How to be a good person and still win the game
1 – Bad News?
I was recently diagnosed with Melanoma. But my dermatologist told me that the kind I have won’t kill me anytime soon and that she’s qualified to remove it. Good news!
When I got home, my wife and daughter asked if I’d be getting another opinion and maybe consider a different surgeon. “Why?” I asked. “She’s got this. And I don’t want to hurt her feelings.” Ouch! I can just see the inscription on my gravestone. “He died from Melanoma. But at least he didn’t hurt his doctor’s feelings.”
2 – The CEO serves the entire enterprise
How often are we as CEOs guilty of the same thing? I know I’ve done it. There have been occasions over the past 30 years when I didn’t do what was right for the company because I was protecting the feelings of an underperformer.
But this incident reminded me of two things: a CEO’s first duty is to the health of the overall enterprise and difficult messages can be delivered in a loving, kind and respectful way.
As a CEO I’m never asked to protect individuals from getting their feelings hurt or to put someone’s feelings ahead of the company. My job is to lead the business to higher profits and to build a healthy, happy and productive culture.
The truth is that we each have to take responsibility for our own feelings. We can’t expect others to lower their standards so that we can remain in a bubble of insecurity. A CEO can and must have difficult performance-related conversations. Is it always easy? No. But most people are able to hear the truth when we speak with love in our heart.
3 – Problem Solved
The next day my wife called the dermatology office and had the test results transferred to a specialist at UCLA Hospital. We’ll get a second opinion, we’ll do what’s right and I choose to believe that my doctor is psychologically secure enough to handle whichever way it goes. And if she can’t, it’s not worth dying over. :))