164 Slices
Medium 9781626561984

The Meeting

Blanchard, Ken Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The following Saturday, Debbie’s husband, John, invited her to play tennis with friends, but she bowed out so that she could work on the mentorship application.

“Thanks for the invite, honey, but I don’t want to miss the Monday deadline on this paperwork,” she said. The application contained all the usual demographic questions but didn’t stop there. There were quite a few personal questions and several unexpectedly challenging ones about why she wanted to be in the program. The final question was the one that made her really stop and think.

Debbie suspected that a good answer to this simple, straightforward question would help her get into the program. She worked for quite some time trying to articulate her reply. She felt she should know the answer because being a leader had long been her primary career objective. Yet she had never given the meaning of leadership much thought. Her first few attempts were, by her own standards, awkward or simplistic:

A leader is the person in charge.

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Medium 9781626561984

How Can It Be Better?

Blanchard, Ken Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The next morning, Debbie called Charles to schedule a meeting. They agreed to meet at 3:00 p.m. the following day. She explained that her primary objective was to help and that to do that, she needed to understand his situation completely.

When she approached his office at the appointed time, she was anxious but optimistic. She believed that this conversation would help her help him. She wanted him to enjoy his work, and she wanted him to be successful.

It turned out to be an upbeat meeting. Debbie did an effective job of framing the issue. She asked open-ended questions and listened carefully. Although they didn’t reach any definitive conclusions, Charles fully embraced the idea of leveraging his strengths. He admitted that he didn’t have complete clarity on his strengths as they applied to his job as a project manager. He committed to think about that. At the same time, Debbie realized that she could help Charles by providing more training and direction.

It seemed to both of them that they had made progress. They agreed to meet again the following week to continue their discussion.

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Medium 9781576753606

9. How to be Free in Every Action

Steffen, James Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

THE PERSON you will meet tomorrow is a real master of the art of feeling free with every action in the midst of a busy, very challenging life, Coach told Ray and Carol. Eleanor Mitchell is a retired golf champion, a very successful entrepreneur, a CEO, and a single mother of two. Eleanor and her husband built their company together. He loved piloting his own plane. He died in a freak accident doing a friend a favor. Her tremendous success in her professional life has made balancing her business and personal life even more difficult. But as I said, she is a master here.

The next evening Ray and Carol made the journey to Eleanor Mitchells house. Carol was feeling a real sense of anticipation.

Im excited to meet her, she said.

As they drove up the winding drive to Eleanors home, the large Tudor house crowning the hill indicated Eleanors financial success. The sun was beginning to set behind the house, streaking the sky with lavender and brilliant red. When Eleanor greeted them at the door, her welcome was as gracious as her home was splendid.

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Passing the Baton

Blanchard, Ken Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Debbie excelled in her new role overseeing Leadership Development. The extensive notes she had taken during her time with Jeff became the basis of the leadership curriculum. She used the questions Jeff had given her to design thought-provoking assignments that people could use as they applied the principles of SERVE for themselves.

Debbie’s team not only completed the year without her but ascended from “Worst to First.” They really had created raving fans of both their sales-people and their customers. When Debbie got the news, it was in the form of an invitation from the team to come to a special event to celebrate their achievement.

Debbie showed the invitation to John the moment she got home.

“How does it make you feel that they did this without you?” he asked.

“I feel great about it,” she said with a smile.


“By serving them, I helped position them for success. I feel their victory is, in part, my victory.”

“You also prepared a successor,” John added.

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Medium 9781609943035

Teaming Up

Blanchard, Ken Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Back at work, tensions were running high. Everyone had their own interpretations of what Ms. Barnwell meant when she’d said, “Or there will be consequences.” Sam in particular was on edge.

“Sam, I’ve been thinking about what you said last week,” Blake began.

“What did I say? I probably said a lot.”

“You said our industry was changing—the service standards of the past are not cutting it today. Who’s working on that?”

“On what?”

“The service standards.”

“I hope manufacturing is working on it.”

“Sam, I don’t think hope is a strategy.”

Sam chuckled. “You’re right.”

“Besides, service is more than a manufacturing issue. It seems like it touches several areas, including operations, sales, purchasing, and distribution. And I’m sure I’m missing somebody.”

“You’re right, Blake.”

“I don’t have a hundred-percent confidence that manufacturing knows the severity of the situation. They may not have talked to Ms. Barnwell.” He smiled, trying to get a smile from Sam.

“You’re right again,” Sam said—without a smile. “What do you propose?”

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