October 24, 2020

By Pia Lee, CEO, LIW 

The corporate tradition of giving expensive watches took an ugly time-out yesterday.

Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate was asked to ‘stand aside’ by Prime Minister Scott Morrison pending an investigation into her office’s purchase of Cartier watches worth $3000 each, for four senior employees.  These were a reward for their efforts in brokering a deal with Australian banks to set up banking services at Australia Post offices.

What does this mean for leadership?

Sometimes the intent of a leadership action misaligns with the perception it creates. Failing to think through the potential ‘optics’ from a range of stakeholders’ views in advance can leave the door open for judgement and bigger negative impact.

Probably best to give yourself a minute to decide if there’s an alternative way that the intent can be conveyed.

Any watch can do that.

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