‘Sally, good morning,’ I grumbled, as she arrived in the office on Monday morning, a laughably expensive coffee in some form of small plastic bucket in her hands. ‘Where is Harry Aske today?’
I suppose we had all got used to the charismatic headhunter being around while we recruited a new CEO for Global Blancmange. ‘Off to hunt more heads,’ said Sally, rather glumly, I thought. ‘Anyhoo, off to my first Exec Team meeting with the new CEO. See you later, Bingleby.’
Time passed like a joke forever denied a punchline. I pulled a succession of faces at the snarky Caladium in the FD’s office opposite. It made a succession of obscene gestures back.
Finally the door burst open and Sally came back in again, followed by gangly, bespectacled Mark Temple, the new CEO. ‘Holy Moly, a pot of shrimps could lead people better than that lot.’
Sally sighed. ‘I couldn’t agree more.’
Mark Temple stopped. ‘Well, isn’t it HR’s responsibility, and yours in particular, to address that?’
There was a short silence which I suspected Mark temple took as shock or bafflement on Sally’s part but which, given all her work on that point, was in fact resentment.
‘I expect you to lead on people strategies, Sally. We need you to improve us. And as quickly as possible.’
He closed the door firmly behind him.
‘Oh,’ said Sally, deflated, flumping into her chair like a balloon abruptly deprived of air.
‘Do not be downhearted,’ I declared. ‘He is merely moving, as he must, from the faintly vulnerable position of the recruitee to the leadership position of the CEO. In any case,’ I added, ‘He gave you the responsibility. He has expectations of you on a crucial business point. He never said he didn’t think you could do it.’
‘But he implied I hadn’t,’ wailed Sally. ‘When in truth I almost got sacked over the leadership stuff I was driving!’
‘But he will not know of that, unless you inform him. One thing, though…’
‘Explain briefly about what you attempted to do, just so he knows. But cast it all in the light of what you are going to do now. Remember, new CEOs are almost allergic to history; they have no interest in what came before them at all.’
New CEOs are almost allergic to history
Sally Gulliver nodded. ‘We brought in a new broom on purpose…’
‘… so help him to sweep in all the right places. And make sure he understands that you are sweeping too.’ Next Friday: Leadership As Strong As Chilli Peppers
Bingleby was confiding in Richard Goff
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