Question 56. Tell me about a time you implemented an initiative and met resistance from the majority of your staff.
situation: At Autumn Affairs, person-to-person contacts and phone interactions between employees were minimal. For the most part, everyone relied on e-mail to communicate.
action: To create a friendlier, more personalized work environment, I implemented a "no e-mail Friday," during which no one was allowed to use e-mail to contact individuals who were in the same building. Everyone was required to get up from his or her desk and speak to the co-worker in person. When the employees needed to communicate with others in another building or a different state, they were required to pick up the phone and call.
result: The one-on-one interactions opened the door to friendships. Employees began to eat lunch together outside of the office and went for walks during their lunch break. This, in turn, increased team cohesiveness and productivity.
Question 57. Recall a time you were successful as a project leader.
situation: At the Ingalls Company, I was assigned to lead marketing and advertising initiatives that encompassed conceptualizing and implementing an integrated marketing program for clients from a broad range of industries.
action: As team leader, I managed a multimillion-dollar program and the launch of marketing campaigns under highly challenging conditions, including market-dominating competitors, downturned markets, and restricted budgets.
result: Along with my team, we built a strong portfolio of quantifiable successes, with recent results including a 40 percent customer base increase for Comfy Slippers, a 68 percent return on investment for National Freights, and a $2 million revenue growth for Control Assets.
Question 58. Tell me about a time when you fired an employee whom you personally got along with.
situation: Rebecca had a great personality and did a stellar job as a graphic designer. Clients raved about her work, but unfortunately she missed every other deadline. She claimed that it was because she was a perfectionist and did not want to submit work before it was finished. Because of her craftsmanship, I allowed her to set deadlines she could meet, as opposed to providing a timetable for her. Regrettably, she kept missing those deadlines as well.
action: Since it is important to make a distinction between someone's personality and their performance on the job, I let her go. The termination did not come as a surprise to her, since we had had several performance-based conversations.
result: Though terminating her employment was not a pleasant experience, my decision was sound and fair. Within a month of the firing, I hired a designer who was just as talented as Rebecca and who met her deadlines.
Question 59. Describe a time when a subordinate disagreed with a task he or she was given. How did you manage the situation?
situation: The human resources director at the Lincoln Project wanted the department to create a "Pocket Employee Reference Guide." He believed that employees' easy access to policies and procedures would improve moral. The human resources generalist who was assigned the task felt that her time could be put to better use. She wanted me to speak to the director about the matter.
action: I listened to her point of view and offered advice. I told her that it was important to choose one's battles carefully. This particular project was not one to fuss over, since the director had already made up his mind.
result: In the end, she completed the pocket guide without expressing further discontent.