I’ve said that one of the many skills Andy Heyward possessed was his disarming ability to sometimes remain silent and listen, and that he knew much could be learned from listening. As I also said, from the moment the conference room door opened and he told me each exec represented a different Care Bear until now, Andy has been mostly silent.
Bowled over by the execs’ “smiling faces and warm welcomes” I’d forgotten this is not ‘show smiles’ and ‘show warm welcomes’; this is show business. The execs were Midwestern people all right, but they were Midwestern businesspeople. Midwest or no Midwest, one doesn’t rise to become an executive at a subsidiary of toy and greeting cards goliath American Greetings unless one carries a well-honed saber.
With their Care Bears story editor completely relaxed and at ease, it was time for them to hoist their true colors and pull their sabers. I looked at Andy seated in a nearby chair. He was looking at me. Like a lightning bolt, it struck me that he wasn’t “remaining silent and listening” so he could observe the Those Characters From Cleveland’s execs. He remained silent and listened so he could observe me…and gauge how I’d navigate my first real meeting of the minds with toy execs.
It was time for Bedtime Bear, Birthday Bear, Cheer Bear, Friend Bear, Funshine Bear, Good Luck Bear, Grumpy Bear, Love-a-lot Bear, Tenderheart Bear, Wish Bear, Champ Bear, Share Bear and Secret Bear to shine, and part of their shine came from the reflection of Those Characters From Cleveland execs’ well-sharpened sabers as they slowly pulled them from their scabbards.