It had been one of our busiest holiday seasons in years; now it was late spring and we weren’t hitting our numbers. I was driving the team, but they seemed distracted and weren’t getting results. Their attention was elsewhere. Over the past several months I had clicked through the checklist of options for building their capabilities. We had gone through some refresher training. I instructed, I demonstrated, and then I had them practice the activities that lead to success. We’d grown really close over six years. I was confident that Isabel and Olivia had the talent to meet the expectations I had for them. I had a lot invested in those two. They were loyal to the organization, and I hated the idea of giving them the sack. I preferred ...

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