My team and I were invited to support The Dow Chemical Company’s LATAM region in implementing a strong initiative blending local reality with strategic direction coming from headquarters. To that effect, Pedro Suarez, the President for the whole zone (covering from Mexico down to Chile and Argentina) and his leadership team had invited their top 300 leaders to engage them at the intellectual, behavioural and emotional levels.
Rather than delegating their leadership mission to consultants and other “edutainers”, Pedro and his team had chosen to “be the change they wanted to see” in Dow. So, instead of the usual and distant PowerPoint show from a podium, the consultants and professors “stealing the show” and the significant leaders passively watching their people having been summoned on stage, we all saw, each of the 17 top leaders getting up, exposing themselves, taking a personal risk, working, for some, at the Logos (cognitive, intellectual), for others at the Ethos (behavioural) and some others at the Pathos (emotional, engagement) levels.
Instead of obediently “pushing the corporate initiative down” in a politically correct way, they all had chosen to re-create it and make it live in front of their people, through their own personal style, with their own words, giving it therefore much more credibility.
I confess, I deeply admired those leaders, challenging their comfort zone, taking a personal risk and making themselves vulnerable and approachable, and all this to support the greater good created mostly with influence at corporate level. And the 287 participants immediately felt it and responded accordingly, with support, respect and passion to the risk taken by their leaders.
All sessions were good; all sessions were bearing the true signature of their authors. All sessions were authentic and therefore credible. There was one, who particularly marked me and was symbolic of the whole: Two of the leaders were known by most, with very different styles. What else would those of you knowing MBTI expect when an ISTJ and an ENTP leaders, one leading the support function and the other a commercial one, have to work together? Those two leaders were chosen to illustrate the “Power of One Team”… And the two leaders took the challenge. As they knew there would be highly sckeptical eyes in the room, they chose derision as a way to capture the audience’s interest: they and their delegation co-wrote a small play in which they were describing in a humoristic fashion, the shortfalls which had happened between them and how they could/would avoid them in the future. They got a standing ovation at the end. But prior to stepping down and handing over to the next team, they shared a short clip. They told us it was about being proud of what one does. It was about understanding how one, no matter how humble their job seems to be, does greatly contribute to the final result and may create a huge difference by putting their own signature to their work… And here came “Johnny’s (true) story”…
Adding my signature to the job… What a lesson!
Heading to Denver Colorado for a few days, wishing you all a great week