Reflective Essay: Proud's Leadership Story

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CRAIG’s LEADERSHIP STORY
Subsequent to spending 12 years working in technical roles for three relatively large corporations (British Aircraft Corporation, Marconi Space and Ferranti) in the UK I witnessed a cultural shock by emigrating in 1982 to Canada working for a relatively small company, COM DEV in Cambridge, Ontario.
Not understanding at that time what cultural shock meant, working for a small company I suddenly had to wear many hats and extend my capabilities beyond the safe haven and comfort zone enjoyed during my twilight years in the UK. Within 3 months and many work hours, I was called into a conference room with 5 others only to be told we are now managers. Having an excitable ego, I was quick to call my parents and share with
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Growing with this product I had to build a business unit to sustain a growing business. Actually, as with most new product entries, there are always technical and people problems that loom at hourly intervals. My philosophy at that time was that as the Lead Manager I had to resolve everything, throwing my own extended hours towards getting the results. In short, I burnt myself out and then replaced. The company thought they were doing me a favour in looking after my health and credibility. Understanding this is what I needed for my own sanity; I still very much felt a failure. There was nobody around who was able to be a lifeline and support in getting my professional career back on track other than my family. Getting tough, I promised myself to dust myself off and never be a failure again. This negative experience transcended me into studying Lee Iacocca, the Chrysler savior, and what he did to turn the company around. Realizing that it took a team of people to achieve what he did, I also learnt developing talent and strategy via coaching rep soccer. The NCCP, level 3, coaching certification, taught me how to put development plans together for athletes from early years, re-conditioning due to injuries through to eventually, retirement. Believe it or not, I valued that course as the best leadership …show more content…
One is taught that the success of change is always on the back of a crisis situation ie management sink or swim based on a positive performance outcome. During 2010, our Switch Business Unit experienced a major crisis in the commercial space segment due to bad quality parts supplied from a local contractor. Opportunity struck, parachuted in as the new V.P of the Switch B.U., my second tour of duty, gave me another chance to prove to myself what I had learned since my initial tour i.e. the business start-up. The challenge included, restoring customer confidence reflected in the loss in market share from 75% to 55%; ensure product quality and reliability; provide a foundation for growth and ensure that the people and management share a positive outlook. Realizing that this strategy required the importance of communication, people participation and a different way of doing things sent me in the direction of looking outside the company for new philosophies and practices in ensuring a long term vision. Patrick Lencioni, CEO of Tablegroup presented his inspirational experiences towards developing organizational health including oversight of the key benefits at a Communitech Breakfast speech in Waterloo, Ontario. Presto! I was sold, within 2 hours I became a big fan and a disciple of Patrick’s work. Understanding that the company did not have the

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