A FTSE CEO once invited me along when he was going ‘walkabout’ around his company. This was a great opportunity for me as his speechwriter. Going walkabout is one of the biggest tests of any leader. This is when you learn what they’re really like. A whole day cannot be acted: sooner or later the mask must slip, producing one of those ‘moments of truth’ when a person’s real identity is revealed. One of my best friends has met his CEO three times. Each time, they have exactly the same conversation. ‘What’s your name?’ ‘And what do you do?’ ‘That sounds very important. Keep it up.’ His boss fails that ‘moment of truth’.
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