By Frank V. Cespedes
Frank V. Cespedes is the MBA Class of 1973 Senior Lecturer of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.
(Editor’s note: This fictional Management Puzzle dramatizes a dilemma faced by leaders in real companies. Like HBR’s traditional case studies, HBR.org’s Management Puzzles are based on academic research into business problems. This story was inspired by the Harvard Business School case study “Olympia Machine Company, Inc.,” by Frank V. Cespedes and Benson P. Shapiro. Please contribute by offering insights, solutions, and stories from your own experience.)
It was just minutes after they greeted each other on the porch of the restored mansion that the ...