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Lee, the “Reluctant CEO’s” trusted lieutenant, had contacted me six weeks earlier to defend his boss and object to my conclusion that their company’s poor performance was directly related to the organization’s poor employee engagement scores.
I asked, "If you dramatically cut the salaries of your employees—or even stopped paying them altogether—would any of them come back to the office tomorrow?” My question was received with a mix of bemused expressions. I looked at the company’s CEO and his nine senior vice presidents. It was clear from their facial expressions who would show up on that hypothetical tomorrow—and who might not.
And then Lee chimed in, “So I had been butting heads with Michael for weeks about one of his projects. In fact, just before I called Dan to talk about our employee engagement survey, Michael told me that if he couldn’t make any of the critical decisions then it really wasn’t his project. He told me he couldn’t care less what we did. And now it all makes sense.”