The most remarkable day of my professional career took place on June 1, 2009, in conference room C-11 on the 30th floor of tower 300 of Detroit’s Renaissance Center, overlooking the Detroit River and the skyline of Windsor, Ontario. A team of about a dozen communications people were clustered around the table, with boxes of crackers, granola bars, and cookies scattered about the room and bags of Starburst and peanut M&Ms lying around the table. The team had spent most of the past 48 hours there, breaking only for four hours’ sleep before arriving at six o’clock that morning.

Down the hall, in D-11, a virtually identical conference room, a similarly sized team had been preparing the communications ...

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