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6. Feedback

Jennings, Ken Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Driving back from the visit to Kepper, Quinn turned onto Thomas Boulevard and parked in front of the Beckley home, a classic American foursquare craftsman house. One could imagine it new in the late 1800s, projecting confidence in the future.

Alex asked, What are you hearing from my team in your interviews?

Do you want to go through this now, Alex? Its been a big day for you already.

I want to hear it—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Well, then, why dont we go inside? My friend Ken Blanchard calls feedback the breakfast of champions. I have my notes with me. If you will make the tea, I will provide the feedback. The two men went inside, chatted of this and that while making their tea, and then sat down together.

Im ready, Alex said, but his body said, Im nervous.

Quinn began. It is clear to everyone that you bring energy and drive to Beckley. But the practices you brought to the company carried unintended consequences.

Ouch, that sounds bad. Alex winced.

Your intentions were good—everyone recognizes that. Quinn reached in his briefcase and pulled out a folder. I interviewed all the members of your senior team to get their very best thinking on several key purpose and performance questions, and I learned that they have common perceptions about whats working and what isnt. Naturally, I also got some outlier responses, and those can be very helpful. But first lets look at the strengths that were described, then well look at whats not working.

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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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1. Hard Drive

Jennings, Ken 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:


Dan Meyers [mailto:dmeyers@beckleymedical.com]


Tuesday, April 19, 2011 11:52 PM


Alex Beckley [mailto: abeckley@beckleymedical.com]


Board meeting follow-up


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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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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14. Reinforcing Alignment

Jennings, Ken Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

After work, Quinn drove Alex to his favorite local restaurant, a chic place called Casbah. Once they were back in Alexs neighborhood, Quinn strolled and Alex hobbled through Frick Park, just around the corner from Alexs house.

Alex got to the point. I have to deal with Nate. I think I knew from the beginning that this was coming. How do I do the right thing? The men walked and talked about the situation with Nate.

After a while Quinn steered the conversation in another direction. Alex, I wish I could tell you Nate is the only problem you have, or that you will ever face, on your journey to a Greater Goal. Hidden in your company are forces that will undermine the hard-fought alignment you have gained. Every company culture has built-in rewards that work in opposition to alignment to the Greater Goal. Identifying and defusing this opposition is critical to achieving ongoing alignment. He pulled a small card from his back pocket and handed it to Alex. Upon unfolding it, Alex looked upon another hand-drawn star with a new practice added.

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