“Welcome to the second phase of our executive orientation program,” said Blake to the four new executive employees who joined the company.

After dealing with many headhunters and recruiters, Blake and his team could finally find four people who they thought could be fit for prominent roles in the company.

Blake is the CEO of the company. Due to his hailing health, he needed to go on sabbatical urgently. However, it has always been a family company and he did not have his own children or relatives to take over the company. Blake came from another state and did not have too many relatives. And, Blake was not so confident about the current seniors in the company. Neither were most of them interested to take over the position as they knew that the company had bold ambitions and is looking forward to expand its horizons.

Finally, Blake came up with the idea of hiring a leader from outside. After frantic search, they could zero in on four people. Blake initially planned to train them under his supervision for six months and he could use this time to judge them and find a leader from among them. However, after a recent stroke, he was told to relinquish his duties at the earliest. He had to immediately choose an heir to the company.

Going by credentials and skills, the four seemed to be on part with each other. When Monica asked him how he would rate in a short span of one week, he said that he will test their character during the course of this year. He told her that he needed her help to execute an excellent plan to expose their true colors.

“We have a three month training program and you will be assessed all along during the course of these three months. You will be assigned roles and portfolios based on your performance during the course of these three months. Monica will come in a few minutes and give the folders with instructions to each one of you, ” said Blake to Tim, John, Roger, and Brian.

They waited for nearly an hour. Monica did not turn up to the conference room. After an hour, they heard some noise outside the conference room and they all rushed out to see what was happening.

Blake was shouting at a girl who worked in the finance department. Blake said, “How can you steal so much money? What did you do with the money, Christine? How could you do this to the company that has helped you during your difficult times?”

Christine, in a defiant tone, said, “I did not steal the money. Please do not blame for someone else’s mistake.”

Blake and Christine argued for some time. After some time, Charles, the HR manager, stepped in and requested Blake to go to his chambers. He also asked Christine to go to her cubicle. Before that, he said, “Our legal department has appointed people who would investigate this matter. Until then, let us not come to conclusions about the incident that has taken place.”

The four executives also went back into the conference room. Monica came in after a few minutes. She said, “I’m sorry I could not come earlier because of that scam that happened there.”

Tim asked, “Are you sure it is a scam? I thought it is yet to be proved.”

Monica said, “I believe in Blake. He owns this company. Why would he blame someone without reason?”

John said, “I thought so too. There is something fishy about that girl.”

Roger did not say anything.

Brian said, “Can we go ahead with our training plan? Blake told us that you are going to give us folders regarding our training?”

Monica said, “Actually. We have a situation. Blake asked me to prepare the document last week. But, I did not get time to go there as I was swamped with work. I told Blake that you people have to wait for one more day. So, I’d request you guys to go to your assigned cubicles and while away for today. We’ll meet at the same time tomorrow and we can start the training process.”

Roger said, “How can you do that? Did you really tell Blake about this? Let me go and check with Blake.”

Roger rushed out of the room and headed over to Blake’s office.

Blake told him that he knew about the delay and that they need to wait for one more day. Blake did not like the fact that Roger did not believe an employee and her words and the fact that he was too fast in complaining against her.

Tim asked, “Can you at least share information about the resources such as library?”

Monica shared all the basic details.

Tim, John, Roger, and Brian left for their cabins.

After some time, Christine knocked Tim’s door and got into his cubicle. She said, “I’m sorry for disturbing you. But, I thought I could share my story with somebody new to this company. All the existing people are frightened of Blake and they are taking his side. I need someone to listen to my story. If you have the time, can I share the details?”

Tim agreed and asked her to sit. He asked her to share her details.

Christine said, “Blake and I were part of this conference that happened a couple of weeks ago. During the course of the conference, Blake successfully settled a deal and we were paid handsomely for it. In fact, we were paid 65 millions for a project. This is one of the prestigious projects that we have been waiting for a long time. As always, I handled the technical aspects of the money transfer. I transferred all the money to our corporate account. But, Blake says that I hoarded some of the money and I transferred only 30 million dollars. I don’t know what do do. He has restricted my access to the system to gather the documents that prove my innocence. I think he is seeking vengeance as I was not nice to him when he flirted with me during the conference. Please help me. I need the advice of senior folks like you. Tell me what I should do in this case.”

Tim said, “Thanks for telling your story. I’m new to this company. There is nothing more I can do than being a supporting shoulder. Or, give me some time. I’ll talk to a couple of folks outside the company and seek some advice on this matter.”

Christine went to meet John and shared the same story with him. John said, “If you stole the money, you have to admit it. No amount of drama will help. Trust me. All of us have this instinct and need for money. But, you should not indulge in such acts. Now, I’d suggest you go and admit your mistakes. And, don’t even try to convince me that you did not steal the money. Why would Blake waste his time scolding you and keep the reputation of this company at stake if he is not sure that you committed the crime.”

Christine went away from his cabin crying.

Christine met Roger after some time. She shared her sad story with him. Roger listened to her patiently. Once she is done, he immediately rushed to Blake’s chambers and said, “Blake, you need to listen to this girl.”

Blake shouted at both of them. He said, “The HR team has asked me not to speak about this anymore. So, any mediation will not help.”

Roger gave up the idea of helping her.

Christine met Brian and shared her story with him the same way she did with the other three.

Brian listened to her intently. He immediately called up Monica on her desk number and asked her the phone numbers of the legal department.

Brian called up the legal chief and said, “I’m Brian and a new executive who joined this company last week. I came to know that you are handling a case about Christine involving some financial scam. She came here and is seeking my advice. I do not have access to the legal documents. So, I thought I’ll check with you if I can talk to her about this and try to help her out.”

The legal chief said, “You are allowed to give her any advice. But, you cannot mediate on your own between Christine and Blake. If you find out something, you have to share with our team. That will help speed up our process.”

Brian said, “Alright, Christine. I will not say that I don’t trust you. But, can you share any details that will prove your innocence. Here is a paper. List out the details of the transactions as you can recollect and you think will prove your innocence.”

Christine did as she was suggested.

Brian walked to the legal department and handed them the paper.

The next day, Blake, Monica, and Christine walked into the conference room where the four executives were waiting for the training.

Blake said, “Tim could not help her and instead thought of sharing the details with outsiders. John was too judgmental and did not even try to hear her. Roger tried to handle the situation on his own and thought that he can mediate with me. There is nothing wrong with any of these approaches. But, they are not perfect for the given situation. Brain talked with the legal department and followed protocol. That helped me decide the next top executive of the company. I was looking for someone who would follow the protocol and believe in proper corporate governance ethics. Thanks, Brian, for making it easy for me. I thought I might have to have another role play to select the top executive.”