164 Slices
Medium 9781576753606

2. An Unwelcome Surprise

James Steffen Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

AS RAY walked to his car from the train, he called Carol on his cell phone to let her know he was on his way home. She sounded a bit distracted but told him she would be very glad to see him.

Once home and settled in, Ray reviewed his frustrations and anger with Carol. He fully expected that she would listen sympathetically. With her experienced help, he would create a specific plan to solve the problems.

Ray had just started his list of frustrations when Carol interrupted.

Too much to do? Tell me about it! she fumed. He wasnt prepared for this. Instead of a supportive ear, he got an earful.

I was up with you at six, she said. As soon as the kids were off to school, I was off to work. You know I hate to have them come home before me. Even though theyre older now, its still not okay. When I got home today, they were both doing their homework, which is great. But I had to take Tammy to her music lesson, do shopping, spend time on my own paperwork, and then go back to pick her up. As if that werent enough, I needed to interrupt it to get Jamie to and from baseball.

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Contents

Ken Blanchard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub
Medium 9781576751534

The Third Key: Replace Hierarchical Thinking with Self-managed Teams

Ken Blanchard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

MICHAEL SAW Billy Abrams hurrying toward him as he entered the Customer Service work area. Right away he sensed Billy was a high-energy person like himself—not much on talk and a pragmatist when it came to ideas.

As Billy led Michael through the work area, Michael said, “I sense you’re a busy man, and I want to thank you for taking the time to meet with me. As you may know, I’m here to learn the third key to empowerment.”

“No problem,” said Billy, as if dismissing his last statement. “Tell me, did your company recently go through downsizing?”

“Yes, we did,” answered Michael. “It’s tough being responsible for eliminating jobs.”

“I know what you mean. The same thing happened in this company.”

“But in retrospect, it was absolutely necessary,” Michael quickly added, “to survive and thrive as an organization. To be responsive to customers, we needed a company with as few management layers as possible. But I realize now that while downsizing may create a need for empowerment, it is not anything like empowerment at all. And empowerment is certainly a lot more than authorizing people to make more decisions, which is what I used to think.”

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1. The Black Tunnel

James Steffen Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

    Too much to do! I never get everything done!

    Too many interruptions!

    Not enough time with the family!

    So little control over my life!

    Life doesnt seem to have much meaning anymore.

THESE WERE Rays thoughts as the train from Lower Manhattan tunneled to New Jersey under the Hudson River. As Ray looked out the window into the blackness, an occasional light flashed by to show him how dark the tunnel truly was.

How fitting, he thought. This is like my life. I feel like Im in a dark tunnel. My life is underwater. The infrequent flashes of light reminded him of the few lights in his life—his wife, Carol, and their two children. Unfortunately, as with the lights flashing by, he saw them for all too short a time.

What have I really accomplished today? Ray took out his organizer and reviewed the day. Hed skipped lunch and stayed late at work. He added two things hed forgotten to put on his to-do list. This made the list longer than it had been at the beginning of the day. He felt miserable.

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Staying the Course

Ken Blanchard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Sam and I had been seeing each other regularly for a while. I enjoyed his company. His quick wit made me laugh, and his inquisitive intelligence often gave me pause to think. When I introduced him to the children, he was friendly but took his cues from them regarding how involved he would be with our family. I was impressed and appreciative of his sensitivity to their needs. I also appreciated that he was interested in my work and, having read some of my writing for the marketing department, was quite encouraging. What surprised me was what little interest he had in the topic of vision and the conversations Jim and I were having. Maybe its because hes jealous of Jim, I wondered. Finally, I asked him.

Sam, Ive noticed you seem disinterested when I talk about vision. When I bring it up, you listen for a few moments and then change the subject. Im wondering why.

He hesitated a moment and said, Ellie, I understand how important this is to you, but to be honest, I have a cynical attitude toward visioning. Ten years ago I quit my job as a senior manager in a large corporation during a siege known as redeployment, replete with vision and values workshops, many of which I was asked to lead. It was a farce. The company was downsizing, people were losing their jobs, and those who stayed felt bad for their friends and colleagues and insecure about their own jobs. The platitudes in the vision meant nothing. As a senior manager, I felt like we were trying to sell them a bill of goods instead of helping people deal with the reality of what was happening. Being part of the charade got to be too much for me, so I left.

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