Mistake #9: Leave it to those who cannot lead

Wally Bock commented on his blog regarding Sue Shellenbarger’s Work and Family column in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal (What Makes a Company a Great Place to Work Today).  I agree with Wally that Sue Shellenbarger got it half right.  And I couldn’t agree more that the leadership drives the business.  The leadership sets the culture. It’s the leadership that really makes the company a valuable workplace.

Case in point:   My friend, Kelly, worked with me heading up sales.  Once her supervisor left for another job, she wasn’t sure if she should be looking for a job herself. The company was taking a different turn, and the VP was not focused, realistic on expectations, and not paying attention to any of the employees.  Kelly is a stellar employee, gets along well with all types of personalities, is totally professional, a terrific salesperson, and good at presenting and training. Kelly loved her job. There were great benefits, the people were fun to work with, and it was only three minutes from her home. With two young toddlers, that meant a lot.  One month later, Kelly got an incredible offer from a company that offered her more money, but it involved more travel and weekly visits to the home office, which is a four hour drive by car.  When Kelly went to the VP, he didn’t even counter the offer or asked her any questions. He let her walk out the door.


Ah, well. I’m wondering what the Veep does ten years from now when he sees Kelly on the list of the most powerful women in business.

I can’t imagine the cost of getting another Kelly in that position. But, I do believe that a GREAT company depends upon the leaders in the company and how they have respect for their employees – and are, in turn, respected.   Kumbaya…


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