The task force meeting on product strategy has just ended, and Michael and George are moving together toward the door of the conference room.

George I liked what you said about forecasting models in there, Michael. I'm sorry we didn't get introduced personally before the meeting. Just call me George.
Michael OK Mr., uh, George. Call me Mike. I'm glad to know someone was listening. It's hard to make an impression when you're new and don't know where everybody's coming from. Let's see, you're here from Product Development, right?
George That's right. And I liked your approach because it offers us some fresh approaches to anticipating the different product cycles. Most analysts just come in spouting numbers and don't see the big picture. You've got a nice perspective there.
Michael Thanks. I appreciate it. It helps to be on top of the numbers, but I learned pretty quick that nobody listens to you around here if you don't understand the business. It's part of my getting ahead strategy.
George How long have you been at it?
Michael Eleven months. I'm due to rotate into some project work next month, and I'm looking forward to it. Maybe I'll be doing some things for you.
George That would be nice. We need some work on scheduling models.

I'd love to score some points with that stuff because the whole division really turns on effective project management. I'm getting restless with the forecasting stuff already because there's more I want to do. You seem interested in moving ahead, but these other guys – I just don't know.

No offense, but Hirsch there is a real loser. He's not pulling his weight anymore, and it drives me nuts explaining to him that his old smoothing models are obsolete. I can't understand how guys like that hang on so long when they don't keep up. I mean, the guy actually refused to have a terminal installed at his desk!

George The sage stays behind, thus he is ahead. (7)
Michael What?

The sage stays behind, thus he is ahead.
He is detached, thus at one with all.

It's a line from the Tao Te Ching.

Michael The what?
George The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu. It's a real old book of Chinese philosophy that underlies Taoism. It's actually pretty popular today.
Michael Never heard of it. What did you say about the sage? He falls behind? That's Hirsch all right.
George Bob Hirsch is one of our more gifted managers, almost what I'd call a sage. His choice about computers doesn't diminish his basic managerial skills a bit. I just thought of the line when you said that Hirsch refused the computer terminal, that's all. It's one of my favorite lines because in a lot of ways progress is an illusion.
Michael You're serious? Look, off the record, the guy didn't know we converted half our midrange projection programs for the micros we got in last April. Smith's got 'em all set up and they're working, man. It's incredible that Hirsch survives without it. What's he supposed to use, a crystal ball?
George He does a good, no, an excellent job at running his department, Maybe it's because he's not bent over the keyboard all day. You'd do well to get to know him a little better.
Michael Hmm. That might be a little tough. You know that Hirsch meditates in the morning? I came in early once and he just about scared me to death. I thought he was dead.
George Did he tell you about the meditation?
Michael Sure. He said it helped him clear his mind for the day. More mental energy or something. It struck me as kind of weird, actually.
George Nothing weird about meditation, Mike. Millions of people do it every day. I tried it myself but couldn't do it very well, so I stopped. I guess I respect Bob for having that level of mental control. Try to respect him yourself. There's a lot of talent there.
Michael I'11 try. Look, I've got to run now. There's a lunch meeting that Carlson and Dean set up. Can I tell them you suggested that I might be assigned to Product Development? I don't want to push, but you seemed interested in my work. OK?
George Sure. Tell them both I'd be glad to have you around for a while. But lighten up on Hirsch. That guy's got more respect around here than you or I may ever have.

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