An engineer by training, Melissa has quickly risen through the ranks to her present (and new) position as plant manager. Along the way, she established a solid reputation for her dispassionate analytical style, data-centric approach, and calmness under pressure. This reputation, coupled with her excellent results, has made her a rising star, leading to her recent promotion.
As plant manager, Melissa is now responsible for taking the lead in providing operational updates to the executive committee as well as an occasional presentation to the board of directors. Although hardly new to the world of corporate presenting, Melissa has never been in the lead role in presenting to the company’s senior leadership. Virtually all of her experience has, instead, been in support of a senior leader or in lower level, more operational settings.
After Melissa’s last presentation to the executive committee, her third such update in three months, the company CEO took Melissa’s boss aside and told him that he no longer wanted Melissa to do the operational updates. In the CEO’s words, “Melissa may be a good plant manager, I’ll give you that for now; but she doesn’t seem to understand what’s important in running this company. She doesn’t get what we’re trying to do here. There’s no bigger picture; no sense of urgency about her. She needs to prioritize better and put more emphasis on execution. So for the time being, you give the operational updates and we’ll see if we did the right thing in promoting her. It looks to me like she’s in over her head. Maybe we’re moving her along too fast.”