Here is another great example of decisions that demonstrate priorities. Carlos Brito, CEO of AB-InBev, talks about how leaders need to be consistent in their decision making process. This is extremely important when promoting people within an organization. Otherwise, you can send the wrong message.
You have to live it.
It is like staying fit. We all know what to do, but how many of us do it every day, day in day out? That is the same thing because there’s so many distractions.
For example, you say the company’s about meritocracy. I just said it because talented people love that. But then you are the head of a department and there is a vacancy. And you need to make a decision. You have five people, whatever number, you need to make a decision who’s going to be the one to be promoted. You have John and Mary. John has been the company for 20 years, a great guy and all that but you know potential wise he is already capped a little bit. You know, doesn’t have a lot of mileage to go.
Mary has been the company for three years. Great talent, you know a young, great talent that has lots of potential and has already demonstrated a whole lot in 3 years. You say know what? Meritocracy wise the right thing is promote Mary. But of course you do that and a lot of people will question you and say, “Marry is so young. She can wait.” Those are the distractions.
She can wait and then maybe you could be moved 'cause my god yes John has a mortgage, has four kids, all the things that you should know that sometimes people make sure you know to influence your decision. So you need to protect yourself a little bit because in the end you’re trying to live the values of the company. You’re not going to try to solve everybody’s problem, right? You can’t be everything to everybody.
So you’re trying to please the Mary’s of this world, not the John’s. You want a company that the Mary says, “This is my company.” And then you promote Marry, you send a huge message to the organization that what we say, we do.
If you promote John, the second time to promote the next John and the third time, the Mary’s will say forget it. Those guys say one thing and they live something totally different.
Again very easy to say. How many times do we find ourselves trying to avoid peer pressure and peer questioning? You just promote John because Mary is going to happen but what she’s just one and everybody else will say ah yeah you did a good thing.
I mean the guy’s got a mortgage and isn’t that I don’t care. I mean not that I’m not human, I’m just saying that’s not what’s at stake here. What’s at stake here is the fabric of the company that reputation which takes 20, 30, 50 years to build and you lose it in one bad decision. Or two bad decisions. There are just so many distractions that you need to watch out for.
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