Toronto Star asked readers what they would ask the team’s new leader if they had the chance. The top 10 question were provided to Phaneuf who graciously did his best to answer them. It was an opportunity to do some reflection but he did his best to try to stick with a particular message - the Leafs will make the playoffs and I'm not going to change the way I play the game. I was a little underwhelmed.
As I looked over the questions I thought that in some respects they were very similar to questions you might get in a job interview. So I decided to tweak some of the questions to make them sound like interview questions for a foreman or team leader position in a business and tried to make his responses fit. This is what I came up with:
Q: Previous supervisors in this department brought to the table many favourable attributes, yet they could not meets its perfomance targets. What do you bring that’s different that would help this department to achieve its goals?
A: I’m not going to change the way that I work or the way that I lead. I'm a guy who is going to lead by example. I want to be known as a guy who works hard day-in, day-out. I think I have that characteristic and I don’t want to change that. I think that’s probably the main way I’m going to lead, by example.
Q: How many years will it take for the department to return to be a top preformer?
A: To be honest with you, our goal from the start of next year is to meet our performance targets and that’s all we’re focusing on right now. Everyone is excited. Our goal next year is to be a perform at a high level.
Q: What will be your biggest challenge in motivating this team to achieving their goals?
A: I don’t think there’s going to be much of a challenge at all for us to be motivated to achieving our goals. Every guy in our departmentwants to meet our goals and that’s the bottom line.
Q: If you were to be the successful candidate for this position, what’s the one aspect of your own performance you think you need to change or improve?
A: Like I said, I’m not going to change the way that I work so I’m definitely not going to change anything in my approach. I’m going to get better and continue to learn. Every day I want to improve.
Q: As you know, the 5 years have been less than ideal for this company, and especially our customers. How would you, as a supervisor, plan to get this department out of the gutter and turn it into a high performing group in the next year or two? Customers love us, but are growing impatient.
A: The company has phenomenal customers. I want to do everything in my power to provider high quality service and, like I said, that’s our goal right away.
Q: Let's just say the department falls behind in achieving its goals; the effort has not been there and you need the pick things up. How would you get your group going?
A: You’re in that situation sometimes. You don’t want to be but you’re not going to be up at the end of every day or week. That’s the way business works. You’re not going to be perfect game every day but the important thing is to keep working, don’t change your approachand do what your goup does best. You don’t want to change your game plan, just keep going. Whether you’re down or whether you’re up, you want to work the same way.
Q: How annoying is it to have to deal with senior management? Do you not wish they would act rationally and ask poignant and intelligent questions for once?
A: It’s not difficult at all, to be completely honest with you. When you’re asked a question, all you can do is answer it and give the best answer you can.
Thank you very much Dion for coming in to meet with us. We will get back to you on our decision by the end of the week. Good luck.