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8. Unintended Consequences

Jennings, Ken Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

A week later Alex got a very early morning visit from Matt Joachim, the head of human resources.

Have a seat, Alex said, waving him in. The two men caught up on a few personal matters before they got down to business.

Whats up, Matt? Alex finally prodded.

Well, since our team meeting last week, Ive been thinking a lot about alignment and doing some investigation on my own.

Great! Alex encouraged.

This has been right under my nose, but Ill just tell it to you straight up. Ive been wondering why we have so many medical products in the pipeline barely inching their way forward. What could be going on here? Im no engineer, but I am a pretty good human resources guy.

You are, Alex agreed.

Well, I started interviewing our engineers, asking what they were doing day to day—how they were spending their time and allocating their efforts to products—and I found something rather remarkable and disturbing.

You have my attention, Alex noted and he leaned forward.

Each engineer, Matt continued, pushing a graph across the table to Alex, has been distributing time across an average of six or more products.

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15. Dinner and a Guest

Jennings, Ken Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Saturday at last! Alex and Rachel were cooking—their third Saturday feast together. This time it was to be Italian like Mom used to make. In their warm, country-style kitchen, the two wore matching red-and-white checked aprons. The ingredients were laid out on the center island in an orderly fashion—at least on Alexs side. On Rachels side, the ingredients were laid out more creatively. Rachel read from the recipe. She added her own impromptu suggestions as they went along. Grandma stayed in the background, only coaching when she thought there was a threat of serious injury.

Beside the stove, Rachel had propped up pictures of her mother. I want Mom to be part of this, she said. In forty-five minutes the kitchen resembled a sort of expressionist painting. Colorful ingredients were splashed about on the counters and on the cooks. A daughters improv was meeting with a fathers deliberate approach. Somewhere in the middle, something marvelous was happening.

Just then, the doorbell rang. Alex wandered through the foyer to the front door. He opened it, and there he was—John J. Williams, the man theyd encountered when leaving the co-op!

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9. Challenge

Jennings, Ken Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The next day, Alex wheeled down to Nates office. Once the two friends were in conversation, Alex quickly realized that Nate was more than a little upset.

Nate politely inquired about Alexs health, his daughter, and his mother and then launched into his grievances. They were mostly directed at Kevin, Quinn, and the Greater Goal thing.

I cant believe youre supporting this stuff, Nate said, practically sneering. What happened to you? Did the crash rattle your brain?

Alex just listened. He had brought Nate into Beckley with him. When Nate finished, Alex said, Nate, give this a chance. I need you.

Nate frowned and twisted in his chair. He wasnt happy, but he agreed, Okay, youve got me, boss. But as soon as Alex left, Nate called several other people in the company to commiserate and conspire to resist the Greater Goal Takeover. He had to save the company and save Alex from himself.

Quinn drove Alex home that night. Alex was quiet, but Quinn drew him out. Quinn, I like what were planning with this warehouse session, but it is different from anything Ive ever done. What if people dont participate or buy in?

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13. Greater Goal Coaching

Jennings, Ken Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Alexs assistant overheard the whole exchange with Dr. Stan and stepped back into Alexs office to comment, Isnt that great? I do wish your dad was here to see that. By the way, Quinn is here to see you.

As Alex waited for Quinn to come in, he looked around his office. Posted on all four walls were enlarged pictures of the whiteboards from the warehouse sessions with the goals and initiative descriptions. Almost metaphorically they covered up many pieces of Alexs past accomplishments. He smiled to himself as he realized how much he appreciated the current office artwork. Quinn joined him in his office and also noticed the new dcor. What do you think of whats happened, Alex?

Amazing, Alex answered. I just had Dr. Stan in here giving me some great stories. Just amazing—I never knew there were so many great ideas and such great energy for our Greater Goal. I guess when you constantly just tell people what to do, you never really tap into the greatness that lies within them. His voice betrayed some sadness.

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16. Building on Success

Jennings, Ken Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Promising to share the fifth and final practice of high-purpose–high-performance organizations, Quinn had picked Alex up for a ride in his restored 1968 black Chevy Corvette. After a cruise through the East End, making their way to the downtown freeway interchanges, Quinn and Alex were soon roaring up the wide-open interstate between Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

I actually talked to you about this next organization way back when I first met you. You are going to love it! By the way, Alex, I hear that you got John J. Williams an interview at Beckley. Good idea.

Alex noted the small curve of a smile on Quinns face as the Corvette accelerated with a deep rumble. You like driving this, dont you? Alex asked the obvious.

Oh yeah, Quinn responded, mimicking an American accent and response. I love the drive over to my client, the Cleveland Wellness Network—it gives me a chance to get out the Vette. He grinned. Its classic American muscle.

Driving is one of my favorite things to do. When I was growing up in Scotland, my dad was a traveling minister. He had a red MG-B convertible. I loved our time in the car, just the two of us being buddies. Mom said it was a questionable car for a preacher, but I think she really loved how much he enjoyed it. And on those drives my dad listened to me, really gave me all his attention. Maybe thats why I love to drive.

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