Over the past few years I was quite fortunate to interview so many amazing CEOs for my new book, Leading with Vulnerability: Unlock Your Greatest Superpower to Transform Yourself, Your Team, and Your Organization. Almost all of these 100+ CEO interviews were hour long discussions and from them I was only able to pull a few short quotes for the book. However, the lessons learned and stories I was told, are priceless.
One of those stories is from Ann Mukherjee, Chairman & CEO of Pernod Ricard North America, a an 18,000 person global alcohol company. It’s a story about the difference between being right versus doing the right thing. It’s also a story about what to do when you’re in a position of power and authority and someone on your team makes a mistake.
This story takes place many years ago when Ann was an MBA student at the University of Chicago. At the time she had just gotten divorced and it was one of the lowest moments of her life.
She was in a case study course where she was responsible for doing things like analyzing situations and companies and then providing detailed insights on strategy and guidance. The problem was that she kept failing the courses, something she is rather unaccustomed to.
One day she was talking to a friend of hers who asked her what Ann’s next case study was on. Ann told her and her friend responded and said she already completed that case and she would be happy to send her some of her notes. Ann gratefully accepted.
So Ann turns in her case study and shortly thereafter she gets a call from her professor, Harry Davis. Ann is thinking she really must have aced her case study to get a call from the professor but instead he says…
We’re going to start proceedings against you to get you expelled from the University of Chicago and you have a meeting with the dean tomorrow morning.
Ann was shocked, what happened?
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