You’ve got to help me, Maria.”

Karen Michaels was standing in the doorway to Maria’s office. It was the most civil start to a conversation that Maria had seen from Karen, so she was willing to engage. Plus, in her own way, Karen was acknowledging that Maria could be helpful. It was definitely a step up from starting a conversation by accusing her of doing something wrong.

“How can I help?”

“As you know, we’re in a bit of a slump,” Karen said. “We just lost a major client, so I asked him why he was dropping us. He said we’re just not as innovative as some of our competitors.”

“That’s definitely a problem,” Maria replied. “But how can I help?”

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