The Million Dollar Smartphone

How is a phone worth a million dollars? The answer is captured in one word: Presence. Got your attention? Good, you are present. I’ve been working with a large manufacturing company recently, helping the senior management teams improve their performance by exploring better ways of working together. During these sessions an interesting phenomenon emerged.  Some of the top management in the business have become heavy users of smartphones to the extent that they bring them in to meetings. Not a problem you may think.  Not unusual too. In one particular meeting the lead executive was attending a briefing about managing the product portfolio.  A decision had been made to manage out one of the question mark products (see earlier post ) The lead exec spent the meeting tapping away on his smartphone during the briefing.  A dispiriting experience for the team presenting.

  • Later this same executive led the negotiations to sell the technology to another company.
  • He thought the negotiation had gone rather well
  • It had.
  • It had gone well for the buyer rather than the seller.

The product had been sold for less than its true value and the lead executive’s company had retained the liabilities for product failure after it had been sold. The cost of this mistake?  you guessed it…..  about a million dollars. Attending meetings is not just about being there.  It is about being Present.

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