founder of naked leader
Time to Read: Shorter than arranging a meeting
Bolt the door, lock the windows, send for pizza…
I was coach to a new CEO who had been in place for around 3 months and he had invited me to a monthly Executive meeting. For a variety of reasons he was doubting whether important financial information – profit and loss, sales numbers and margins especially, were accurate.
You know, the more trivial stuff!
He didn’t believe that anyone was deliberately fiddling the figures, he simply didn’t think the numbers from each area of the organisation were being pulled together in a consistent way.
And so he brought that truth in the room and offered an amnesty, saying:
“I do not believe that anyone has acted unlawfully, or dishonestly, I do think that one or more of you are aware that each month the figures may not be totally accurate. If any of you share my suspicions, can offer an explanation or indeed can show me that everything is correct and I am wrong, please speak now – there will be no repercussions.”
I will remember the silence that followed forever – it was deafening.
After what seemed like an eternity the Director of Sales said: “You are right and I haven’t slept for weeks if not months because of it.”
She then went through what she did know and how she and the Finance Director were working on it, ending with “We are confident we can sort this over the coming months.”
Silence number two.
The CEO looked around the room and said: “If we don’t have accurate information, then we don’t know what is going on and no other issues matter. Bolt the door, lock the windows and send out for pizza – we stay in this room until we find a solution.”
Just over 10 hours later – coffee breaks, toilet trips and very urgent calls included – at just before 1am, the Ubers were called, eight exhausted people went home, each with a new level of respect for each other.
The solution was found – different divisions were reporting some small and important details in a different way. It was the proverbial needle, and we found it, deep within the haystack named Excel.
In Naked Leader we have a term called ‘The Number’ – what is the most critical single number in your organisation, which you need to know?
And if you don’t believe The Number is 100% accurate, bolt the door, lock the windows, and send out…
With my respect to that team, and my love and best wishes to you all