76 Slices
Medium 9781609949600

When the Student Is Ready

Mark Miller Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The next morning Clint was up early, so Blake was up early also. While he drank his coffee, he thought about how much Debbie Brewster had helped him after his dad died. He still found it amazing that his dad had mentored Debbie years earlier when she was a struggling leader and then she had then become his mentor.

He credited Debbie with helping him get his job at Dynastar by coaching him through the entire process. She had taught him so much about growing as a leader. He wasn’t sure where he’d gotten off track. He was also not sure why he ever stopped meeting with her in the first place. He hoped that she could help him again.

On his way to the office, he gave her a call. Fortunately, but not surprisingly, she was eager to meet with him.

“You name the time and place,” Debbie said.

“How about our old spot at the coffee shop?” Blake said.

“Fantastic. When?”

“Tomorrow morning, early?” said Blake. He didn’t think he should schedule a meeting in the evening; he knew Megan needed his help at home.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781626563940

Game Plan

Mark Miller Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

On the way back to the office, Blake called Alex. “Please see if everyone on the leadership team is in the office today. If they are, call a meeting for 2:00.” Although Blake believed the business was generally headed in the right direction, he agreed with Jack—they needed more focus on execution.

At 2:00, Blake began. “Thanks for coming on such short notice. I had a good meeting today with Jack, and we talked about the fourth move we need to make to create a high performance organization—Excel at Execution.”

“Isn’t that what we’ve been working on?” Charles asked.

“Yes and no,” Blake said. “The yes part: we are making good plans and laying the groundwork for the future. The no part: we are not moving with enough urgency. Our conversations have been focused on the first three moves, and we’ve not done enough to improve our execution. Regardless of what we’re working on, we can never forget we must execute. Ultimately, we want to excel in this arena. Right now, we’re playing catch-up.”

See All Chapters
Medium 9781626563940

What’s Next?

Mark Miller Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

In the weeks leading up to the planning retreat, a new energy swept the company. The leaders were talking with their team members about what was important and how they might keep score. The ideas generated were diverse—some more creative than others. But all the metrics were effective in letting everyone know the score. They included time to fill a customer’s order, accuracy, returns, waste, and overall customer satisfaction. On the Marketing team, Suzy led the group to think beyond sales to the source of sales; they set goals around sales from new customers as well as existing customers. They also decided the size of the order was a good metric to consider. All in all, Blake was pleased. Real, substantive conversations about the business were happening all across the organization.

Blake was also glad he had another meeting with Jack before the retreat. They met in their usual place, and, yes, Jack was playing chess when he arrived.

After the game, Jack said, “Did you make any moves since we last met?”

See All Chapters
Medium 9781609940935

Enlightened Self-Interest

Mark Miller Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The first two visits had been remarkable. Debbie was extremely pleased and not really surprised that Sam and the general had very similar ideas about how to help teams excel.

As they prepared for their next visit, the team talked with the headquarters staff for the restaurant company and explained the objective of the meeting. It was suggested that the visit be with a local restaurant and not the headquarters. This was certainly not what Debbie had in mind. She was skeptical that her team could learn from a restaurant company to start with, and now, they would be meeting with the local staff, not the organization’s leadership. This would be very interesting.

The good news in all this was that because it was local, Jo could participate in a field visit. The team asked Bob and Steve to join Debbie and Jo.

Before the visit, Bob sensed Debbie’s reluctance and said, “Listen, this is perfect. If we’re going to help our leaders take their teams to the next level, that’s going to have to happen in hundreds of individual teams around the world. It’s not going to happen at the home office. This is a great opportunity to get some insight into how teams might work in the real world.”

See All Chapters
Medium 9781626563940

It’s Your Move

Mark Miller Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The business continued to improve—or so it seemed. The team was now interacting between meetings. Suzy was doing much better than anyone expected. She was open to feedback, and she asked outstanding questions. Blake hired a temporary assistant, Alex, so Suzy could focus on her new role. Then, on the day before Blake’s next meeting with Jack, things took a turn—a big turn—for the worse.

Blake had arrived early to slay the email dragon before it grew in strength. He had made several positive changes over the previous weeks, and the number of messages was steadily decreasing. His team now owned many of the issues once funneled directly to him. From his perspective, this was a very good sign. However, quite a few messages still made their way to him. This morning, he found one that captured his full attention. The subject line read, “We’re Done!”

As Blake quickly read the message, his heart rate increased. He scrolled back to the top to confirm the sender—unfortunately, it was their biggest client. They were leaving. They were not satisfied with the service, the product, or the attitude of Blake’s company.

See All Chapters

See All Slices