At least, they did, until her recent promotion to the C-Suite.
Caroline recognized after some recent 360 feedback that whilst people respected her technical expertise as an engineer, her leadership of individuals and the team needed improvement. It wasn’t terrible, indeed her 360 scores were among the better results across her peers.
But Caroline had aspirations and recognized an opportunity to get a little closer to achieving them.
Her organization was in the middle of a merger with a much larger company. Some people would be exiting the business in the shuffle. Others would experience a sideways move. Others would be absorbed into the teams of the acquiring business.
If at all possible, Caroline wanted none of that.
She wanted to be identified as one of the talented leaders from her organization, and to be given the chance to grow and develop as a senior leader. She wanted the people on her team to thrive and be secure in their jobs, as much as that was going to be possible in the transition.
Caroline understood that she needed to start with herself and focus on what she could change. The 360 gave her a good base from which to start. She just needed to work out her destination and a map to get there. Always a keen student, she recognized the need to invest time on her leadership skills, in the same way she had invested time when learning to become an engineer.
Not one for indecision, Caroline sought advice from her HR Business Partner and secured the service of an executive coach. Much to the amusement of her senior-leader peers, who thought that coaching was only helpful if you were struggling. And anyway, there was never enough time for something that takes as long as coaching.
Their tune changed six months later when Caroline and her team had breezed through the merger. Caroline seemed to have a clear direction. She seemed focused and calm when many around her lost their heads. Many of her team seemed to rise to the occasion, taking on much larger projects that previously had been the case.
The impacts Caroline generated with her team, led to conversations with key decision-makers who noticed the difference in her. Executives from the new partner organization also recognized leadership talent when they saw it. 12 months later, Caroline was invited to be a member of the Exec Team for the newly combined organization.
Many of her former peers, just don’t understand what happened. Although a couple of the more enlightened have asked for the contact details of her coach.
A fable. An invented character. A true-to-life scenario.