Thoughts From the CoffeeTable

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I’d Like to Buy a Vowel

Thoughts From the Coffee Table: I once gave a very tough performance review to someone with great talent.

Initially he soaked up everything like a sponge, and his positive attitude was contagious. Then he changed. He began to complain. Make excuses. Take it out on his team.

I coached him, talked to him, paired him with a successful leader, hoping to uncover the real issue. I assumed something was wrong in his personal life, because nothing else made sense.

When we began his review, I said “This is going to be a difficult conversation, but it needs to be an honest one. I want you to succeed. I know you CAN succeed. There is a gap here that we can, and must bridge.”

He was very quiet. He hardly spoke to either defend or explain.

He then said something that will stay with me forever. “You didn’t train me well enough. You didn’t give me the tools I needed to succeed.”

Sometimes I blame my score on the letters I am dealt in Scrabble. But even with all vowels, there are still words you can play.

He quit a few weeks later. Yesterday he emailed me. To apologize. And to say, he was afraid.

Afraid he would fail in something new.

Recently promoted to VP, he was reflecting on his path. He knows he can play any letters he is dealt now.


#shockyourpotential #leadership #sales #scrabble #business

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