There probably aren’t many kids who grow up thinking, “Someday I want to be a Wall Street executive and testify in front of a Senate committee that’s loaded for bear.” Yet, that’s what happened this week for eight or nine executives from Goldman Sachs. Who would have predicted that a few years ago? Probably about as many people who predicted the subprime mortgage crisis that Goldman shorted while selling a lot of their clients the long position. Call me strange if you like, but I spent a lot of the morning listening to the hearing on CNBC while I was working on the second edition of The Next Level (manuscript has to go to the publisher this week, hence the big push). There really wasn’t a lot of light shed on what actually happened but it was interesting to hear all the ways that questions could be asked and not answered. The star of the show had to be Fabian “Fabulous Fab” Tourre, the young Goldman banker who put together a lot of the questionable deals. For the color commentary, check out Dana Milbank’s column in the Washington Post.
The whole issue of predictable and unpredictable situations that executives will face in their career has been on my mind for the past couple of days. One of the appendices in the next edition of the book is an expanded Situation Solutions Guide in which I list a series of situations that executives will predictably face in their careers and provide some tips for how to deal with those situations. As I was thinking through the list last weekend, I put out a question to my friends on Linked In, Facebook and Twitter asking for their take on the situations that executives will likely face. The first person to respond was my blogging friend, Wally Bock at Three Star Leadership. We ended up having a nice conversation and talked through Wally’s experience in advising leaders in how to handle both predictable and unpredictable situations.
So, testifying before Congress is probably on the unpredictable side of the equation. I did, however, hear back from a couple of dozen people with their predictable situations. It’s a really interesting list and I thought you’d want to see it. Here’s my two part request. First, what predictable situation would you add to the list? Second, what’s your best advice for handling one of the situations already on the list? I’d really like to hear from you on either or both questions.
In the meantime, here’s the list. (It’s about a page long. I think you’ll find it worth the read):