The new CEO wanted the key staff to brief him on their areas of responsibility. We each had approximately 10 to 15 minutes to speak and a short time to prepare.
The CEO was not a warm fellow so most of the speakers were nervous. They had reason to be. Shortly after the briefings, all who had not pleased him were gone; transferred to other locations. One executive later reported from "Siberia" that his new job was so meaningless that it was three weeks before anything landed in his in-box.
The exercise illustrated the importance of presentations. One of the most knowledgeable executives was moved because he talked far too much. If he'd cut his presentation by one-third he might have survived.
His rambling gave the appearance that he didn't understand the priorities of his job. The trivial was mixed in with the crucial. It may be that the CEO concluded, "If he speaks this way, he probably thinks this way."
All of which leads to some questions that we all might consider on a daily basis:
- If you had a short period of time to brief someone on your responsibilities, how good of a job would you do?
- Would you have the priorities clearly identified or would you ramble?
- Would you be able to state in one clear sentence why it is in the best interests of the organization that you should be kept on?