An engineer by training, Melissa has quickly risen through the ranks to her new position as plant manager. Along the way, she has established a solid reputation for her dispassionate analytical style and Candid, data-centric approach, as well as her Poise under pressure. This reputation, coupled with her excellent results, has made her a rising star, leading to a recent promotion.
As plant manager, Melissa is now responsible for providing operational updates to the executive committee as well as an occasional presentation to the board of directors. She is hardly new to the world of corporate presenting, but until now her only experience has been in support of a senior leader or in lower level, more operational settings. Now, in the lead role presenting to the company’s senior leadership, her Clarity and Openness to creative vision are being put to the test.
After Melissa’s last presentation to the executive committee, her third in three months, the CEO took Melissa’s boss aside and told him that he no longer wanted her to do the operational reviews. “Melissa may be a good plant manager, I’ll give you that for now," he said. "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." In his opinion, Melissa wasn't seeing the bigger picture (Clarity) and had no sense of urgency (Passion). She needed to prioritize better and bring more sensitivity and strategic thinking to her new leadership context. "I wonder if we did the right thing in promoting her," he worried. "Maybe we’re moving her along too fast."
Many leaders who share Melissa's deeply technical background face similar challenges in adapting methodical, analytical styles to broader, more strategic roles. By demonstrating better balance between execution and business strategy, starting with message clarity, Melissa can significantly improve her prospects as a well-rounded and respected leader.