Most of his employees would describe Casey as an extraordinary man-but
just an ordinary CEO.
On a personal level, they genuinely liked their leader. Casey was a
devoted husband, a loving father to his four children, a committed
parishioner at Sacred Heart Church, and a helpful friend and neighbor.
It was almost impossible not to like-even admire-the man.
Which made his limitation as a leader all the more mystifying.
The McDaniel family had lived modestly in Carmel for the past fifty
years, and Casey grew up on or around the many golf courses in the area,
usually as a caddy or gardener. His affinity for golf was matched only
by his love for computers, so he left home after high school to attend
the University of Arizona on a golf scholarship, where he studied
electrical engineering and computer science. Four years later he
graduated toward the middle of his academic class, but at the top of the
Pac-10 Conference in golf.
The lure of joining the PGA Tour, and someday playing back home at
Pebble Beach in front of friends and family, was too much for Casey to
resist. So he joined a qualifying tour where he quickly became one of
the more popular players on the circuit with his quiet humor and
generosity toward any fellow golfers who needed a little advice about
Over the course of the next five years, Casey won a few more than his
share of second-tier tournaments and earned enough money to keep his
head far above water. But just as he was about to break through to the
big tour, he developed a chronic case of what golfers call the yips-an
almost clinical disorder that makes it difficult to remain steady while
in the act of putting. Plenty of promising players had their careers cut
short by the pseudo-psychological yips, and Casey reluctantly counted
himself among them.
Never one to let disappointment keep him down for too long, Casey
returned home with a new sense of purpose-and an idea. In a matter of
months, he got married, bought a tiny bungalow with the earnings he had
saved, hired two local programmers, and began hacking away at what he
believed would be the most realistic golf video game that the market had
The initial results would wildly exceed even his expectations.
Within two years of launching his company, Yip Software, Casey released
his first product, which immediately set the standard for realism in all
sports-related games. Because of his in-depth background in the sport,
the game reflected deep knowledge of many of the subtle aspects of
actual golf venues, including of course, the putting greens.
Almost immediately the game became a favorite of the most important
focus group of customers imaginable: golfers themselves.
Because he had become close friends with many players who were now on
the tour, Casey was able to arrange inexpensive but effective
sponsorship deals with a few of the better young players. But it was a
purely accidental occurrence that propelled Yip's success beyond being a
niche video game and onto the pages of Sports Illustrated.
One of Casey's friends won his first PGA tournament less than a year
after the product had been released. During his post-tournament press
conference, he was asked about the improvement in his putting. Almost
embarrassed, he admitted, "I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I
think it may have something to do with a video game I've been playing
And the cat was out of the bag.
Excerpted from "Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable...About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business" by Patrick Lencioni. Copyright © 2004 by Patrick Lencioni. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Patrick Lencioni is founder and president of The Table Group, Inc., a specialized management-consulting firm focused on organizational health. He has been described by The One-Minute Manager’s Ken Blanchard as “fast defining the next generation of leadership thinkers.”
Pat’s passion for organizations and teams is reflected in his writing, speaking, and consulting. Lencioni is the author of eight best-selling books with over 2.5 million copies sold. After several years in print, his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team continues to be a fixture on national best-seller lists. The Three Signs of a Miserable Job, became an instant best-seller in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and BusinessWeek. And his latest work, The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family, was released in August 2008.
The Wall Street Journal has named Lencioni one of the most in-demand business speakers. And he has been a keynote speaker on the same ticket with George Bush Sr., Jack Welch, Rudy Guiliani, and General Colin Powell.
Pat’s work has been featured in numerous publications such as Fast Company, INC Magazine, USA Today, Fortune, Drucker Foundation’ Leader to Leader, and Harvard Business Review.
As a consultant and speaker, he has worked with thousands of senior executives in organizations ranging from Fortune 500 corporations and professional sports teams to universities and nonprofits, including Southwest Airlines, Barnes & Noble, General Mills, Newell Rubbermaid, SAP, Washington Mutual, and the US Military Academy at West Point.
Prior to founding The Table Group, Pat worked at Bain & Company, Oracle Corporation, and Sybase, where he was vice president of organizational development. He also served on the National Board of Directors for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America from 2000-2003.
Pat lives in the Bay Area with his wife Laura and four boys.
Biography Courtesy of Patrick Lencioni
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