We All Do It: Looking at Our Own Biases

By | Executive Coaching, Leadership, Management | One Comment

I was one of four department heads working at a publishing company, reporting to the EVP of advertising, when our company was acquired by a large global publishing firm, based in the U.K., that was looking to establish its footprint in the U.S. The financial markets considered it a smart acquisition, as the companies held titles with similar audience bases and no overlap, but there was speculation that the global company had overpaid.  As soon as the acquisition was complete it seemed like our new owners flipped a switch:  we were constantly doing research on launching titles in the U.S. that were successful elsewhere and there were persistent rumors about layoffs and downsizing.  Expenses that we always took for granted were…

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The Ignorant Mother of Dragons: Hiring, Firing and Building a Staff – Part 2 of Many

By | Executive Coaching, Leadership, Management | 2 Comments

It was still early in my tenure as a CEO when I learned that this job was going to be about a lot more than developing a smart, compelling strategy that reflected the changing dynamics of our marketplace and executing same with the high quality performance for which our company was known. No small task by itself but I knew I worked with some of the smartest people in the business. The founder of the company was still very much present and, hard as it may have been for him, he left the running of the day-to-day operations to me, offering advice and counsel only when I asked. I asked every day.   But his counsel and wisdom didn’t prepare me…

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Hearing Loss at the Top of the Mountain: The Importance of Getting Feedback

By | Executive Coaching, Leadership, Management | 4 Comments

  I had been in my CEO role for about 10 months and, after the initial few weeks of terror, I was settling in.  I had endured three in-person quarterly budget reports to the CEO and CFO of the parent holding company, tortuous meetings during which you sat outside a conference room at the home office in London and waited to be called.  Sometimes you sat for hours.  Home office staff walked by sympathetically, offering you tea and cookies, and sometimes even proffering advice as to the mood of the head man as you sat and reviewed your numbers.  Finally, when it was your turn, you took your place at the head of the table, began your overview of the business…

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What is Work: Examining Our Values

By | Leadership, Management | 4 Comments

  I was new to the company, new to the department and trying to get my bearings and connect with the staff by hosting an informal, brown bag lunch.  There were eight of us including Ms. A., a woman who was the temporary department secretary.  She had been working for the man I replaced.  Mr. D. orchestrated his retirement seamlessly, allowing for a one-month overlap between us to show me the ropes and introduce me to the regional offices; he even chose not to offer his temporary assistant a permanent job in case I had other thoughts about the position.  Now he was gone and I was getting to know people. The group, mostly young women, was making small talk, focused…

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