It was about 1999 and I was working in a start up Optical Networking company that was rapidly growing, but most likely had investors nervous. I remember the day Mike dropped in as our CEO and rolled up his sleeve to manage a daily production meeting. Little did I know how much that has made an impression on me now that I’ve rolled up my sleeves for other companies.
Mike was the anti-CEO who came in and worked with the lowest level in the organization to understand the daily operations and to personally invest in turning around processes and ultimately our direction. I was curious to see him setting up an excel spreadsheet while we were in the meeting to capture the most basic of operations and dig so deep into the weeds I thought he’d never come out. It was this different kind of leadership that blasted away my perception of what a CEO was. And at the same time, this is exactly what a CEO should do in order to understand the most minute details or an organization.
These lasting impressions on a young Director of Quality, has somehow resurfaced from almost 20 years ago to 2019 and my approach to “Drop in” to an organization. It’s so critical to understand those fine details to really understand what is / is not working in people, process, platforms but also their past & intellectual property. I go down to the lowest denominator and there lies the clues to bringing an organization forward.
It’s funny how the mind brings forward these memories and now spawns action. I’m trying to connect with Mike right now on Linkedin, so that I can share with him how his actions have made an impression on the next “Drop in CEO”.
About the author: Deborah A. Coviello is the Drop in CEO who builds the foundation so you can grow your business. She is a speaker, writer and amateur curler; winning a silver medal in Arena Curling Nationals in 2017.