Chief Execs Can Also Need Sales Tuition

So Radio 4’s flagship Today news show has a feature called Friday Boss. On Friday 30 November, this came on around 0620GMT. It featured Keith Attwood, Chief Exec of a firm now called e2v.

Previously known as the English Electric Valve Company, back in the day they even won an Emmy for services to the broadcast industry (helping very early tv cameras’ imaging technology with something called an ‘orthicon’).

So, the interviewer wanted to know more. He asked;

“Can you describe the company today, what’s the profile of it?”

The Chief Exec, in post by the way for 14 years, then produced this textbook example of how not to answer such a question.

“Fundamentally we’re an international business.

We’re a specialist technology company.

We operate in very high-end imaging, specialist semi-conductors and RF- and micro-wave, that’s the kind of technology basis that we’re working from.”

35 words (disregarding the ‘ums’), 3 sentences. A matter of seconds to spit out.

Oh dear. Me me me. Typical. And he seemed such a genuine chap too.

I know I bang on about mentioning the problem you uniquely resolve, losing jargon, and show some kind of cause. The above spiel was the polar opposite of any of that essential messaging.

Which pole would your answer gravitate towards?

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