30 Chapters
Medium 9781609942885

Contents

Jennings, Ken Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub
Medium 9781576753088

A New Assignment

Jennings, Ken Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Day’s end, and what a day it has been. Mom and Dad are in bed, and I’m back in my boyhood bedroom feeling time warped and badly torn between feelings of exhilaration and grief. I’ve got to somehow capture this incredible and tumultuous day.

Amtrak’s Acela Express pulled into Philly’s Thirtieth Street station at 12:05, five long hours after my Boston departure. Wanting to stretch my legs, I hiked the short thirteen blocks east along Market, crossing the majestic Schuylkill River—the Manayunk, as I insisted it be called in my boyhood Indian phase—to my first appointment of the day.

Dad had arranged for me to plunge right in with a lunch meeting at the famous Pyramid Club, high atop my hometown’s new, art deco skyline. When I walked in, I was stunned by the gaunt and pale face that greeted me, my dad’s wan smile masking nothing of the seriousness of his condition. He must have lost thirty pounds, and that from a frame that had been quite trim to begin with.

Dad saw that I noticed. Not giving me a chance to comment, he hooked my elbow and steered me to a circle of six men and women standing to the side. I saw the unspoken apologies on their faces—they already knew what Dad would put off telling me for another five hours.

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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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Five Practices for Greater Goal and Shared Goal Achievement

Jennings, Ken Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub
Medium 9781576753088

Action: Raise the Bar

Jennings, Ken Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

BioWorks is on everyone’s list of hot companies,” Ali began. I started a fresh section in my journal. “It’s an innovative, high science organization committed to next-generation sustainable technologies. Over the years, it has focused on agriculture and energy, especially in the area of biofuels. The company’s work with biomass conversion points the way to energy sources that are totally renewable, carbon neutral, and biodegradable.”

Puzzled, I glanced over at Ali. I had no knowledge of this field and hadn’t understood a word he had just said.

“No greenhouse gases,” Ali explained. “No global warming. And no dependence on foreign oil. It’s big!” he added with a grin, making sure I saw the size of the frontier BioWorks was exploring.

“What you’re going to find really interesting, though, is the competitive edge BioWorks has gained in this new global market through its commitment to Serving Leadership.”

Arriving at a series of low-slung buildings, we were greeted at the door by Stephen Cray, one of the CEOs I had met the day before.

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