In his book, Winners Dream: A Journey from Corner Store to Corner Office, SAP chief executive Bill McDermott talks about the efforts he made as he was coming up the ladder to make an excellent first impression. Imagine this first impression: Causing your boss to sprain his ankle. McDermott told me the story during our Leadership Agenda interview published in Monday's Philadelphia Inquirer.
Last week, "we had a holiday party," at SAP's campus in Newtown Square, began McDermott, who is tall and thin and plays basketball once a week.
At the party, "I met a guy who had a basketball game with me when he first started his career here 12 years ago," McDermott said.
The employee told McDermott about the game. McDermott went up for a layup and the employee blocked him, rolling McDermott's ankle. "`I'll never forgot that you crawled off the court and I'm thinking my whole career is gone,'" McDermott said the employee told him at the party. McDermott said he had forgotten the whole incident, but the employee remembered that McDermott graciously said, `Dude, it's part of the game.'
Twelve years later, the employee is still at the company and recently landed a promotion.