To Get a Commitment, Make a Commitment

December 12th, 2012 / No Comments »

By Jim Dougherty 

A few years back, I was running a software company with about 150 employees. I’d been brought in from the outside, and it was my first time as a CEO. In the middle of a workday, a few months into my tenure, a popular employee collapsed and died while training for a charity bike race. He was middle aged and in seemingly good health. His death came as a huge shock to the entire company. Many employees were distraught.

We were three weeks out from a major service upgrade, and under a tight schedule. I thought I needed to do something to acknowledge everyone’s loss, but I also was under pressure to deliver. I went to my boss, the chairman (who happened to be the son-in-law of the billionaire owner), and asked his opinion. He thought those close to the employee should be allowed to visit with his family, but we had a deadline. He wasn’t going to tell me what to do, but I still had to meet our goals…….