Author: David Cottrell

Publisher: CornerStone Leadership Institute, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0971942431, 112 pages


David Cottrell, president and CEO of the Cornerstone Leadership Institute, is the author of this exemplary, easy-to-read book on the secrets of management. He has packaged what might otherwise have been a series of dry, boring management precepts – preserve your time, listen to your people, accept responsibility, focus on what truly counts – into an enjoyable, educational fictitious story. Jeff Walters, a business manager at midlife who can’t seem to do anything right, has eight Monday morning mentoring sessions with accomplished businessman Tony Pearce. During these meetings, Tony, who is wise and savvy, gives Jeff (and the fortunate readers of this book) a crash course on how to become an excellent manager and leader. This engaging book is filled with valuable insights. getAbstract recommends it to all junior managers who want to develop their craft and their leadership expertise.

Manager in crisis

Jeff Walters was in trouble. After several years as a successful manager at a large, well-known company, he hit a mid-career crisis. Jeff was putting in extra-long hours, but he wasn’t achieving the goals his company set for him and his team. Business was bad; lately, the company’s leaders had been telling all its managers that they expected stronger performance from each team. Jeff and his team were reporting weak results, and his problems at work were undermining his personal life: He had no time for his children, he and his wife were unhappy, his health was deteriorating – everything was going wrong.

Jeff called Tony Pearce, a semiretired executive who had been close to Jeff’s late father. When Jeff graduated from college, Tony had offered his help, if Jeff ever needed it. Jeff hoped that maybe Tony could coach him on how to turn things around at work. Tony agreed to meet with Jeff for eight Monday morning mentoring sessions. In return, he asked Jeff to pass along the knowledge he would gain to others. Jeff agreed. He was excited about learning from Tony, whom the business community respected greatly for his wisdom and his business savvy. 

“Making tough decisions”

For his first Monday mentoring session, Jeff arrived at Tony’s house 10 minutes late due to bad weather. Tony warmly greeted Jeff and escorted him to his library, where they would meet for the next seven weeks. Tony asked Jeff to agree to three rules: Show up at the scheduled time, be honest, and be open to new approaches. Tony requested details about what was going wrong at Jeff’s office. Jeff explained that his early career had been successful. His firm’s business was strong, and he had been on the fast track. He worked hard to get his staff members to like him. To maintain friendships with them, Jeff sometimes overlooked some team members’ poor performance. Jeff had thought that was OK, but now the performance problems he once ignored had become impediments that made it difficult for his team to meet its goals.

Jeff confessed to Tony that in a spirit of candor he sometimes shared his negative opinion of the firm’s senior managers with his employees. While complimenting Jeff on seeking coaching and support, Tony warned him that trying to curry favor with his staff was a big mistake…

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