Chapter Eight. Got Skills?

Millie’s Story

“I got so good at playing the violin that they made me the catcher. It almost killed me.”

Millie’s mixed metaphor is no mistake. She started at the bottom in a beverage bottling company, and over time she got assigned to what seemed like every post in the building. She became so knowledgeable that she represented the factory’s concerns on a number of corporate improvement initiatives. Her superiors thought she was ready for management. Who would be better than someone who knew how to do most every job?

Millie’s reality was different. Having spent her whole career doing things, she was not prepared to get other people to do them. “Everything I had ever done worked against me,” she said. “My motto was ‘get ...

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