83 Chapters
Medium 9781626569812

The Pitch

Miller, Mark Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The next day, Charles was up early again. Based on his newfound commitment to run, he headed for the streets. As he ran, he thought about all that had transpired in the previous few years. He had both regrets and blessings to reflect upon. One of the blessings was the work Blake had given him.

At the weekly check-in with Blake, he was excited to share the team’s progress.

“Good morning. How are you today?” Blake asked.

Charles, talking a little bit faster than usual, said, “Fantastic! I ran five miles this morning. Running has really helped me clear my mind and strengthen my body. How are you?”

“Really good. Anxious to see what you and the team have come up with,” Blake said.

“I can’t wait to share the new strategy with you. We need to know your thoughts. Did we miss anything? Do you think it will stand the test of time? What will others think and do when they hear our recommendations? What should we do next?”

“Hold on—slow down,” Blake said. “One question at a time.”

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Medium 9781523094974

Why Top Talent?

Miller, Mark Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Blake was eager to attend the next dinner meeting with the CEOs. Although the previous meeting had been relatively uneventful, he was optimistic. He knew these men and women were in their respective positions for a reason. He wanted to learn as much as he could from them.

After the normal pleasantries, Martha kicked off the conversation with a question.

“Who has a status report for the group? Who’s had a breakthrough?” After a long pause, “No one? Certainly, someone has done something.” Martha turned to Blake. “You were full of vim and vigor when we first met. What have you accomplished?” she asked.

“Well, we’ve defined the goal,” Blake offered.

“And?” Betsy asked.

“And, we’re working on it.”

“Doesn’t sound like much progress to me,” Bart said.

“Well, I understand why you would say that, and I wish we had accomplished more; however, I believe a problem well defined is half solved.”

“So, you think you know the problem? I do, too,” said Sam Caldwell, the head of a small hotel chain headquartered in their town. “I need bodies; I can’t find enough of them.”

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Medium 9781626563940

What’s Important?

Miller, Mark Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Word spread quickly throughout the business that John was leaving. Of course, the company would be discreet and offer a statement indicating John’s decision to “pursue other career options.” Although that was true, Blake decided he needed to tell his team the rest of the story. So he called a special meeting for the following morning.

Just before the meeting was scheduled to begin, everyone shuffled in without saying a word. They just took their seats and looked at their new CEO, waiting for an explanation. Blake was sensitive to the mood because everyone, including Blake, had liked John.

“Good morning. I called this meeting because I know we need to talk about John’s departure.”

After an awkward silence, Angie said, “What happened? John had worked here for years.”

“I know. I hated that he decided to leave.”

“Did he really, or did you fire him?” Brad asked.

“No, I didn’t fire him. I outlined what I expected from a member of my senior team, and he said he didn’t want to be part of it. I respect that.”

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Medium 9781626569812

Decision Time

Miller, Mark Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

When Charles left the meeting, his team was waiting for him. “How was it?” Rose asked excitedly.

“We’ll have to wait and see,” Charles said. “They were very good listeners. They asked thoughtful questions and I answered them. Nothing I wouldn’t have expected.”

“What did they say about the assessment results?” Kim asked.

“They were not happy with the numbers. They also were not sure that long-term we were asking the best questions to judge our progress toward a leadership culture. I welcomed their input and promised them a copy of our new scorecard as soon as it is completed.”

“What’s next?” Bob asked.

“We should go back to work. We have a lot to do regardless of how much money we have in next year’s budget,” Charles said.

Gary was a bit confused. “I agree with ‘go back to work,’ but I don’t understand your last comment, ‘regardless of how much money.’”

Charles responded, “Let me say it like this: We now have a picture of the future we did not have six months ago. Even if our budget were cut in half, I still want to create a leadership culture. How about you?”

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Medium 9781609949600

A Matter of the Heart

Miller, Mark Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The weeks moved quickly, and Blake could see leadership character in action virtually every day. And to his delight, it wasn’t always from the men and women who had positions of leadership. This bolstered his confidence even more—he could do this. And, he did. Nothing monumental, but he was seeing more opportunities and taking them. He was developing and demonstrating leadership character, and people were noticing.

One such occasion was Blake’s very next team meeting, called to discuss their performance. The numbers looked good in the aggregate. But underneath, there were signs of trouble.

Samantha said, “Overall, I’m pleased. We’re not leading the pack, but we’re not last.”

Rachael chimed in, “We’re actually up for the quarter and the year.”

“Yes, that’s true, but our increases are decreasing,” Samantha added.

“Samantha, do you see a problem, or is that just the overall business cycle?” Kim asked.

“The business cycle may be contributing, but there’s another problem,” Blake said.

“What’s the other problem?” Chuck asked.

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