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Superhero or CEO? What’s in a WhatsApp?

Posted by: In: Blog 29 Sep 2016 Comments: 0

Charmaine walked into Aldo’s office and requested his car keys. Philip, the driver, had arrived to take Aldo’s Jaguar in for a service. Aldo looked up with smile. He loves his Jag. His father’s best friend, a wealthy entrepreneur from the Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands, has owned every car he’s wanted and has always spoken particularly fondly of his Jag. He received it as a retirement gift from the company he had helped build into a billion Rand-turnover organisation. When Aldo drove a Jag for the first time he knew exactly what his father’s friend was talking about. Aldo now collects Jaguars and just before he bought his company, he bought the same Jag that his father’s friend still owned.

Aldo knows that Philip loves to take any of his Jags in for a service. Aldo cannot blame him and happily handed the keys over to Charmaine. Aldo trusts everyone in the company, including Philip. Trust is of the utmost importance to Aldo – and it’s also one of the top five values forming the ethical foundation of Able Enterprises.

When Aldo bought Able Enterprises eight years ago, one of the first things he did was lay a foundation for growth, which involved identifying the values of the company. With the help of an external facilitator, Aldo and the leadership team participated in a workshop. One of the exercises, called the ‘Mars Group’ was developed by Jim Collins. It involved identifying staff members who exemplify the culture of the company and who would be able to replicate that culture on Mars. Once the leadership team were able to identify these individuals, they dove into an exercise in which they analysed the behaviour of each of these individuals. Initiatives were then brainstormed and prioritised. Once the values were clearly articulated, they were communicated and trained throughout the organisation and included as part of the recruitment process and monthly performance reviews. Furthermore, at the quarterly information-sharing sessions, employee recognition was given to those who were seen to be ambassadors of Able’s values.

As Aldo handed the keys to Charmaine he asked, “Has Kane arrived yet?” She can discern from Aldo’s tone that he is slightly irritated.

“No, not yet.” she replied, keeping it simple to avoid throwing oil on the simmering coals.

“Oh, okay.”, Aldo replied, feeling a bit disappointed. Kane is usually at work before most people and this is unusual. Aldo cannot help but wonder if this has something to do with the bad financial results, or possibly the fact that Kane submitted the reports so late. 

However, Aldo has, over the years, learned to manage his emotions and refocus his thoughts so he immediately applied his attention to his imperative-task list. On his laptop Aldo opened the agenda for the quarterly review and planning workshop. Charles sent it to him a few days ago, shortly after they had discussed it. He gave it a final glance and simultaneously reviewed the outcomes of the previous workshop. He logged into the cloud storage application that he saves the relevant information to for regular review. There, he can see exactly what is still outstanding and how everyone has performed since the last quarterly review and planning workshop. It is clear that everybody is aligned with the company priorities, as well as their own. Aldo felt satisfied and replied, “Approved.” to Charles’s email.

Aldo ticked off the task from his imperative list and decided to take a short break. He picked up his cell phone to see if he had any messages – something that he only does a few times each day. This is another technique he practises in order to keep himself razor sharp and focused. He tapped on a WhatsApp message from Kane, an apology for not coming into the office and a request for Aldo can meet him for breakfast the following morning. “This is not normal behaviour”, Aldo thought.

He called Charmaine in and asked her to confirm breakfast with Kane. He also asked her to set up a meeting with Josh, the Chief Operating Officer of Able, today. Josh has been with the company for more than 10 years and has proven himself a dedicated employee. Although he is 10 years Aldo’s senior, both men have a high level of respect for one another. 

“Tell him it’s urgent and that he must bring his financial report pack. Allocate two hours for the meeting. Thanks Charmaine.”

With that Charmaine closed the door to Aldo’s office and he took to the stairs for his usual walk.

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