Power Trip: TEAM Employee Becomes CEO for the Day
CEO. Such a mysterious role to so many employees. For one employee at TEAM, that role became much clearer after spending a day as CEO of TEAM Software.
At the end of 2018, TEAM held a silent auction fundraiser to support several local non-profit organizations. One of the items up for auction was CEO for the Day.
“I offered it up primarily to raise money for local charities during the holiday season. We are always looking for creative ways for people to give,” said John Leiferman, TEAM’s CEO. “Secondarily, it was great to demystify the CEO role by sharing the daily experience with an employee.”
Included in CEO for the Day was the opportunity to switch desks, come up with a policy for the day, eat lunch with the CEO and join meetings. Kathryn White, a Marketing and Communications Specialist at TEAM, jumped at the opportunity.
“When I saw the item up for auction, I knew I wanted it,” said Kathryn. “It was for a good cause, I wanted to see what it was like to be CEO, and I wanted John to experience life as a member of our open-office environment.”
Thursday, March 14, 2019 marked the day of the switch. Kathryn was officially promoted to CEO, only five years after starting her career at TEAM as an intern, a quick climb up the corporate ladder. Meanwhile, John became a valued member of the Marketing team. Kathryn showed up ready to go in her power suit. John opted for a casual jeans and sweater look.
The day started off with Kathryn shadowing John, joining him for a client-centered meeting with a couple of other executives.
“The biggest takeaway from the meeting was how much our executives care about our customers,” said Kathryn. “They take time out of their day to focus on our customers’ success, and that to me is an excellent example of TEAM’s value to keep customers first. It has a trickle-down effect.”
Then, the two headed out for lunch at a snug little pub in Omaha.
“I appreciate that having lunch with the CEO is not an unusual thing at TEAM. In fact, I’ve had lunch with him before,” said Kathryn. “All employees are welcome to meet with John or have lunch with him throughout the year, promoting a culture of transparency starting at the top.”
Kathryn wasn’t the only one who enjoyed lunch, though.
“My favorite part of the day was lunch with Kathryn,” said John. “I love connecting with people one-on-one, and she asks such interesting questions, like ‘Based on what I know now, what would I tell 27-year-old me?’.”
After lunch, the two switched desks. John officially joined the Marketing team, working on an email list and editing content. Kathryn sat in John’s office, working through TEAM’s bonus plan for 2019 and fielding questions from numerous individuals.
“I chatted with our VP of Finance, and I even got to ‘sign’ a couple of important documents,” said Kathryn. “I also enjoyed discussing some upcoming roadmap items with members of our Product Management department. Being CEO is a lot of hard work.”
Then, came the real fun. For Kathryn’s policy of the day, she invited all TEAM employees for a celebration, which included root beer and boozy floats. John and Kathryn chatted with employees as they enjoyed their sweet treats, capping off a wonderful day.
“TEAM has a lot of fun around the office,” said Kathryn. “This was just a special way to thank employees for all they do every day. They also raised a lot of money in 2018 for non-profits and for a TEAM employee who was having medical issues, and that’s something to celebrate.”
Overall, the day was a success, giving both Kathryn and John a new perspective.
“It was a great day. We should do more of it,” said John. “I would enjoy working in all TEAM areas during the year, and I’d like to commit to doing so once per quarter even if someone doesn’t want to play CEO for me.”
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