27 Slices
Medium 9781576754504

Directing the Charge

John Stahl-Wert Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

I’ve only told you part of the story, David.” Matt was sitting in his mentor’s apartment suite—a bedroom, bath, and sitting room David occupied within the larger sprawling ranch house— on the large leather couch, his pajama-clad friend across from him in the massive armchair.

When Matt knocked on David’s door, it had opened almost immediately, his friend looking totally awake, almost expectant. Matt had lain in bed for the greater part of an hour—another too-early wake-up facilitated by his New York body clock— and finally arose with resolve to pad his way down the hall to the door he’d seen David enter the night before. He’d felt stupid doing this, stupid and weak, but he did it anyway. It was his night, he figured, his turn to wake up the old man. Every hour he spent on this ranch made him feel more like one of the youths and less like one of the grown-ups.

“My problems aren’t just at work.” Matt made this comment with the grim resolve of a penitent determined to tell his confessor the rest of the story.

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Medium 9781576754504

The Climb of Trust

John Stahl-Wert Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The newness of everything around him—and the strangeness of it all—made it seem to Matt that the volume button had been turned up on all his senses. Only one week had passed since he’d hung up the phone with David, one short week and then a few hours of flight. But the life he’d led seemed so distant now, the world he left a gray and shadowy place.

Matt’s flight that morning to Colorado Springs had been smooth, and halfway across the small parking lot from the airport to his rental car, he had stopped, propped his wheeled suitcase against a post, and looked around. The closeness of the sky amazed him, as did its blueness and its size. He took a breath, a big breath, and then another.

He’d driven slowly, a tourist to this new world, a child on his first outing. Driving northwest out of Colorado Springs, Matt wound his way in and around the colossal burnt umber rock outcroppings of the Garden of the Gods and climbed ever higher, Pike’s Peak rising to nearly three miles’ elevation to the west. And then he’d found the entrance sign for “High Summit Ranch,” a smaller placard reading “Wild Mustang Adoption Program.” After driving up the ranch’s long and winding lane, he’d been greeted with a father’s embrace by David. He’d been immediately ushered into a spacious dining hall for a late private lunch and then out to the ranch’s horse stables. His transfiguration from suited executive to denim-clad ranch guest had happened so quickly, and what he now stood face-to-face with threatened to overwhelm his senses altogether.

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Medium 9781609942885

9. Challenge

Ken Jennings 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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Medium 9781609942885

1. Hard Drive

Ken Jennings Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

At 5:30 a.m., with late summer thunder rumbling in his ears, Alexander Beckley slumped in his chair, staring at his computer screen. Every now and then, lightning flickered across his face. The monitor glowed in the dark, highlighting the divot in Alexs nose—a souvenir of his college boxing career. Another flash of lightning revealed the worry lines and a little gray in his short blond hair. Alex didnt blink. His head felt hot, his stomach felt cold, and his heart was somewhere north of his Adams apple. All he could see were the words glaring back at him:

From:

Dan Meyers [mailto:dmeyers@beckleymedical.com]

Sent:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 11:52 PM

To:

Alex Beckley [mailto: abeckley@beckleymedical.com]

Subject:

Board meeting follow-up

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Alex,
Hearing strong feedback from the board on last nights call.
They know you are working hard, but frustration levels are rising.
Call me to talk.

It was signed by the board chair and acting CEO, Dan Myers. Alex knew he was now in danger of losing the support of the company his father had founded. I will fail him even in this, he thought, watching light flash across the room.

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Medium 9781576754504

Mounting the Challenge

John Stahl-Wert Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Matt’s eyes opened with a start, his body electrified by the sound of a cry he was sure had been real. He’d just been dreaming that he was searching for a child who was lost, and in his dreams he had heard the child—a son—calling for help. But the cry that awakened him was surely not from his dream; it was too vivid and startling to be a dream, and it had punched a lucid hole right into the heart of his hazy, half-volume dream of searching and loss.

His eyes wide open now, he couldn’t see a thing. The bright digital bedside clock wasn’t shining out the time from its customary place to his right. And the light from the streetlamp outside his bedroom window was gone, the window itself indiscernible in the blackness that surrounded him. Stranger still, Matt couldn’t hear anything—no horns, no buses, no sirens, no screeching brakes, no air conditioners thrumming like a plague of locusts.

And no one crying.

Matt reached to his left, feeling for the warmth of his wife asleep beside him. He was alone—lying in a narrow single bed— and realizing this, he remembered where he was. The reaching motion made his body complain loudly from a great number of muscle groups. He grimaced and recalled the awkward and jarring blows he’d taken atop a horse the day before. His chest felt heavy, too, the thin air adding its own toll to his weariness.

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