Dave, Director of Global Alliances and Strategic Partnerships at a top search and advertising company in Silicon Valley. 

The Scenario: Dave was given the opportunity to apply for a new position at his company outside his direct area of experience. During the interview process, Dave met the two people who would report to him as well as his direct supervisor. What Dave didn’t know at the time was that those two team members had also applied for the position he had been selected for. Before Dave’s first week on the job, these two direct reports were upset and might have left the company because they were concerned that someone who had not moved up through the ranks had come in to lead the team.

Their concerns about potential failure were not without merit since their group was under intense pressure to complete a plan for senior managers, who were known to be very hard to please. The team was in danger of breaking down at a critical moment.

The Strategy: To turn breakdown into breakthrough, Dave approached each team member directly to learn about their personal goals. He made it clear that he wanted to help these individuals achieve these objectives together and pointed out his strengths to help them succeed. Dave built a strong relationship with the top executive of the group to highlight the work of others on his team, making sure teammates were given credit where it was due. Dave’s efforts to raise the value of the individuals on his team helped him gain their trust.

The Results: By working as a team and respecting each other, Dave built strong relationships with both team members who had threatened to leave. Dave was able to realize the benefits of focusing on both business outcomes and resilient relationships, thus:

  • Preventing the loss of key team members.
  • Successfully moving up the ladder by getting the feedback he needed.
  • Building credibility and respect by being open to the needs of others without defensiveness.
  • Shifting the heat curve: trusting relationships have a stronger “container” and can hold heat more safely.
  • Attracting others who also value resilient relationships, creating a culture of resilience across the team.