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The Disengaged Executive

I once had the pleasure to coach a High Potential (HIPO) senior executive, who was being groomed as her corporation's next CEO.
On the surface, the executive seemed like the typical corporate hard charging mover-and-shaker, well educated, vast experience in the HR field, and excited over the proposition of being the next CEO.
She was a fast-tracker who had moved up the ranks quickly.
Several times a week, she would "walk-and-talk" the halls, as she called it, greeting as many employees as possible while they worked.
This practice is happily being used by more and more executives today.
As Paul Harvey says, "Now for the rest of the story.
" In a preparatory move, the board of directors requested that a 360 degree assessment be completed on the executive so they had the warm and fuzzies about moving her to the corner office.
What they received back was a 180 degree picture of the executive they knew.
Subordinates and peers described the executive as cold, uncaring, shallow, having a lack of overall knowledge of the organization, and self-centered.
At first, when I explained this to the BOD, they thought I had mixed my reports with other executives in the organization I was assessing.
When I eventually began my post-assessment coaching, I was actually taken aback by the response I received from the executive.
After hearing of the comments from her subordinates and peers, she said she agreed 100%.
She explained that she did walk the halls almost everyday, only because it was an organizational requirement and that she really did not care how the employees felt.
It was of no concern of her's.
I then knew what the first area of coaching would touch up, which was backed by the BOD agreement; getting in touch with the organization's pulse.
That being, the employees who made the corporation a Fortune 250 listing.
After touching upon the impact her feelings for the employee's lives and emotions affected the entire organization, she had one of those "aha" moments.
Due to being moved up quickly in the organization, being known as a trouble shooter, and remaining mainly in the HR field, she lacked knowledge of how the organization actually operated.
She eventually became very excited about changing her ways, getting to know the employees, and how the total organization operated.
I share this story with you as a common theme seen too much today in corporate America.
With so many baby boomers retiring, corporations are forced to move up HIPOs quickly to fill the gaps.
Due to the retirements, corporate America is experiencing a hole in the experience level of qualified executives.
Eventually, as the new wave takes over with the force of a tsunami, it is only in the aftermath that deficiencies are found.
This type of coaching scenario is common today.
Those readers who are corporate coaches will run into this sooner or later.
How will you coach it?

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