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Let’s Do This Another Way

Rock music rattled the multipurpose room at JTS after work, and drinks flowed freely. “Why we’re celebrating a late and over-budget project is beyond me,” Samuel said to Jonathan. Earlier that day, Samuel had sent Jonathan an email requesting that he stop by his office before the party. They met in Samuel’s office just as the party started.

It was dress-down Friday, but Samuel was wearing a monogramed dress shirt with gold cuff-links and a red tie. He was a tall man with a large frame. His office was big and immaculate, with dark European furniture, paintings, small sculptures, and his Harvard MBA diploma hung prominently. He sat behind a grand, dark oak antique desk. When he looked out the window behind his desk, he could see his large luxury car parked in his private space.

“Saul and I have worked together since before you were born,” Samuel told Jonathan.

“He has never consistently met profitability targets, and his personnel turnover rate is too high. I asked him to improve his leadership performance, but he won’t change.” Jonathan squirmed in his seat after hearing Samuel’s candid criticism about his father’s performance.

“But there would be no JTS if it weren’t for Saul,” Samuel continued. Samuel leaned forward in his chair, put his cigar in the ashtray, picked up his glass of cognac, acknowledging to himself that his internecine battle with Saul was dangerous for the company.

“I have a small but important project for you, Jonathan,” Samuel said, leaning back in his chair. Jonathan leaned forward.

“You want me to lead a project?” Jonathan asked. “Saul has led all of the projects since I’ve been here. I’ve always been behind the scenes.”

“In order for you to become a senior project manager, you need to lead projects,” Samuel said. “We have a contract to install a new IP surveillance system at the Kaplan Motors dealership that maintains my cars. Complete it successfully, within budget and on time, and I’ll give you that promotion.”

“Works for me!” Jonathan said.

“Don’t get too excited,” Samuel said. “We’re going to do this my way, not Saul’s way. We’re going to develop our team members.”

“What does that mean?” Jonathan asked, leaning back, brow furrowed, with his hand on his chin.

“I’m going to mentor you through the project.” Samuel said. “Execution needs to start in two months, and we need to complete the initiation and planning phases during that time. We’ll meet every week for the next few weeks on developing and implementing a Leadership Integration Plan.”

“Leadership Integration Plan?” Jonathan asked. “I don’t remember that artifact.”

“Saul thought it was BS,” Samuel said, looking down, shaking his head slowly. “He doesn’t believe in empowerment. Classic Theory X. But we need to standardize on it. We’re going to pilot the use of this plan in your project. If successful, it will become a standard artifact for the company’s projects. You did an impressive job with Saul’s project management plan,” he continued, looking Jonathan in the eyes, “and I’m sure you’ll do well with this.”

“Thank you, sir,” Jonathan said with a smile.

“Go enjoy the party, and be back here Monday at 8 AM,” Samuel said.

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