my team never comes up with any constructive ideas to solve the problem,” Edward explained. “I ask them to think about the problem at hand and they just sit there, waiting.”
“How long has this been going on?” I asked.
“Not long after I arrived at this company. As the incoming CEO, I was briefed about this executive team. I was told they were bright, action oriented, made solid decisions. But, that’s not what I see. I wouldn’t call them dolts, they would never have gotten this far, but day to day, I feel like the quarterback who has to constantly scramble.”
“How have you contributed to the problem, meaning, how have you contributed to the team’s lack of constructive solutions to problems?”
“Now, don’t think you are going to pin this on me. I didn’t hire these people, they were here when I arrived. I am the same person I have always been,” Edward was firm.
“I want to take your description at face value, that at some point this executive team was bright, action oriented and made solid decisions. If they were once that way, what changed?”
“You are still looking squarely at me,” Edward replied.
“You’re the only one in the room,” I waited. “Think back to your early interactions with this team, tell me what happened in the first couple of meetings.”
“Well, the first couple of meetings, I was just sizing them up, seeing who was strong, who was weak, and where we could make improvements. I call it diagnostic work.”
“And, what was your diagnosis?”
“There must have been a reason I was hired in to take over from the outgoing CEO. This team was okay, but needed some firmer guidance and direction.”
“And, if you see those first few meeting as a training session, led by you, what were you training them to do?” I wanted to know.
“They needed to look more clearly at their mistakes and listen to me, to help guide them to make better decisions.”
“And, isn’t that what you have now trained them to do?”