3 Buying Time

“I mean, this is ridiculous!”

It was 9:10 the next morning, and Avi Kumar’s voice was booming from the speakerphone on the small, round conference table in Des’s office. The leadership team was slumped dejectedly around the table, staring down at the spiderlike device. “You’re seriously telling me that you guys have made no progress at all? In three months?! Seriously?!”

“Well, Avi,” Des said, trying to sound far more definitive than he felt, “there’ve been a lot of changes around here, as you know.”

“I do know. Chuck Morton called me about it last week,” Avi continued. “He promised me that you’d be kicking butt, Des.”

“Yes, I am!” Des blurted out, and then realized his team probably wouldn’t like hearing this. “I mean I’m doing the best I can. It’s just that, well . . . the fact is, I only came on board here in the last few days.”

“Well, that shouldn’t be my problem,” Avi retorted. “COR- Med signed a contract with us over a year ago.”

“I understand that, Avi, and we fully intend to honor that contract. It’s just that everything changed here very quickly.”

“You don’t need to say it again,” Avi said, clearly annoyed.

“Right, sorry.”

Des was more than sorry. He was scared. Yesterday’s individual meetings with his leadership team were a tortuous dive into reality: progress on the Emperor prototype was glacial, their other products weren’t selling very well, morale was lower than low, and they were hemorrhaging expenses. It had become painfully clear to Des that ...

Get The Respectful Leader now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.