Ever seen a CEO facing a wall of resistance?

Picture of Anna Letitia Cook
Anna Letitia Cook

Energising International Executives for more successful, productive, fulfilling leadership
International Executive and Holistic Success Coach | Author | Podcast Presenter | 30+ years working internationally

My client was a CEO sent in to effect a rescue with decidedly poor results and worried about his future.

He was stressed, confused and struggling to keep going.

I was approached by the group head office to help a CEO who had been given another country to turn around a few months previously.

It wasn’t going according to plan, the CEO felt he was drowning but couldn’t put his finger on exactly why. He needed to go back to the drawing board FAST!

He had been a successful CEO in his own country but here everything seemed to be one step forward and at least two steps back.

You could see the pressure he was feeling and his frustration that he wasn’t achieving.

My client didn’t want to admit defeat, he also wanted to understand how it was going wrong.

What was the problem?

In his own country he had done a great job; took over the company, helped it grow, meeting and surpassing targets every year in all aspects.

> Here, the sales team didn’t have the same ideas and way of working (or thinking) as in his own country.

> Clients didn’t have the same approach to their products or their corporate vision.

Even logistics, transport and storage were more complicated, causing friction because of cost increase and impact on margins.

> As if that wasn’t enough, group head office wanted things done their way and were totally blinkered about all the other countries’ legal, financial and cultural differences. 

My client was feeling more and more pressure to do things in the traditional way and to be more demanding of the teams, but he had seen their reaction to that already and didn’t want to exacerbate it.

He knew the previous CEO, who had followed the traditional way, left the company under a cloud because he failed to meet targets, hadn’t expanded and had alienated the team. My client didn’t want to follow in his footsteps.

* Too many CEOs have ended up benched, simply because they haven’t understood the local culture or how to communicate and motivate their teams. You might be a talented leader; you might have great ideas, but you need to relate to your team and have them with you.

This is even more significant when you are changing cultures and countries.

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