How many times have you read a book about leadership but the next day couldn’t remember, let alone apply, any of the concepts to your real life?
Today is a new day. In LeadershipFlow | Perfectly Square, Master Certified Coach and Leadership Expert Croft Edwards finds a fresh way to look at personal and organizational change through his story of a family-owned business and its struggle to survive. Infusing his proven methodology into the narrative and characters, he provides readers with a dynamic roadmap for how to lead and transform a company.
Jackie Andrews, a former junior military officer, has come home to co-run Perfectly Square, her family’s woodworking supply company, that has struggled to thrive in the aftermath of the death of its founder, Jackie’s father. Jackie quickly realizes that the status quo is not sustainable as the company seeks its direction and growth under both her leadership and that of her brother Mark, a reluctant CEO.
Chapter 1: Staff Meeting
It was the usual 7:30 a.m. Tuesday staff meeting at the Albuquerque office of Perfectly Square, a successful woodworking supply store. Representatives from the Phoenix, Denver, and Tucson branches of the company weighed in on the speakerphone as e-commerce and warehouse manager Cynthia Hernandez, store manager Jason Shumway, the lead in-store sales person Marty Thompson, and other employees of the Albuquerque office took notes and drank their morning coffee. Mark Andrews, the youthful CEO of the company, ran the meeting from his usual spot at the head of the employee-built quartersawn white oak Mission table. Jacqueline “Jackie” Andrews, the newest member of the team, sat at her brother’s right hand, her focus and air of confidence belying her status as a newcomer. For Jackie, the meeting was a homecoming of sorts; she was joining the family business for the first time since she had worked various jobs in the ware- house and showroom throughout high school.
Mark sat at the head of the table, because when his father was alive and running the business that is what he did. Mark did it out of default, not because he felt like the leader of the company, but because he really did not know what else to do but try to emulate his father. This meeting was like that of any other Tuesday morning, parsing over hot issues and routine mundane matters that usually were never really resolved, just discussed and then tucked away for another week. Today’s meeting ventured into a slow-burning fire that needed to be put out (or at least discussed): the fact that Perfectly Square was taking longer than its stated goal of shipping orders within twenty-four hours. This issue was becoming more and more common in the meetings; however, no one ever really owned it and instead the talk digressed to finger pointing and blame-avoidance, often with the vague aura of personal attack.
“I don’t understand why we continue to have this issue,” Mark said halfheartedly to Cynthia.
Cynthia tensely rolled a pencil between her thumb and fore-finger. “We’re doing all we can, but every time I go to the other departments to sort things out, I have trouble finding anyone or I run into the TableSaw Mafia on one of their many coffee breaks.” Cynthia didn’t need to call out Jason and Marty by name. Everyone knew she was referring to the two de-facto leaders of the group of long-time employees whose primary task seemed to be to try to stop change and growth within the company.
“Don’t blame us, we have all of our sales going out the door and we hit our numbers,” Marty said without any hint of apology or explanation, almost as if to say that Cynthia had no relevance to his place in the organization.
Jason was more direct. “Look, this issue has been building for a long time; maybe it needs to be addressed at the root of the problem.” He looked directly at Cynthia, placing the blame squarely on her. “I’m not about to jeopardize my future because of the inability of others to get their jobs done.”
“Enough,” Mark sighed. “We’ve got to figure this out before our e-commerce and reputation start to tank. Any ideas?”
Behind her placid expression, Jackie’s mind was racing from the panic of, “Oh shit, what did I get myself into?” to feeling sympathy for Cynthia because of the unvarnished attacks on her from the more senior members of the organization. What was really palpable to her was the fact that the organization appeared to be adrift. Mark was physically present, but it seemed like he didn’t want to be working for the family business at all, let alone be the leader. She knew full well that she was going to have to deal with her emotions because she was all in. She had come home to help the business survive, and she knew that at some point, she was going to have to get off the sidelines and join the fray … unfortunately, she was not even sure where to begin.
Croft’s page-turning journey will enliven the reader with new insights into leadership and how to tap the great potential within us all – the ultimate state of performance known as Flow. As the story unfolds, Croft’s principles and techniques regarding transformational change and the study of LeadershipFlow are brought to life through real world interactions. These principles can be used to build high performing organizations, but also to create transformational change inside each leader. A lively and entertaining read, LeadershipFlow | Perfectly Square has a powerful, yet user- friendly message for leaders everywhere.