The value of a leadership coach can run to tens of millions
People often ask what is the bottom-line value of coaching, and here’s a classic example. A story in the Sunday Times yesterday showed how the share price of telecommunications, multi-media and IT holding company Altech had dropped by 5% on the news of its COO Jeffrey Hedberg having resigned. The story made a strong case that he resigned because he coudn’t take the “autocratic and domineering” leadership style of CEO Craig Venter, who is also the son of the company’s founder, Bill Venter.
This was not the view of the outgoing COO, in which case it might have lacked objectivity. It was the consensual view of analysts and “group insiders”, who had predicted a fallout six months before, when Hedberg’s appointment was announced. In the face of these comments, Venter responded by casting doubt on Hedberg’s abilities. This lacked credibility for the investment community and it looks from the outside that everybody can see the problem except him. As a result there is a call for his head and for a non-family member to replace him.
It appears that one way or the other, Venter will have to admit some faults, even if only to himself, in order to restore the company share price.
It’s hard to rely on newspaper reports and what people say without knowing a person. However, it’s also true that the world gives you accurate and useful feedback and that it’s more constructive to take that on, integrate it and grow, rather than defend yourself to the bitter end. It appears that one way or the other, Venter will have to admit some faults, even if only to himself, and make some changes to his management style or position, in order to restore the company share price. Of course, there’s a chance that he can continue as he is and pull some rabbit out of the hat, but that might only provide a temporary solution.
Identifying what to change, and making smart changes fast, is something that a good leadership coach could support him to achieve. The value of getting that right would be measured in tens of millions of rands.