Chapter 9

Action: Get Moving or Accept the Consequences

Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must first set yourself on fire.

—Reggie Leach

In late August of 2012, just as spring was emerging and the brisk air of winter was fading around the city of Melbourne, Australia, I interviewed Campbell Jones, COO of Manheim Australia.1 Manheim is a rapidly growing business that hosts auctions to facilitate the buying and selling of cars, trucks, motorcycles, heavy machinery, and other equipment. They currently have more than 20,000 employees operating in more than 100 locations throughout the world. The company calls itself the world's largest “remarketer” of vehicles, last year handling more than eight million transactions.

As you might imagine, the work is very logistics intensive. The company needs to have a high level of excellence and proficiency in shipping and timing to ensure its inventory is prepared to support the numerous auctions they host throughout the world. They must develop marketing and brand awareness to generate demand, manage back-office infrastructure activities, and, of course, conduct the primary product of the company, which is to host the auction events.

Like any other company, there is work that is routine and perhaps even monotonous, work that is creatively demanding, and a variety of work in between. In the interview, I asked Jones, who has steadily risen in the company and is considered to be an excellent leader, what things he did on a ...

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