I Have Done My Bit. Why Isn’t It Enough?


Vanessa is very disappointed.  Her manager had just completed a meeting where she was told that despite her best effort in getting a campaign over the line, her inability to transcend the role and partner effectively was creating friction in the team.

Her communication team was tasked with launching a CEO Forum across its 6 offices in the country.  Pintop United, her company is a leading medical equipment manufacturer and the communication team is considered key to the success of their employee engagement initiatives.  Over the last two months Vanessa and the team planned the events to ensure the CEO’s interactions with employees went smoothly. Vanessa was particularly in charge of organizing the events while her counterparts were on point for crafting messages and communicating the forum’s benefits to employees. They also rallied employees to ensure the participation rates were high.

Vanessa believes she has exceeded expectations on her specific part of the campaign and therefore deserves a fair share of credit. Unfortunately, her team members felt that she wasn’t involved as much as they would have loved her to be and never really demonstrated ownership of her piece. Here is a discussion between Vanessa and her manager. I invite you to reflect on this conversation and share your perspectives.

Vanessa: “Dileep, I called for this meeting to share my point of view on the feedback you received from the team.”

Dileep: “Sure Vanessa, go ahead.”

Vanessa: “I am deeply hurt that others in the team felt I wasn’t contributing to the event. You know how hard I worked on what was on my plate. It took me so many hours of planning and thinking to get the concept and campaign in shape. How can they say I wasn’t partnering?”

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Dileep: “Vanessa, appreciate you sharing your views. You are right; the team has indicated that you weren’t in effect working as a team. Yes, you did your part. It was delivered well and finally we did end up with good outcomes. The stakeholder was pleased. However, that isn’t good enough. It also matters ‘how’ we delivered the outcomes and as a manager it is also my ownership to ensure you all work cohesively.”

Vanessa: “You called out everyone’s responsibilities and that clarity helped. Everyone had a role to play and I did what I was supposed to. Why should it be a problem?”

Dileep: “Yes, agreed. But, just doing what you are supposed to is a given and an expectation. By adding value to everyone else and contributing to the overall success of the team is what makes the role more gratifying is how I see it.  We are not debating if what you are saying or what the team said is right or wrong. There can’t be a right or wrong answers.  However, why is it that there is a perception which exists about your ability to contribute collaboratively?”

Vanessa: “I don’t know. If the perception stays what can I do? It is for the individual to think about. I am not bothered. Why must I be doing so?”

Dileep: “Why don’t you tell me then – if you were leading this team, what would you think of such a behavior? What will you take-away as an inference?”

Vanessa: “Hmm. Unsure. I can’t figure out.”

Dileep: “Why don’t you think about this and let us meet again in sometime to overcome this concern”

Vanessa nods her head and leaves the room.

What are the issues on hand and how will you help Dileep and Vanessa address them? Please share your views here.

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