On her way back down the long, plush, quiet hallway of the Golden Crescent, Duff-Bloom took another fond look at the cassette. The label had a photo of a woman in ecclesiastical robes, along with her formal name and the titles of two sermons. The pastor's church was prominent, and Howell's message to Duff-Bloom was obvious: In conservative and traditional Dallas, look what a talented woman can accomplish! This tape is just like W. R., she thought with gratitudeand sadness.
Although she couldn't wait to play the tape in her car on the way home that evening, the gift actually made her heart heavy. It reminded her of W. R.'s appointed heir, someone from whom she would never dream of receiving such a thoughtful gift.
Duff-Bloom was not a big fan of Jim Oesterreicher. He was just on a far different wavelength than she was. While she would never have explained it as such, Duff-Bloom was used to thinking in abstract terms. Oesterreicher, she knew from experience, just didn't get abstract thoughts. Things had to be set in concrete terms for him to respond. And retailing , in her view, was a creative business where imagination was the principal currency.
Also, while it was popular to extol his considerable staff accomplishments, she feared that Oesterreicher would not remotely approach Howell in the leadership role. Beyond his problems with abstract concepts was his difficulty in making decisions. For example, when she did follow through on Howell's suggestion and see Oesterreicher about morale and merchandise, she figured he would hem and haw and just leave her thoughts on the table. She was sure of it, and she was right.
So Duff-Bloom anticipated Oesterreicher facing tricky industry issues in the future and delaying his response as long as possible. If the matter was truly pressing, she knew he would fall back on the need for consensus, throwing it to a top committee that was compelled to act. To Duff-Bloom, this meant that under Jim Oesterreicher the company was going to be run by consensus-bound committees . That, in turn , indicated that the possibilities for decisive innovation in the future were nil.