Three young managers accosted me at the end of one of my business presentations. They had a problem with one of their team called Barry. Apparently he was their most difficult and awkward employee. In their years of managing him they informed me they’d tried everything to turn around his performance and attitude. They hoped a brief explanation of their challenge with Barry would extract from me a pearl of wisdom or golden nugget that would immediately transform his performance overnight.

It’s fair to say their expectations of me were hugely unrealistic, although not entirely uncommon. Some people seem to think that because I write books and speak ...

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