A Quick Exercise of Viewpoints


I’m building out some team-building exercises for software executives…  appreciate any comments or test drives.

Below are two cards for a discussion you can have with someone at your company – find an MBA type if you’re a techie, and vice versa.  Each card has half of a scenario on it.

{Don’t read both halves, or some of the fun is gone. Instead, find a partner and give it a try. You should each pay attention to your language, arguments, emotional reactions, and any claims of authority.}


You’re the CEO of a mid-sized software company. Sales are a bit slow this quarter, and your board has mentioned layoffs if you miss your revenue target. With a week left in the quarter, you’re $600k short.
The East Coast team has a major deal ($500k) ready to sign with a NYC investment bank. It’s been escalated to you, though, because the customer is demanding two enhancements: a custom treasurer’s report and support for their proprietary L4TP security protocol. They want a commitment by EOD tomorrow to deliver these features within 60 days, otherwise they threaten to buy from your competitor. You’ve called your VP Engineering in for a discussion.


You’re the VP Engineering of a mid-sized software company. Your major quarterly release is a few days from shipping, and includes some bug fixes and enhancements that the company’s three largest customers have been grumpily waiting for.
The East Coast team has pulled you into discussions about a hot deal because it needs two engineering items: [1] a trivial new report that one of your mid-level developers can knock out in a day, and [2] a major hack to the product’s security framework for an L4TP protocol that your architects think is fatally flawed. The development lead on your security team (who is traveling this week) was worried that adding this could destabilize the entire product, might take 3 people at least 2 months to build/test, and could put next quarter’s entire plan at risk.
The CEO has called you in for a discussion.


Wow!  Hoping that was fun.

Now put down the cards and do a quick recap.
Any observations about tone? Choice of argument? Relative importance of your various missions? Did either of you get genuinely angry or frustrated?

For extra fun, swap cards and try again. Triple bonus points if neither of you laughs out loud.

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