#154 from R&D Innovator Volume 4, Number 4          April 1995

FORUMófrom our readers

Wow!  A Trip Abroad With the Executives!

Iím an R&D manager with a small European company, and want to discuss my experience during a one-week business trip in the U.S.A.  The tour involved visiting five large companies that were interested in possible linkages with us.  I was the only R&D representative on this trip.  The president, vice president of finance, and vice president of business development were my co-travelers.

My duty was to handle technical questions the others didnít feel comfortable answering.  However, I never felt comfortable, as my executive trio kept me out of most discussions on strategy, importance of establishing these relationships, and other topics relevant to this trip.  I felt somewhat like a secretary or porter to them.  I was the one assigned to stand in line at auto rental counters, drive the car, and carry the largest briefcase (itís not that I was the most able-bodied).  During meals with our hosts, I was virtually ignored by my executives.  In contrast, the U.S. executives felt comfortable chatting with meóeven after they found out I was merely an R&D manager.

There were many long hours when it was just the four of us, but I never felt I was a part of ďourĒ team, just an appendage.  It was rare when any of the executives would make small talk with me.  I donít believe anyone specifically instructed them not to; rather, I felt that they were obediently following the attitude of the presidentóa very haughty type.

While their infrequent ďmixingĒ with underlings at the company site used to be seen as a result of being too busy, the excuse didnít hold for this trip.

Itís funny that what frequently popped into my mind was a scene, several months prior, when the president gave an impassioned speech before the entire company, stressing that teamwork had to be improved!  Iíll bet that the company will never have effective teamworkónot when it clearly isnít practiced from the top.

Iím sure that they never considered that the consequences of the way they treated me would end up influencing the company in a negative way.  Will my dedication to the company be the same?  Absolutely not!  Not for those insensitive executives at the helm! 

I wonder if the way I was treated was noted by the people we visited?  I wonder if that had some influence on the outcome of the trip, which didnít result in any of those companies following up on a possible relationship with us?

Anonymous

1-50  51-100  101-150  151-200  201-250  251-300
301-350  351-400  401-450  451-500 501-550  551-600
601-650

©2006 Winston J. Brill & Associates. All rights reserved.