Mission Of The Firm's General Managers

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A few years back, I was asked to lead preparation of the firm’s General Managers’ Meeting. At this time I was serving in the position of Chief Development Officer and a member of the senior leadership team. I had been with the company for a long time and valued the culture that valued alternate views. While planning this meeting was not an area of core responsibility, I was excited to lead the initiative. This meeting was attended by all general managers across North America and support personnel. Each attendee was allowed to bring a guest so a over 500 people attended this meeting. Planning the logistics were complex and the exceeded $500,000. The planning team selected the location, coordinated travel, established the agenda, chose…show more content…
The team should be very proud. At this point the leadership team and I were confident that this was a great start to a very uplifting and positive meeting. Unfortunately, he was not done. The CEO continued and stated that while the company had achieved high levels of success, the economy was in turmoil; the future was uncertain and, therefore, manager salaries would be frozen and bonuses would not be paid. He then concluded his speech and looked to the leadership team for a response. We were stunned and sat in silence for some time. I waited to see if any other members of the team would speak, but none did. I then decided that something must be said and stated that this action was wrong. I pointed out that we could not in one moment offer praise for the best year ever and in the next state that there would be no raises or bonuses. I continued by stating that the news will destroy morale and erode the goodwill that this meeting should garner. The CEO acknowledged the concern, but stated that this was his decision and left the room. Knowing that I was right, I followed the CEO and continued to make my argument. The additional comments were not heeded and the speech went forward as prepared. The mood of the meeting turned negative and the organization was never the same. In analyzing
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