Dalia, a mother of 3 and avid marathon runner, has been living and working in Calgary for one of North America’s largest medical technology manufacturers. In February of 2021, at the height of the pandemic, she was quickly promoted to Vice President of North American Service Operations after the sudden retirement of the incumbent. Dalia was the youngest Vice President in the company’s history to fill the role. Her mandate was to take the organization of 500 service technicians and operators from a traditional cost centre to a profit center in 18 months.
2 years into her new role she was already 30% off target and had made several missteps with other members of the executive team, seemingly unable to get their support on critical decisions she needed for her function to succeed. Her CEO was taking notice.
“Everything I’ve been doing just isn’t working”, she said. “I’ve never failed at anything before. I just don’t know what to do.”
Dalia had participated in more leadership development and business school programs than she could remember. They played a large part in her rapid rise from technician to the managerial ranks early in her career. But her newest promotion was unlike anything she had ever experienced before. No matter how hard she tried to draw on her experiences and training, nothing prepared her for the complexity and ambiguity leading at the enterprise level. It wasn’t new skills or knowledge that she needed.
It was something else, something deeper. Dalia learned about a critical but often neglected element that high performing leaders possessed – a strong, personal story – a leadership narrative – that serves as a source of personal inspiration and meaning, helping to navigate through challenges and motivating others to action.
Working with a supportive group of peers and expert coaches in Verity’s Leadership Narrative Experience program, Dalia embarked on a transformative journey to develop her leadership narrative. It built her confidence, reconnected her to her most important values and beliefs about who she was as a person and what she hoped to achieve through her leadership, and, most importantly, enabling her to see herself and her leadership in a different way – more inclusive, more impactful and more purposeful.
Dalia gained a new confidence to speak up in senior leadership meetings on topics she felt passionate about, collaborate more effectively with her peers, and engage and inspire her team. Now, three years into her new mandate Dalia leads one of the most profitable businesses in the organization and has been identified as a potential CEO succession candidate.