76 Slices
Medium 9781626561984

The Opportunity

Ken Blanchard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

How can leadership be this hard? One year ago today was the happiest day of my life. I had arrived! Only four years out of college, and my company had moved me into a leadership position: director of corporate client services for the southeast sales region. I knew I could handle the job, because I’d started from our catalog call center, fielding customer requests and complaints. Then I was promoted to a project manager, working closely with sales and our corporate clients. Whatever the salespeople promised our customers, I delivered. And if I do say so myself, I was good at getting our corporate clients what they needed, when and where they needed it. I got all kinds of kudos for developing outstanding relationships with clients. I was sure I could make my staff do the same.

A year ago, I was on top of the world. Today, I’m holding on for dear life and might lose my job. What happened? What went wrong?

With those thoughts, Debbie Brewster pulled into the parking lot at the public library. She knew she could never have an uninterrupted day in the office. Besides, her boss had always encouraged her to take some time every month to step back and Assess what had happened, Affirm what was working, and make Adjustments as needed. She had always been too busy to actually try it, but today was different. Drastic times demand drastic measures.

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Medium 9781609943035

Walking toward Wisdom

Ken Blanchard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Debbie and Blake had agreed to meet in the coffee shop but Blake asked if they could meet later than usual. Debbie had no problem with that.

This time, Debbie arrived first. Blake came rushing in, still five minutes early, but feeling as if he were late.

Before he even said hello, Blake said, “Sorry, I’m late.” He was almost out of breath.

“Good evening, Blake,” Debbie said. “You’re not late.”

“I knew it was going to be close. I had a meeting this evening.”

“That’s a little unusual,” Debbie said. “Why’d you guys meet so late?”

“Oh, it wasn’t a meeting at work. I decided to look for a way to apply a few of your GROW concepts outside work.”

“Good for you! What’d you come up with?” Debbie asked with a smile.

“As you know,” he began, “I’ve been fairly busy. But I didn’t want to use that as an excuse. Instead, I started reviewing my notes, looking for a way to multitask.”

“You were looking for a way to multitask regarding your leadership development?”

“Yes, I wanted to Reach Out to Others in a way that fits with who I am and what I’m passionate about. Do you remember when we talked about my strengths and passions?”

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Medium 9781609943035

Moving Forward

Ken Blanchard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Three weeks elapsed before Blake’s exams were over and Debbie had a free afternoon. The meeting was scheduled for the same coffee shop. Again, they both arrived early.

“Good afternoon!” Debbie said. “How are you?”

“I’m okay,” Blake said. The truth was, he was still grieving over his father’s death.

“Getting used to losing a loved one takes time,” Debbie said gently. “Did you have time to think through the things we discussed at the end of our first meeting?”

“I did. Just as I feared, I don’t know the answers to all the questions.”

“That’s okay. I rarely know all the answers to my own questions,” Debbie said with a grin. “And that really doesn’t diminish the power of the question. Often the search for the answer is just as valuable as the answer itself. Let’s see what you’ve come up with so far.”

They began to discuss Blake’s strengths and passions. Blake was very talented, so this was a fascinating conversation.

“It’s easy to see Jeff’s influence on your life,” she said. “After just twenty minutes, we’ve identified the following about you: You’re comfortable meeting people. You enjoy working with children—you were a camp counselor during your high school years. You’re a good student—a high GPA and other test scores helped you get into a prestigious university. You majored in business administration with a minor in marketing. And you’re athletically inclined—you played several sports growing up and are still an avid skier.”

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Medium 9781626561984

What’s Most Important?

Ken Blanchard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Debbie began the new week by working on the questions Jeff had given her. She knew she had not done a good job of Seeing the Future. The only future she was pursuing was keeping up with the sales folks and the client needs. While she knew these were important concerns, she recognized that the SERVE model Jeff had described represented a higher level of thinking and a higher level of leadership.

Numerous leaders who were able to See the Future and provide direction came to Debbie’s mind. Many were historical figures: John F. Kennedy and his desire to put a man on the moon; Martin Luther King Jr. and his dream of harmony among people of all racial backgrounds; Mother Teresa and her vision of comfort for the suffering people of India.

As she thought about creating a compelling vision, Debbie remembered one of Jeff’s first presentations after he arrived at the company. In that talk, he stated his belief that their business was not about selling—it was about serving the customers and meeting their needs. Serving? He talks about serving all the time. And now, he’s teaching me that great leaders SERVE. I get the sense he’s sincere about this concept of serving.

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Medium 9781609940935


Mark Miller Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

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