Negotiate Success

When Michael Chen was promoted to be chief information officer for a key business unit of a midsized oil company, he was elated—until he received calls from two colleagues. Both told him the same thing: “Start updating your résumé. Cates is going to eat you alive.”

His new boss, Vaughan Cates, was a hard-driving business unit leader with a reputation for getting results—and for being tough on people. She had recently taken over the unit, and several of the people she had inherited had already left.

Michael’s friends anticipated the problem. “You’ve had a lot of success,” one said. “But Cates will think you’re not aggressive enough. You’re a planner and team builder. She’ll think you’re too slow and not up to the ...

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