Actual Leaders on Leadership
This month’s Harvard Business Review has a section up front that is a collection of short essays by business leaders—actual CEOs and executive from high powered corporations.
I am extremely impressed with the wisdom they collected. I have already pointed out a quote on the Association Renewal blog as well as the Always Done it That Way blog. I am sure I will put several more here. This is the first, from a Coca Cola executive, which demonstrates a point I make in conflict resolution training all the time: it is in YOUR interest to satisfy the interests of your opponent (or, in this case, business partner).
People there had expected me to cave in under the pressure. But once I held my ground, it was the beginning of a whole new chapter. Not only did the economics of the relationship shift but so did the psychology. We at the Coca-Cola Company had demonstrated that we understood the bottler’s challenges and were supportive of them. In the eyes of that important business partners, and for my growth as a leader, seeing this tough decision through was indeed a defining moment.
If this executive had cared only about Coke’s interests, he would have lowered prices (as the corporate bosses were suggesting) and the bottler would have been devastated financially and betrayed. This caused short-term pain for Coke, but the power of the strong relationship with the partner was worth more.