Molly was the CEO of a very successful organization. She knew the reason for the company’s success was due in part to the collaboration of her four senior leaders. They worked well together, always pushing each other for the overall good of the company. However, over the past few months, something was different, although on the surface the team seemed to be getting along as normal, the conflict was no longer productive, in fact it was counterproductive and it was becoming personal.
As the CEO, Molly knew she had to do something.
She called a meeting with her four senior leaders. Molly standing at the front of the boardroom as they entered, she asks them to take a seat at the table. The four leaders sat at the square table, one leader per side.
Molly address the group, “I have a problem that I need your help with. We all need to pull together on this to find a solution.”
The four leaders looked at each with slight concern but they are ready to help their fearless leader.
Molly placed a coloured cube in the center of the table, one side facing each leader. She then gave each leader a piece a paper with the following question:
“What colour is the cube?”
The answers were collected and then shared with the group.
- Leader 1: Red
- Leader 2: Blue
- Leader 3: Green
- Leader 4: Orange
An argument ensued between all four leaders, each taking the position that the cube’s colour is what they saw. After 5 minutes Molly interrupted the verbal battle with a small request.
The CEO asked each leader to move clockwise around the table and change seats. As the leaders took their new seats, they each saw a new colour. Their heads dropped in silence. They had just been reminded of a very important lesson.
Molly addressed her team.
“One leadership privilege is having a seat at the table where you have the ability to impact and influence decisions and direction. But when you hold on too tightly to your perspective we will miss out on solutions that benefit the organization as a whole. This cube will remain on the boardroom table as a reminder for us to change seats in order to see new perspectives.”
When was the last time you changed seats?