The following stories, excerpts from assessments conducted by Leslie Pratch of four executives within the same company, thoroughly disguise each character’s identity. They reveal how business situations can conflict with an executive’s coping style, diminishing his effectiveness.
This public company was founded by private investors to exploit opportunities in a rapidly consolidating industry whose competitive environment was unlikely to soon settle down.
The company has few managers and little in the way of procedure in its operations.
The first case describes the psychological functioning of Mark, the CEO. Exceptionally capable at building the business in its earlier stages, he is now unable to relinquish control over operations in order to focus on strategy. As a result, the company is floundering.
Brian, Peter, and Mauricio are vice presidents in charge of financial operations in different parts of the world. Their required behaviors and accountabilities are identical, and they display many of the qualities that we associate with effective, successful business leaders. All are active copers, but each is quite different psychologically. Brian and Peter warrant grooming as potential future C-level executives. Mauricio is very capable at his job, but has deep-rooted psychological issues difficult to address in a workplace setting. His growth and maturity will come through long-term psychotherapy. Barring a major personal crisis, however, it is unlikely he will see the need.