I have really struggled through the last 2 weeks. The first 3 weeks of lockdown were not too bad. I discovered that I really like this way of working – going up to my office, being able to write, seeing my clients online, and all while looking out at my lovely garden and my beautiful view. I was excited at the opportunities that this time of Covid-19 might bring, despite the inevitable hardship. The idea of no longer having to get up at 3.45am in order to catch a 6.00am plane to get to clients in another city was replaced with the anticipation of being able to work with clients anywhere in the world, because they would have had personal experience of how a virtual coaching session can be completely satisfactory. I understood that I would have to adapt to the online world in terms of my marketing, and that I would need to work out how to build relationships with prospective clients despite not being able to actually be in the same room with them.
Then last week I just felt sad. My son is stuck in Vietnam unable to work and unable to come home. I can’t do anything to help him except send money (some things don’t change). My mother lives alone in a retirement facility and has been confined to her flat. Furthermore, she has always resisted technology, so she does not even have the benefit of video calls and family chats – and I can’t do anything to help her except call her every day. Dear friends of mine are losing their businesses. Under any other circumstances, I would be providing them with coaching in order to find ways to survive and thrive – but the current circumstances provide almost no wriggle room.
I was kind to myself last week – I allowed myself to be sad. I recognised that I was dealing with a kind of grief – the loss of all that was familiar; the loss of my familiar ways of connecting with clients and prospects; the loss of the ease that had characterised my working life. I reminded myself that it is ok to have a meltdown; I don’t have to be strong every single day; I don’t always have to put a positive spin on things. Sometimes things just suck and it’s ok to feel sad about that.
Then this week came around and I really struggled to find the energy to do what I know I must do. It felt like I was having to dig really deep every single minute of every day – and I really couldn’t find the energy to do so all the time. I took this to my regular session with my Coach Supervisor, Graham. I asked him to just coach me through what was happening to me. I came out of that session with some really powerful insights that might be useful to you.
Graham immediately connected my malaise with my enneagram. I am an 8 – a dominant driver. I make the world manageable and safe by taking charge and being in control. I have broad shoulders and a pretty thick skin; the capacity for a heavy workload and a high work rate; I am adept at figuring out how to respond effectively in almost every situation; I am most comfortable when I am in charge; being in control and having things under control is my happy place. On the flipside, powerlessness makes me feel extremely vulnerable – and 8’s do not like vulnerability at all. It threatens their sense of being capable and effective people. The most frightening place for me is where I cannot figure out an effective way to respond to a difficult situation. I realised from my discussion with Graham that this really is the first time in my life where I have felt utterly powerless. On every other previous occasion where things have been difficult either in business or in life, I have been able to figure out how to take charge and work things out – but I was feeling the vulnerability of simply not having an answer. And in feeling so utterly powerless, I was allowing myself to catastrophise. I remember using some really dramatic language around “this government having its boot very firmly on the neck of the people”, and “if they wanted a Venezuala, then this is just the perfect storm!” This is not like me at all. I am not a conspiracy theorist. Generally I am an optimist. One of my axioms is “Everything works out in the end, and if it hasn’t worked out yet, you haven’t reached the end.”
Having had the insight that my malaise is about powerlessness, the balance of my coaching session was about reframing my current circumstances, and figuring out how to take back some power.
But something else happened in that conversation - I shifted my attention to my clients, who are generally executives and senior managers in large companies. Many of my clients are also enneagram 8’s and I am sure that many of them are having their own struggles with powerlessness. That sense of powerlessness will manifest in different 8s in different ways. Because I work alone and don’t have a team that I need to manage and inspire to get things done, I went into my malaise (and not a little grumpiness). But leaders of teams will often do the complete opposite. They will move into intense activity and “pushiness” in order to salvage the situation and save the day. I have clients who, through lockdown when sales activities had all but come to a halt, were in virtual meetings from 8.00am until 6.00pm. What were they talking about? And with such intensity? The 8s were hustling to wrestle back some control - whether it was control over a team that is working remotely, or control over the inevitable financial crisis that their business faces. Typical behaviours when 8s feel under threat are to dominate, confront, be forceful, impose their will and vision, be brave and forge ahead, no matter what. (But that doesn’t work very well when you work alone!) What gets lost is the open-heartedness and caring that is true of 8s when they are at their best.
I think there are 2 topics here. Firstly, if being in control is your familiar place, what do you need to do to regain a calm sense of personal effectiveness despite the fact that there is so much going on that is outside of your control? Secondly, how should you lead your team so that you create a sense of calm and give them the sense that there are things they can do to exercise at least some influence or power despite the impact of outside circumstances over which they have no control at all.
The starting point is to recognise the vulnerability that you experience because of powerlessness, as well as the negative impact this has on your thoughts and your behaviour. Consider using these questions to help you:
Maybe these questions will help:
If you think anyone else would find this article useful, please share it.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” These are the opening lines to Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. If they had been written in 2020 they could not have been more appropriate!
I’d like to share with you the story of two people – Darby and Joan. Both successful businesspeople, Darby ran an engineering business with 65 employees, and Joan was the Sales Director of a large corporate. Darby had always been described as laid back. Always calm, nothing ever seemed to phase him. Joan was more highly strung. She worried a lot; often reacted too quickly to issues without taking the time to gather the facts; was given to high highs and low lows. She was exceptionally good at her job and her sales teams all did really well, but it was always at quite a high price emotionally. When the Covid-19 lockdown happened, as you can imagine, Darby and Joan responded very differently.
In the days before lockdown, Joan found herself in meeting after meeting with her principals in the European head office. They worried about adjusting forecasts, getting deposits in before lockdown, adjusting salaries downwards for non-essential staff and making sure that all deliveries were completed before lockdown. She had no time with her team except for half an hour on the day before lockdown when she breathlessly emphasised how important it was that they make sure that they don’t lose a single sale during this time.
During lockdown, she was all over the place. On and off social media, back and forth between her emails and phoning her team members to ask for progress on pending deals and new quotations. She continued with her daily meetings with her European head office and only discovered at the end of week 1 that she could have a team meeting on Zoom. When she did have a team meeting it was business, business, business. She seemed not to have the emotional capacity to deal with her team members’ fears and concerns.
She slept badly and was up in the early hours of the morning trying to figure out how to achieve the sales targets after lockdown – after all there were only 8 days/7 days/6 days to go. She was distracted when she was helping her children with their school work, and struggled to follow a routine every day. She endlessly ruminated over “what if this, and what if that”.
Darby, on the other hand, spent some time with his team before lockdown deciding how they were going to handle things. He wanted above all else to make sure that jobs were saved and that the business would be able to ride out the lockdown and recover quickly when it was over. He and the team agreed on various tactics that they would use to achieve that, and then they talked to the wider team and agreed on how they would proceed during the initial lockdown, and what they would do if the lockdown were extended. They agreed on how they would stay in touch with each other during the lockdown. Darby made sure he and his other managers were set up properly to do whatever business they could remotely. They got in touch with all their customers personally and informed them of the plan. Darby also contacted his bank to defer his bond payments on the business premises and some capital equipment payments for a few months so that they would have working capital when this was all over.
Following conversations with his wife and children, he designed a daily routine for himself that included waking at the normal time, an exercise regime of an hour, time during the morning to attend to business, lunch with the family, household chores and projects in the afternoon, followed by family story time and dinner. He and his wife also agreed that their children would do a certain number of supervised hours of schoolwork and how they would share this load.
Then Darby, being the measured, laidback soul that he was, proceeded to live in exactly this way. He took one day at a time. He refused to indulge in the excitement about “when we go back in 8 days/7 days/6 days time”, and was mindful of how much attention he paid to social media. He checked in twice a day and was very circumspect about how much credibility he gave to much of what he read. He stayed in touch with his team, encouraging them, calming them down, reminding them not to worry about what would happen after lockdown or ruminate over “what if this and what if that”. When they did venture into “what if” territory he would say “Well what if that happens? What will you do?” and stay with it until they at least had some actions that they would take in the event of that “what if” coming to pass.
Of course he was concerned, as any business owner would be, but he kept his attention in the present, and paid attention to what was under his control at that time. He regularly phoned his customers to find out how they were doing and how they were feeling about their businesses, taking time to encourage and calm them in the same way he did with his own team. He used his time to learn about new engineering processes that he wanted to explore, learning new skills and working on various household projects and hobbies that he had never had the time to before. And he stayed in touch with his friends and family, encouraging them and lightening things up for them.
He was optimistic about a number of things: that lockdown would end; that times would get better; and that the economy would improve. After all, bad times always roll around to better times, and the world economy has always recovered.
This time of Covid-19 and worldwide lockdown is causing us to draw on our very best selves or risk spiralling into despair and mental illness. Never has it been more important for us to “mind our minds”.
It has been said that the mind is a faithful servant but a tyrannical master. We can see exactly how this played out with Darby and Joan. Notwithstanding their different personalities, Darby and Joan clearly had different levels of mental discipline. For whatever reason, Darby has excellent skills that enabled himself to “mind his mind”. Let’s have a look at what they are:
The time will come soon enough when they can worry about targets – but right now, when nobody can get out there, when nobody is buying and when everyone is worrying about how their businesses will survive is not the time to be pushing the numbers. Reminding people that “this too shall pass” would be more useful. Joan’s attention is in the future, on things she cannot control and on needing to know what will happen – all redolent of someone who is a slave to their mind. She needs to learn to stop herself from doing these things. She needs to notice when she is doing them and bring her attention back to the present moment and those things she can control.
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In the inimitable words of M. Scott Peck:
"Life is difficult.
This is a great truth. One of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult - once we truly know and accept it - then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters." (From The Road Less Travelled).
The world over, life is difficult. What tends to vary is the source of the difficulty. It may be the economy. It may be health. It may be family issues. It could be the internal politics of your company. There are as many sources of difficulty as there are people.
In my coaching practice, my clients are dealing with the following sources of difficulty:
And that was just last week!
Almost inevitably, when life is difficult, we focus all our energy and attention on managing that difficulty. As a consequence, we start doing things that actually make things more difficult for both ourselves and those around us. Let's consider some examples:
Sound familiar? Did I just make your day even more difficult?
These behaviours are how we respond to the difficulties that are part of life when we have not made peace with the idea that life is difficult - and what we are dealing with today just happens to be the present source of difficulty. And, as with all things, this too shall pass. And then things will be less difficult, and then things will get difficult again.
The point I am making is that the difficulty you are experiencing now is part of how life works. It may feel unusual or special in some way, but it isn't really. And the sacrifices that we make in terms of self-care and care for others does not help us through the current difficulty - it actually makes things worse. When we sacrifice self-care we ensure that it is our lower selves that we are pitched at our difficulties, when the situation really requires the highest version of ourselves. When we sacrifice self-care we communicate to others that this is what is expected and what is required - with the result that those around us also bring their lower selves. The characteristics of our lower selves include:
When life is difficult it feels right that we should be pushing the hours, working harder, taking less time for ourselves and others - it feels like this is what we need to do to get over the hump. But trust me. This hump will be replaced by another hump, and then another one. So what do we have to do?
1. Accept that your current difficulty is your normal for now. It is what it is. It's not special. It's not unusual. It just is. Ask yourself this question: if you knew that this situation was what you have to look forward to for the rest of your life would you carry on the way you are? Or might you think "The hell with it! I might as well take care of myself!"
2. Get some perspective. Get off the playing field and up onto the balcony and take a look at what is going on on the field. Do this with someone you trust who is not on the field too - a coach, a mentor, a friend who you know will help you gain some perspective. Gaining perspective is about:
7. Make time for your faith practices, if you are a person of faith. Knowing you are not alone is hugely positive for your sense that you can get through whatever difficulties you are dealing with.
When life is difficult, self-care is key. The tactics I've described are all about taking care of yourself - and many of them will also take care of your people. When your people are struggling with the same difficulties that you are, or some of their own, these tactics will help to build their resilience. Self-care is absolutely vital to building resilience - in yourself and in others - and resilience is what gets us through the tough times.
When life is difficult, our default is to dive into action. Most of these tactics are counter intuitive, so you won't trust that implementing them all at once will do anything except create more problems. So start with one thing first. My own recommendation is that you start with some form of relaxation practice or exercise regime - but it's horses for courses really. Just start with one form of self-care. Then as you see that it actually helps, you could add another and another. And remember to care for your team as you care for yourself. They share your difficulties even when yours are personal.
Success in #20Plenty is going to be about far more than whether or not you meet your KPIs. Actually, that’s not really success – that’s just meeting the demands of your boss. Success is going to be about the commitments you made to yourself and kept. Here are some examples:
If you are serious about achieving the goals you have set in these various areas of your life, I recommend that you “appoint” accountability partners. Don’t make one person your accountability partner for everything – rather use a few people and schedule regular get togethers with them where you account for the actions you have taken against each of your goals. Setting up your accountability partners involves a conversation in which you outline the following:
Appointing accountability partners takes courage. You will have nowhere to hide! Isn’t that great?
My new favourite quote is from Rob Dial (look for a podcast called “The Mindset Mentor) who says “Success is nothing sexy. It's just a lot of boring habits practiced every single day.”
I’m so with him on this. I am always saying that there is an indivisible bond between success and self-discipline – like love and marriage, you can’t have one without the other. It’s about the things you do every single day.
Here are some of mine:
Make a list of the disciplines that you know you need to practice every single day in order to set yourself up for success. I can’t wait to read your ideas:
Success starts with what is going on in your own head. It is not about getting a leg up or a handout – although these can help. Too many people spend their lives looking for their big break – and this is often in the form of another person. Someone successful who will offer them an amazing opportunity that will change their lives. How often does this saviour turn out to be anything but? I have seen it too many times, and I’m here to tell you that your future does not depend on someone else seeing your potential and thrusting you forward into the life of your dreams.
You are your own best bet! Nobody cares about you, your life, your career and your success more than you – so don’t make the mistake of putting your future into someone else’s hands. That is not to say that you won’t achieve success with and through others – we almost always do. But it is to say that your success is not up to others.
If you completely own the notion that You are your own best bet, you will take charge of and responsibility for how this year and this decade unfolds. That is not to say that the external factors of the world will not affect you at all – but you can decide just how much they affect you. You are the captain of your own mind. You are responsible for your state of mind. You are the boss of your intentions and expectations. Your expectations are your responsibility. What you put out is what you get back – so make sure that you get clear on your highest intentions and expectations in order to set yourself up for success.
My motto / theme / clarion cry for this whole decade is #20Plenty. If you live in South Africa, you will have 101 really good reasons why that is totally ridiculous. But we can each decide what we are going to sign up for. I am simply not signing up for a decade of struggle. I am signing up for #20Plenty. Make sure that your highest intentions and expectations set your #20Plenty up for success. Imagine if every single one of us had this mindset? We could and would create miracles!
Decide what you will and won’t buy into or embrace – I am simply not buying into any talk of recession or national collapse. Decide what you will and won’t allow – I will not allow vile, racist vitriol to pollute my Twitter or Facebook feeds. Decide how you will show up and what you will not allow in yourself – I will make a point of noticing all that I have to be grateful of every day, and will not allow myself to be drawn into other people’s “ain’t it awful” conversations.
Call to action: If this speaks to you, please answer the following question in the comments:
What do you expect YOUR #20Plenty to hold for you?
If you are a manager committed to leading in a coaching way; a manager who has done some “Manager as Coach” training or who has read and experimented prolifically with coaching as a style; a manager who sincerely works at using a coaching approach to leading your teams; a manager who is human, has bad days, experiences stress and pressure, and who inevitably messes up despite your best intentions; this series of articles is for you. This is the tenth in series of 12 monthly articles, first published in SA Coaching News in which I share tools, techniques and practices that you can use over time to create new default behaviours that will enable you to live into your intentions of being a coach and creating a coaching culture in your team.
The topic of psychological safety has come up several times in conversation over the last week or so, and has been bubbling under as a topic for days now. Wikipedia defines “psychological safety as a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking. It can be defined as "being able to show and employ one's self without fear of negative consequences of self-image, status or career" (Kahn 1990, p. 708). In psychologically safe teams, team members feel accepted and respected.”
In the absence of psychological safety, innovation, “radical candor” (see Kim Scott), team learning, engagement and continuous improvement is inhibited. It is important to the manager coach for creating an interpersonal dynamic that is free from guardedness. It creates an environment in which team members do not fear judgement, ridicule or the potential of saying something that is career limiting.
Uncertainty about how to “be” with one’s manager is a significant inhibitor to the quality of thinking that manager coaches seek.
A couple of years ago I was working with an executive who had got off on the wrong foot with his team. He was radically different in every way from his predecessor. While the team may not have liked his predecessor, they did know how to work with him. Because they did not know how to work with my client, they did not trust him and he had real problems getting going with them.
I had recently come across an article by Leah Fessler (https://qz.com/1046131/writing-a-user-manual-at-work-makes-teams-less-anxious-and-more-productive/) in which she describes writing a user manual for yourself that makes your team members more certain of how to deal with you. I have subsequently read other articles advocating something similar. Your Personal User Manual will have a number of headings which you can use for guidance. Here is one example:
You could do a little research and make up your own set of headings. Completing the content under the headings is a valuable reflection exercise. It causes you to think carefully about yourself, your flaws and hot buttons, and what your team should understand about you in order to not feel the need to guess or tiptoe around you. It also gives them guidance about how they can help you to grow and develop.
In order to complete your personal user manual, you could use a number of sources:
Once you have sufficient input, finalise your Personal User Manual. Then share it with your team and have a rich discussion with them, encouraging their comments and questions. Then encourage them to each compile their own user manuals to be shared and discussed at later team meetings.
This is approach has a number of benefits:
While it is really useful for a manager who is new to the team to do this exercise, there is also no harm doing it later in your relationship with your team. As my client discovered, it was in making himself more knowable that he was able to build healthy relationships with his team and break through their resistance.
If you are a manager committed to leading in a coaching way; a manager who has done some “Manager as Coach” training or who has read and experimented prolifically with coaching as a style; a manager who sincerely works at using a coaching approach to leading your teams; a manager who is human, has bad days, experiences stress and pressure, and who inevitably messes up despite your best intentions; this series of articles is for you. This is the fifth in series of 12 monthly articles, first published in SA Coaching News in which I share tools, techniques and practices that you can use over time to create new default behaviours that will enable you to live into your intentions of being a coach and creating a coaching culture in your team.
Whether you are a manager of managers or you find yourself coaching a peer who manages managers, there are some interesting complexities. When the source of difficulty or frustration is a manager who is not taking appropriate action on the performance of their team member, what is the coaching topic?
Let’s use a fictitious example. I lead a team of managers. One of them – let’s call her Lindi - is struggling to deliver on her KPIs because she has a team member (Pete) who is not performing. I also am not aware of any specific action being taken to address Pete’s non-performance. We have discussed non-performance against the KPIs before, and Lindi had agreed to take up the issue with Pete, but I am not seeing any improvement in what is being delivered from that team. Therefore, the topic of my coaching discussion will be Lindi’s failure to manage. In essence, Lindi is underperforming in that she is not taking action (or effective action) on Pete’s non-performance– and her inability to achieve her KPIs is a symptom.
Any performance coaching discussion is better handled when one uses a fairly standard set of stages. In my coaching, I work with clients to come up with their own stages, but these are the ones I use:
While this article has specifically discussed coaching a manager who has an underperforming team member, taking the time to structure any discussion that may be tricky is good practice. It keeps you focused, it acts as a kind of rehearsal and it also ensures that the outcomes covers most, if not all angles.
For your convenience, here are the steps without the blurb:
If you are a manager committed to leading in a coaching way; a manager who has done some “Manager as Coach” training or who has read and experimented prolifically with coaching as a style; a manager who sincerely works at using a coaching approach to leading your teams; a manager who is human, has bad days, experiences stress and pressure, and who inevitably messes up despite your best intentions; this series of articles is for you. This is the eighth in series of 12 monthly articles, first published in SA Coaching News in which I share tools, techniques and practices that you can use over time to create new default behaviours that will enable you to live into your intentions of being a coach and creating a coaching culture in your team.
In my coaching work with executives and managers, I frequently hear stories that suggest that my client is struggling with some “childish’ behaviour in their team. My tendency is to name it as exactly that because it opens up the opportunity to explore how my client may be managing in a parental way – behaviour that enables this childishness. Is my client excessively critical, figuratively wagging her finger at “naughty team members” for not behaving or performing as expected – in which it is no surprise that there is a culture of blame and unaccountability? Is my client overly nurturing, rescuing team members by fixing or completing their work for them, letting them off the hook – resulting in a pattern of “delegating upwards” or delivering incomplete work?
The Parent – Adult – Child model has its roots in Transactional Analysis. It is not the purpose of this article to present this entire approach, but to demonstrate how the model can be used to raise the maturity (emotional intelligence) of a team by moving the manager’s behaviour away from being either an overly critical or overly nurturing Parent to something more Adult – thus enabling and expecting more Adult behaviour from team members. The principle here is that we are all adults making an adult contribution to an adult pursuit (the work of the organisation) – and we need to approach that in an adult manner.
As an aside, I have observed Parent – Child patterns of behaviour at every level in my client organisations – including at Board and Executive levels.
Let me start by sharing a beautiful Parent – Adult – Child diagram created and developed by Karen Pratt, an exceptional Cape Town-based Coach and Coach Supervisor, adapted from the work of S. Temple (1999):
In essence, this model is saying the following:
Perhaps this script will demonstrate what such a conversation might sound like. Let’s imagine a conversation between a Member of the Board (MoB) and an Executive Manager (EM) reporting to her. Some time ago these two had a discussion in which the MoB requested the EM to prepare a report to be presented to the Board on progress on a mission-critical project. The EM is not the Project Leader, but is the manager of the division responsible for the successful execution of the project. The Board meeting is on Monday and the board pack must go out tomorrow. The report is flimsy and thin on detail. The MoB can expect a roasting at the hands of the Board if it is presented as is.
MoB: When we met 2 weeks ago we agreed that you would prepare a report for the Board meeting on the Just in Time Procurement project. I have read your report and I have some real concerns about presenting it as it is. It shows that the project is behind schedule, that key milestones have been missed and that we may have wasted a lot of money, time and human resources on something that just won’t fly. I need to present this in the Board meeting on Monday. How do you think this is going to land with the Board? (Adult)
EM: Silence. Stony face. I don’t know (-AC).
MoB: Imagine for a moment that you are a member of the Board of a large company that has committed significant funds to a project like this. How would you react if you discovered late in the day that we seem to be wasting our money? (A)
EM: I don’t know (-AC).
MoB: How do you think you would react? Put yourself in their shoes – after all, they have to answer to the shareholders (A).
EM: I suppose I would want some answers (A).
MoB: What kind of answers (A)?
EM: I suppose I would want to know why we are struggling. I would also want to know what we are doing about it, and what the expected results of our actions might be. I would want revised delivery dates, and I would want to know what further expenses will be incurred. (A)
MoB: Do you see any of that information in this report of yours? (A)
MoB: So what stopped you from including this information? (A)
EM: Robert (the Project Manager who actually reports to EM) didn’t give it to me (-AC).
MoB: Did he know that it was expected? (A)
EM: I suppose not. I guess I didn’t ask him. (-AC)
MoB: Did you discuss his report with him before you sent this on to me? (A)
MoB: Tell me more about that (A).
EM: I was busy and assumed that he would have done a proper job. After all, this is his responsibility and I’m not really involved (-AC).
MoB: So who’s responsibility is it to make sure that reports you submit to me are right?
EM: Silence (-AC)
MoB: Would you be happy to present this report to the Board on Monday? (A)
EM: Hesitates I suppose not.
MoB: I can promise you that I am not happy to present this to the Board as it is. I am also clear that I am not sending this report out with the board pack as it is. The board pack must go out tomorrow and a project report that shows the reasons for the delays and the corrective action being taken must go out with that report. Would you agree? (+AP)
MoB: First of all, let’s be clear on the content of the report. Can you describe to me what additional headings you will include in this report? (A)
EM: Describes the revised content of the report with some gaps.
MoB: Those headings are fine. I would also like you to include the lessons that have been learned from the delays, and how these lessons could, in fact, result in a better outcome (+AP). Now this is going to put you and Robert under pressure (+NP) because I need it by 8.00am tomorrow morning so that I can read it before including it in the board pack (+AP). How are you going to get it done (A)?
EM: I’ll have to ….. (outlines what he’ll do to get it done) (A)
MoB: Asks a series of questions to make sure that she and her EM are on the same page (A). Examples of such questions include:
MoB: Thank you. This report to the Board is extremely important because we may need to ask for more time and more funds. If we don’t make a good business case for this request, this project will be bombed, and I will have to answer some very tough questions which will not make any of us look good. More to the point, we will have some very tough discussions with our shareholders at the AGM – and last year’s AGM was tough enough anyway. We do not want another one like that. (+AP).