chapter 1real conversations

Tuesday, 8.58 am. The Executive Team of O’Donnell's Jelly Bean Company assembled for what promised to be anything but the usual 9 am executive meeting.

Walking to the boardroom from their plush offices, the team members crossed a foyer dominated (tastefully) by two identical displays of three two‐metre‐tall crystal cylinders on either side of the automatic glass entry doors. Each cylinder was full to the brim with those monster O’Donnell's jelly beans — red closest to the street, then black, then blue.

As you enter the O’Donnell's building, those jelly‐bean cylinders escort you like a guard of honour towards Susan, the ever‐smiling receptionist. An inconspicuous glass lid sits firmly atop each cylinder to ensure that no‐one samples from the display. Floor lights project upwards to complete the striking effect.

By 9 am everyone was seated and attending to final emails on their phones and laptops. Cups of coffee and bottles of water sat on coasters to protect the lush, wood‐grained table, the compulsory three dishes of jelly beans in the middle of the expansive table and papers at the ready.

Like most businesses, the O’Donnell's Executive Team was made up of the heads of each of the six key divisions:

  • Operations (manufacturing and logistics)
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Research and Development
  • Human Resources
  • Corporate Services (finance, information systems and administration)
  • Customer Services (currently without a division head).

The other member of the ...

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