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After a recent talk I gave to an organization, I had lunch with the CEO to talk about leadership and some of the things she was focusing on and struggling with. She recently took over as CEO and was working on changing the corporate culture where employees could speak up, share ideas, and feel like they weren’t working in such a strict hierarchy.
During that lunch she shared an interesting story with me which highlights both the influence that leaders have and why leaders need to be careful with their words and actions.
In fact this is something that many leaders of various seniority levels have experienced.
This particular company was going through a series of office redesigns throughout their American locations. This CEO was visiting one of these locations in the Bay Area and during the office tour she commented on how much she really liked the artwork that they chose for the walls. A few days later this same CEO was visiting another location on the East Coast, during the tour she noticed that they had the exact same artwork hanging there.
The CEO was confused and she brought it up, asking why they had the exact same artwork in both locations even though they had a very different overall look and feel from each other.
To her shock and bewilderment the person giving the tour told her, “you said that you wanted the artwork to go up everywhere because you loved it so much.”
She was confused and clarified that she only pointed out that she liked the artwork she saw, not that she was mandating it be placed everywhere.
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