By Venansio Ahabwe
Mr. Naperi was, perhaps, the most courageous person in the company where he was employed; because he was a natural gambler. His daring character came out when the company announced that a new CEO was required, as the current one left. In many companies, the departure of a top executive might create tension and tremors, especially if there has not been an individual groomed to take the mantle.
It was expected that the board would promote Sobando, the deputy CEO but, they suddenly declared that anyone interested in the job should apply. They wanted to provide an open opportunity for all the viable candidates. They did not want to be seen giving favours to anyone, including Sobando, who looked as the obvious option since he was already a deputy CEO.
The recruitment policy of the company demanded competitive procedures for the appointment of staff for senior positions. Therefore, Sobando had to become acting CEO for a temporary period while the search for a substantive one went on. At the same time, Sobando was at liberty to apply and compete with others who would be interested.
However, there was a problem because for any internal staff to apply, he had to resign from the company and attend interviews as though he was an outsider. Therefore, he would stand a high risk of quitting the company altogether if he would be defeated in the interviews. To regain his former job, he would have to reapply and be re-interviewed with others again. Thus, Sobando feared to take such a gamble. When the job was advertised, it was open to all the staff of the company as well as to the public. There would be open competition. Everyone was encouraged to apply but Sobando could not because of the apparent risks and, in the due course, ruled himself out of the race.
On the other hand, a junior staff, Naperi, decided to take a gamble by applying, which made him the only company employee to express interest in becoming the next CEO. Yet, this job was bound to attract a lot of people with solid competencies, experiences, and talents. Whereas it was necessary for the board to consider appointing a candidate who could demonstrate knowledge of and readiness to uphold the ‘company culture’, the procedure was meant to be free of bias.
Naperi, though junior, did not want to make it an issue. He had his own abilities to highlight.He felt that he was technically worthy of the job. He did not have serious administrative experience but believed the biggest asset he needed to succeed as CEO was utmost dedication to the work. When he submitted his application, many people were surprised and amused to hear that he was taking such a gamble.
Many of his colleagues generally acknowledged his capacity to do the job if it were given to him, but also believed that he lacked the required experience for the most senior office in the company. They were shocked to learn that Naperi had to resign before he could apply for the new office; moreover, there was no guarantee that one could revert to the original position in case of failure to get the new one. On his part, Naperi understood that there was no risk of being penalized for presenting himself to vie for the office of CEO, even if his application might be rejected. He wanted to impress the interviewers and secure his place on the shortlist. He thus organised his credentials. In his résumé, he emphasised his technical expertise and underlined the accomplishments he had delivered for the company. He underlined that, as a staff, he had contributed to the strategic direction of the company. True, he was quite far from the power centre, but he managed to exaggerate his capacity and portrayed himself a lot like a daydreamer.
Nevertheless, as a Chinese proverb states, “At the gambling table, there are no fathers and sons,” Naperi was more surprised than excited when his name appeared on the shortlist of six candidates later on. His colleagues at office were surprised too. Sobando, the most senior staff member, was also surprised. When his co-workers noticed that Naperi was among the shortlisted candidates, the discussion shifted to the possibility of his appointment as CEO and its implications to the company as a whole. He had thrown himself in the limelight.
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