A tale of two executives

Mathew*, age 52 runs a small business with about 20 employees. I still vividly remember our first meeting. He had been in charge of this company for about 7 months. We were conducting an occupational health survey at his factory. Our team met in his office after survey of the premises. He was presented with a brief report and provisional methods for improvement. Mathew had few queries that didn’t exactly match the situation. “If I may ask, you don’t seem comfortable with the discussion” I questioned. After a brief hesitation, he replied in affirmative. The direction of the discourse changed after that.

I requested a second meeting with him. The main agenda was to listen actively. He calmly told about the difficulties in business such as uncertainty due to competition and decreasing margins. He was single with grown up children and concerned about the future. After an initial exploration, we decided on trying coaching and consulting for business purposes.

Harry*, 48 years old, is CEO of a highly profitable business with about 300 employees. He visited my clinic and complained about different minor symptoms. Recently he had seen some specialists and was fed up with the progress. After a brief discussion, I arranged a second longer appointment.

Then gradually he opened up. He was doing very well professionally though he was not really enjoying it. On the personal front, he was in a new relation and was having a difficult time with his two teenagers. We dig deeper and conversed about his past, values and the plans. His health was slowly waning. The job at hand was to make a comprehensive plan that will cover all the bases. It included analysis of health, understanding his work and personal space, and then a strategy to move ahead.

After a couple of meetings, both gentlemen were looking more focused and at ease with their lives.

The problems in real life do not come in segments. An issue may have its roots in different places. For example, a finance matter generally involves strategy, marketing and leadership. A patient with a sleep disorder might have disease of lungs, heart or another body system. Many times the dilemmas have multiple origins in work and personal life, environmental conditions, attitudes, beliefs, lack of purpose or values etc.

It helps to have education and experience in different fields. The ability to understand the wider range of issues and analyze them in a coherent way adds significant value. Most of the times, the executives are doing well and contact for strategies to achieve distinct goals. It is indeed very satisfying to listen the real stories and participate in the solutions.

* Names and some details changed to protect identities.