Case study: “How can I improve?”
Daniela Livorno works as a marketing manager in Rome for a large German company. Her regional manager, Dirk Hatke, is visiting from Berlin. Over lunch, Daniela discusses her personal development with Dirk. The conversation does not go exactly as she expects.
Daniela: Dirk, could I ask you how you see my personal development. How can I improve? Dirk: Well, you definitely need to be better at public speaking. I’ve seen quite a few of your customer presentations. To be honest, it would be good to see you being more assertive, more convincing.
Daniela: Oh, really? That’s the first time you’ve mentioned that. I have an excellent relationship with my customers. I was actually thinking more about developing more brand and marketing skills. I don’t feel strong enough there.
Dirk: Those skills will come with the role. I think you need to focus on communication, and also strategic skills. Your role needs to grow. I feel you’re too operational and not taking enough time to think strategically about the future and alternative business models. The world is changing so fast. Daniela: Yes, maybe. But if I want a regional role in a couple of years, I’ll need to know more about developing international brands. Dirk: Why don’t you think about sales? Step out of the marketing role for a while and work with customers more closely. You should also talk to Marc in R&D. They’re running a lot of really interesting projects. You could learn a lot from him.
Daniela: Yes, but that’s R&D, and working with those people, you know, is never easy for me. I know what I’m good at and I want to focus on my strengths.
Dirk: OK, look, why don’t you think about what I said, and we can discuss this more formally next month during the half-year appraisal. Daniela: OK. Thanks, Dirk.
What to think about
What does Daniela think her personal development priorities are?
What are Dirk’s aims with his feedback?
How well does Daniela react to Dirk’s suggestions? How could Dirk have handled this conversation more effectively?