4 Feeling the Heat

Two weeks later, after yet another frustrating leadership meeting, it became clear to Des that things had spiraled downward even further.

Privately that morning, Janet had asked for help dealing with Spec, and Des recommended that she stop interacting with him entirely. She wasn’t enthusiastic about the idea, but she’d given it a try in their meeting. The result? She said almost nothing to anyone for two hours. Not good.

As usual, Spec reported little progress on the Emperor prototype. Matt occasionally popped his head up from his phone to talk about all of the effort his sales team was putting into arranging meetings with new customers to drum up business. It would materialize, he swore, any day now. Karl claimed to be doing the opposite of Matt: keeping his head down—way down—in the electronic weeds in a frenetic attempt to keep their IT systems afloat.

As the meeting wore on, Des became more certain that very little was getting done by anyone beyond the increasing entrenchment of hostile positions. So he focused them on the balance sheet to ferret out some money they could use to hire additional engineers. But they kept hitting a brick wall, which only added to his sense of desperation. They couldn’t make progress in R&D without additional funds, and yet he didn’t have the courage to tell Chuck that he was stalled. He was stuck between a rock and a hard place, to say the least, and it was driving him crazy.

Making Des’s life even more complicated, the ...

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