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What You Are Doing To Undermine Your Authority

The session was to begin at 8:30 AM for the executive leadership team. At 8:30 AM we were missing two of the key members and the CEO asked me to wait for them. At 8:45 the CEO got up and went to look for his two team members that were missing.  He came back at 9:00 a.m. and said, “They’re big boys so let’s get going.”

Okay, using what you know about Outcome Thinking®, imagine that you are one of the players in the room.  What message did you get when the CEO asked for the meeting to be delayed for the two key players?  What message did you get when he came back at 9:00 a.m. without the key players?

Every day your team looks at what you say and do to see if it balances with the principles of the organization.  If it doesn’t, they have to decide if the principle has merit or if they should ignore it and instead follow you.

This CEO came up and asked me afterwards what he should have done.  My response, “Stick by the principles you want everyone to live with day in and day out.  Let’s explore the hidden messages that were sent and you tell me which you want to support and which you don’t.”  So he and I explored what message he was really giving in that session and whether it was the one he wanted or not.

If you were one of the two key players who were not present you learned that day:

  1. Your time is more important than team time.
  2. Learning is secondary to everything else.  It is okay to be late for learning.
  3. If you want to avoid something you easily can.
  4. There isn’t equal power on the executive team, you can usurp the power if you want it.

Those who were there on time got these messages:

  1. Power distribution is not equal.
  2. I can come late and there isn’t a penalty so why come on time for the next meeting?
  3. Learning is not for everyone.

When he stepped back and looked at these messages he realized he was inadvertently causing one of the big problems he was trying to change.  The problem he was having was that decisions made by one group or team were being overthrown by another team and there were turf wars.  As he looked back he said, “Now I see how I helped create those turfs and allowed them to exist by giving mixed messages.”

With Outcome Thinking® leadership development you will make sure you don’t undermine your own authority by not clearly sticking by your principles.  As Joan Allen said in the movie The Contender “Principles don’t mean anything unless you’re willing to stand behind them when it is inconvenient to do so.”

Take Action:  What principles do you give “lip service” to but not action?  How will you change that this week?


As the leading Outcome Strategist, Anne Warfield shows people how to say the right thing at the right time every time.  The revolutionary Outcome Focus® Approach shows how to build a candid corporate culture of communication that allows you to lead, present and negotiate transformationally rather than transactionally. When applying Outcome Thinking® our client’s results include sales cycles reducing by 75%, turnover reducing by 30%, silos evaporating, and a 25% savings of time by executives.  Find out how you can maximize your corporate culture for greater productivity and results!  Contact us at 888-imp-9421, visit  www.impressionmanagement.com,  or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .