Mission Impossible

Jack, an EVP of Information Systems, accepted his new position about five months before the CEO who hired him resigned and an Interim CEO was chosen. Initially, Jack’s mission was to address issues with legacy systems (think duct tape and chewing gum holding reports together) and restructure the department to align and grow a more effective team. His assignment from the former CEO was to streamline the delivery of IT services to the organization and move the team into the 21st century (no more phones in shoes).


Enter the Interim CEO, who had a different style and vision of the 21st century technical strategy. The new CEO was a fan of outsourcing IS, and wasn’t even sure if Jack was the right hire. Jack felt blind-sided and found it difficult to gain any traction with the new CEO.


With a new mission, Jack was challenged to adapt, and quickly. He had new options to consider, a relationship with the Interim CEO to build, his own strategy to defend and IT work to get done.

Jack was stuck in his rightness. Tenacious and convinced the Interim CEO was wrong in considering outsourcing IT as a viable solution for the organization, Jack became trapped by a mindset of defending his “turf” and the old strategy. He was going nowhere fast, and his team was growing impatient with his lack of clarity and direction about their priorities.


Coaching provided Jack with the insight and direction he needed to move forward and build credibility with the Interim CEO. He realized that being stuck in his old mindset was preventing him from adjusting to the reality of his new situation, making it impossible for him to create solutions and satisfy his new boss. He was eventually able to reframe his plan to the senior team in a way that gained him support from others. He also was able to present the plan as a means to realize cost-savings for the organization, meeting the needs of the Interim CEO. Mission completed.