And now this.
Each of the team members had agreed to complete an assignment during the three-week time period between the second and third meeting. Then they would get back together at the third meeting and piece things together to lay the foundation for the rest of the project.
After starting his work according to the criteria that the group had agreed upon, Albert came up with a better idea. He refocused his efforts and put all his energy into developing this new idea. For the past two weeks, he worked day and night, and even gave up both weekends. With the exception of a couple of hours on Saturday and Sunday when he played Frisbee with his pet Australian shepherd, Digger, he worked nonstop. He was eager for everyone to see how much better his plan was.
He prepared a presentation to deliver to the group at the beginning of the third meeting. He even titled it "A Better Way," so they would get the point quickly and not waste any more time following the mediocre direction they had originally-and by Albert's judgment, mistakenly-taken. He even rehearsed the presentation a few times in front of Digger, who enthusiastically barked his approval.
Albert had stayed up all night working to fine-tune his speech and was in the office early that morning, eager to present his ideas to the other team members.
Then came the meeting.
As soon as the group had exchanged their usual pleasantries, Richard, the project leader, outlined his agenda. Albert interrupted to ask if he could take a few moments to address the group before they started work on the agenda. He assured them they'd be pleasantly surprised and would consider it time well spent.
The group consented.
Albert proceeded to outline his ideas and the plan he had spent the past two weeks perfecting.
To say the presentation didn't go well would be a considerable understatement.
As soon as he started to explain how his idea was superior to the one the group conceived, the team members began to withdraw. Some folded their arms. Faces turned serious; some were even grim. The overall reaction was decidedly negative.
When team members started questioning the reasons for some of Albert's suggestions, Albert became defensive and pushed even harder to convince the group that his way was a better way. He raised his voice, impatient to get his point across, but the louder he spoke, the louder the dissenting team members protested. The meeting quickly became a classic power struggle.
And Albert lost. Big time.
He not only lost the argument, but he lost his cool.
Albert's composure was annihilated as he stormed out of the conference room in a huff-an angry, contemptuous huff - that left a wake of ruffled emotions and unresolved conflict.
So now here he was. Mindlessly surfing through cyberspace, contemplating his situation, and wondering why some people were so hard to get along with.
Albert longed for a return to the days when he was in college. Albert had graduated cum laude from the University of Northeastern Michigan (UNM) with a bachelor of science degree in computer engineering. He graduated in three years instead of the usual four or five like most students these days. Albert would have been the valedictorian the year he graduated had it not been for his less-than-stellar grades in his humanities classes. In the classes he really liked - those that focused on computers, math, and science-the college classroom environment served him well. He studied hard, went to class, locked into each professor's delivery, and filed away everything he learned in his computer-like brain. Albert could memorize formulas, equations, and programs, and could always come up with the right answers. He would do his work, study hard, and was solely responsible for his academic success.
At graduation time Albert was recruited heavily and was quickly hired by United Global Advance Technologies, better known as UGAT. UGAT is a Chicago-based high technology company with worldwide operations. He settled in quickly and rapidly gained notoriety as the company's brightest rising star.
Reprinted from Winning Ways by Dick Lyles by permission of G. P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright (c) 2000 by Dick Lyles. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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