76 Chapters
Medium 9781609949600

Self-Assessment

Miller, Mark Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Rate each of the following statements using the following scale: 1 = Never; 2 = Rarely; 3 = Sometimes; 4 = Often; 5 = Always

Hunger for Wisdom

I see my personal development as one of my highest priorities.

_____

My calendar reflects the high priority I place on the pursuit of wisdom.

_____

I invest time on a regular basis with people who help me grow.

_____

Self-evaluation and reflection play an active role in my pursuit of wisdom.

_____

Expect the Best

When difficulties arise I remain optimistic.

_____

My “expect the best” outlook impacts all areas of my life.

_____

I consistently demonstrate an “expect the best” attitude.

_____

I am able to grasp reality and maintain my optimism.

_____

Accept Responsibility

I accept responsibility for my effort and outcomes.

_____

I willingly accept responsibility for the work of those I lead.

_____

When outcomes are not good, I look to my role in the situation first.

_____

When outcomes are good, I am quick to give praise.

_____

Respond with Courage

I am willing to make tough decisions.

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Epilogue

Miller, Mark Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The next six months were crazy, frustrating, exhilarating days for Blake and the team. There was so much to do that the team ultimately decided they needed to scale back the plan for the upcoming year. They didn’t abandon any of the moves; they just decided to implement their plan a little more slowly—“narrow the focus,” as Jack would say. This made the implementation of their ideas much easier.

Performance continued to improve. In retrospect, it made perfect sense—if you invest in your leadership; ensure the entire organization understands your purpose, mission, and values; leverage people’s strengths and help them pursue their dreams; and create systems to enable great performance. It works!

The most frustrating part of the entire journey was the realization some of their employees didn’t want to play chess—they were more than happy with checkers. Those people had to go.

As the company grew stronger and stronger, its reputation and market share grew as well. So much so, Blake was surprised to get an email from Sam, the client they had lost almost a year earlier. It said, “Call me.” Blake did and that call led to a visit, and that visit led to a restored relationship. Blake and the team had their biggest client back.

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It’s Your Move

Miller, Mark 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.

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Game On!

Miller, Mark Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Back at the office, Blake was anxious to share his newfound insight with the team. Already, he could think of many situations in which he and the team were clearly playing checkers.

On Monday morning, Blake arrived earlier than usual. He went to the conference room and set up both a chessboard and a game of checkers. When the team began to arrive, the comments were fun to hear.

John was the first to arrive. He looked at the table and said to Blake, “Looks like the staff failed to clean up after game night.”

Brad and Angie walked in together. Brad sighed, “This is probably some lame team-building activity.”

“Well, we should be good at it, because we’re a pretty lame team,” Angie said with a grin.

As Blake listened to each disparaging comment, he maintained a good spirit and chuckled with each jab.

After everyone was seated, Blake began. “Thanks for being here this morning. I know it’s been difficult for you guys with the revolving door for CEOs over the last decade. My goal is for us to work together to make this a great organization.”

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The Price of Leadership

Miller, Mark Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Blake was excited to meet with Debbie to update her on his previous visit.

This morning, Blake and Debbie met in the parking lot as they approached the shop.

“How are you this morning?” Debbie asked.

“I’m doing okay.”

Debbie knew Blake well enough to know he wasn’t telling her the whole truth.

“Okay …” she hesitated. “Let’s get our drinks and find a table.” A few moments later they were seated in their usual spot.

“How’d the meeting go with Molly?”

“Well, Molly clearly lives out her belief that leaders respond with courage.”

“She does. That’s one of the reasons many people love her … and others don’t.”

“I guessed that responding with courage would not always be popular,” Blake said.

“Your instincts are correct, not everyone is a fan of Molly Ortega.” Debbie affirmed Blake’s intuition. “It just wouldn’t be productive to display some of the letters and emails she receives,” Debbie said with a grin.

“I guess making everyone happy is out of the question,” Blake said, thinking out loud.

“When leaders lead well, not everyone is going to be happy.”

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