8 Chapters
Medium 9781605095837

TWO Every Journey Begins with One Step

Brooks, Marta Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Driving away from Tommy’s office was a blur for Doug. What just happened? Why would Nan, whom I trusted and loved more than anyone else, do this to me? How am I supposed to discover my leadership legacy?

“I’ll quit, that’s what I’ll do. I love Mooseland but I don’t have to work there.” Even as he said these words, he knew they were hollow. He cared about Mooseland and he wanted to do right by Nan, but what was she asking him to do?

As Doug zoomed past the manicured streetscape, his thoughts softened a bit as he remembered happier days. “My, aren’t you full of yourself,” Nan had teased, “but I love you just the same.” On other occasions, he would carry on about a mistake this person had made or a crazy idea that that person had proposed, and she would simply give him a loving pat on the cheek. In more serious moments, like the one a few weeks earlier, she had responded to one of his tirades with a tone that still disarmed him. “I love you,” she had said softly, “not only for the person you are but for the person I know you’ll become.”

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SIX Dare to Drive the Dream

Brooks, Marta Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

A few Saturdays later, Doug awoke to gray skies and drizzle. I guess that takes care of my golf plans. Now what?

His gaze settled on his journal and the napkin Adoi had given him. One shower, one shave, and two travel mugs of coffee later, Doug reached the outskirts of Eagle Junction, a charming mountain town nestled beside one of the largest natural lakes in the state.

Doug’s knowledge of Eagle Junction was limited to what he had read in the newspaper. For decades, the town had sustained itself by catering to the streaming supply of tourists who wanted to “get away from it all” by visiting the undisturbed beauty of the national forest that abutted the lazy town’s western border. Then a downturn in the economy dried up the flow of tourists and prompted a dramatic change.

After a period of heated public debates, the town had voted to allow casino gambling. A crop of modern buildings had sprung up, and an influx of new people and new jobs had revived the town’s economy.

Doug’s drive brought him past the newly constructed casinos and posh eateries. The new streets had names like “Lucky Lane,” “Blackjack Avenue,” and “Easy Street.” The architects and developers had made an uninspired effort to blend the new buildings into the style of the original town. Sadly, the result was a line of demarcation, clearly signaling his passage from the new to the old.

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SEVEN The Fern Is Revived

Brooks, Marta Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

“Hey, buddy, are you ready for another great day at Mooseland?” Doug pointed the mister at the lush fern and squeezed a few sprays onto the vibrant deep green fronds, while checking the moisture content of the soil with his other hand. He heard a noise outside his ofice and called out, “Jennifer? Is that you so early?”

“Yes, Mr. Roman,” Jennifer appeared at the door in seconds. “I know it’s short notice, but my grandmother is coming to town and I’d like to leave a little early this afternoon.”

Doug hesitated. “That will be, um, fine. What’s on my schedule today?”

“Your weekly meeting with Brian is at nine, the Global Creations team meeting is scheduled in the main conference room at ten, the Mighty Moose luncheon is at noon, and, of course, the board meeting is at four.”

Jennifer’s delivery of the last item sounded ominous. Indeed, “the board meeting” needed no further explanation to anyone at Mooseland. Since the reading of Nan’s will six months ago, the subjects of “who would become the next CEO” and “the board meeting” that would decide Doug’s future had been discussed in detail.

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FOUR Dare to Be a Person, Not a Position

Brooks, Marta Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

A few weeks later, Doug was hastily writing a note for his housekeeper when the telephone rang.

“Hello?”

“Mr. Roman, this is Jennifer. I hate to bother you,” his secretary began apologetically.

“What’s going on?”

“We need your approval on the budget changes so we can submit them to the bank.”

“Can it wait until I get in? I’m running a little late and I still need to . . . well . . . what is it you said you need me to do?”

It was typical of Doug to pay only partial attention to her. “We need your approval on the budget changes. We’re supposed to fax the changes by four o’clock. Will you be back in time?”

Doug didn’t answer for a few seconds and then mumbled, “Well, I did say I’d be in later, didn’t I?”

“Yes, Mr. Roman.”

“Budget approvals, right?”

“Yes, Mr. Roman.”

“I should be there by two o’clock. Please put everything on my desk. All right?”

“Yes, Mr. Roman.”

Afterward, Doug thought about Jennifer. She had come to Mooseland directly from college, the daughter of a friend who needed a job. Doug never understood why Nan had hired Jennifer. Nevertheless, Nan had been confident in her choice. “You’ll see,” she had said, “Jennifer will be a part of the family.”

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ONE The Reading of the Will

Brooks, Marta Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Doug Roman was not in the mood for stop-and-go traffic.

“Obnoxious music,” he snapped as he poked one of the buttons on the dash panel. The perfectly balanced sound of his custom audio system immediately replaced the cackling broadcast.

“Calm down, Doug,” he told himself. “You’ve got plenty of time.”

The reading of Nan’s will was set for ten o’clock; by noon he would be the new CEO of Mooseland Stoneware. His aunt Nan had been more than an intelligent woman and the influential founder and CEO of Moose-land, the most prestigious stoneware company in the world. She had also been the single most important person in his life.

Doug glanced at his reflection in the rearview mirror.

“You’ve grown up to be a very handsome man,” she’d told him often. “But that isn’t why I love you.”

Nan had taken full responsibility for him from the moment her doorbell had rung that rainy night those thirty-some years ago. The officer standing on her porch had explained how two young lives had been extinguished on a winding country road, the tragic result of the driver swerving to avoid a deer. In the midst of shock and grief, Nan had experienced a wave of relief, knowing that her younger brother’s two-year-old son was sleeping safely in the guest room upstairs.

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