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Can I Have Your Attention? by Jonathan McKee, Curt Steinhorst

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Chapter 25The Focus-Wise Leader

We are in an ocean of more than just distraction. The full force of the storm with all its winds directs its force at you. And that's just what is on the surface. Beneath, there is another force, often ignored by amateur navigators, but no less powerful—the undercurrent.

Jessica took the job at a small chemical manufacturing company because of the opportunity. The salary was lower than she could have gotten on the open market, but the owner, Tom, was 75 years old and promised to sell the company to her in time. She quickly learned the challenges the organization faced. In particular, the COO was a problem. Tom texted Jessica often, expressing his frustration with the COO on topics ranging from communication style to work ethic (even citing his weight as clear evidence of laziness).

One day, while Jessica was getting pizzas brought up to floor workers for meeting production goals the previous month, she overheard Tom tell the COO that she was being selfish and trying to purchase the company.

She learned that day what others had known for years. Tom is the kind of leader who thrives on keeping others smaller than him. Tom worked actively to keep the COO and Jessica at odds with each other. He created an enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend culture. Of course, the result was dysfunction and a stagnating bottom line.

Jessica's story is an example of the undercurrent in action. The undercurrent is a force that drives how you respond to what life throws at ...

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