Here are two examples:
- About 30 years ago, Paul Zeven was “a little bit green” in his job for Philips Electronics when a vendor tried to bribe him. He sat across from a retailer when a Rolex watch “started moving across the table during the discussion.”
At first he thought, “Hey, he wants me to have this watch.” Then he realized that if he accepted the bribe, “I would be lost. You set the patterns in your life, and if I took the watch, I would lose my standards.”
To deflect the offer, Zeven—now chief executive for Philips North America—pushed back the watch when he reached for his coffee.
- Later in his career, Zeven worked as the deputy for a leader who showed that you need to expect a lot and trust even more.
The leader wanted his team to complete a two- to three-year project in one year. “We all said we could not do it,” Zeven recalls.
But the leader asked what they’d need, promised his support, encouraged them and let them handle it. He never bullied them.
“We started to think: If he believes in it—and believes in us—why not believe in ourselves?” Zeven says. With their boss backing them up, they made the product and had it approved in a year.
“I never have forgotten that experience,” the veteran says. “He showed us that he trusted we could do it, and we did.”