#154 from R&D
Innovator Volume 4, Number 4
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.
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