The Bobble Head Team
A large multinational real estate company owned and managed industrial spaces and shopping malls. Most members of the executive team had been together for several years. It was the kind of organization where people could rise through the ranks all the way from the front lines to the executive suite. Everyone was proud of their great track record of promoting from within.
Their long history together made it easy for the team to communicate. Every member knew the organization inside and out. In their time climbing the corporate ladder, most had visited different business units and had performed different functions. Some had even worked on assignments in their international locations. It took me a few meetings to understand their special shorthand lingo.
Everything on the team was very pleasant. When they gathered for meetings, they'd chat about the weekend or the kids' sports tournaments, because most of them knew one another's families. When it came to talking shop, they knew one another's direct reports and could relate to the successes and challenges that they faced.
For the very rare person who came in from the outside, it took a long time to be seen as one of the team. I remember in my first conversation with the head of marketing, he made an offhand remark about being the new guy.
“Oh really,” I said. “How long have you been here?”
“Only 8 years,” he said. It was all the more ridiculous because his previous job was as the account manager for ...