164 Slices
Medium 9781626562431

Part I: The Story: A Peacock in the Land of Penguins

BJ Gallagher Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

There once was a time,
in the not so distant past,
when penguins ruled many lands
in the Sea of Organizations.

These penguins were not always wise,
they were not always popular,
but they were always in charge.

Most organizations looked the same:

Top executives
and managers
wore their distinctive penguin suits,
while worker birds
of many kinds
wore colors and outfits
that reflected their work
and their lifestyles.

Birds who aspired to move up
in their organizations
were encouraged to become
as penguin-like as possible —
to shorten their steps
and learn the penguin stride,
to wear penguin suits,
and follow
the example of their leaders.

Employee Development Departments
extensive training programs
appropriate penguin-like behavior.

The rules
and norms
were clear
from Day One.

Penguins advised in subtle
(and not so subtle) ways:

“This is the way we do things here.”

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Medium 9781576751534

The First Key: Share Accurat Einformation with everyone

Ken Blanchard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

ASHORT TIME later, Michael found his way to the billing response center that served the company’s larger customers. Robert had suggested they meet there to get a firsthand look at the operation.

Michael was surprised that it appeared to be a fairly standard-looking operation, with the same kind of computers his own company used. The people even looked the same, except perhaps a little more engaged but also relaxed—almost like they were having fun. But at this point he didn’t know what to expect, so he decided to just try to take it all in and learn. That was why he was there, after all.

A young man approached him. “Hi, I’m Robert Borders. You must be the executive Amelia called me about. What can I do for you?”

“I just finished talking with Sandy Fitzwilliam, and now I need to talk with some people in your company about empowerment. But even though empowering people is my goal, I’m skeptical. I’ve tried to institute empowerment with my company, and, frankly, I haven’t seen much change. But I’m beginning to think we may have gone about it incorrectly—maybe I don’t even know what real empowerment is, much less how to create a culture of empowerment.”

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Medium 9781626563339

10 Another Perspective

Ken Blanchard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Rounding a curve on the winding mountain road, Larry and Janice saw the pale gray dome of the observatory come into view.

“Wow, what a great place to work,” Janice said. “It’s beautiful up here.”

“I must say, I’ve never met an astronomer before,” said Larry. “This ought to be interesting.”

Cynthia Strohmeyer was certainly not what either Janice or Larry had been expecting. The red-headed woman who greeted them was in her early forties at most. Wearing comfortable clothes, she met them at the entrance to the spacious room that housed the massive telescope.

“Welcome,” she said after they’d made introductions. “My uncle has told me so many good things about you guys.”

“Your uncle?” said Larry, puzzled. “Oh!” he said, the light going on. “You must be Dr. Jeffrey’s niece.”

“He didn’t tell you?” she said with a laugh.

“No,” said Janice. “He just said you’d give us a fresh perspective on what it means to refire spiritually.”

Cynthia led them to some seats at the edge of the gallery, where they had a clear view of the telescope. “I’ve been interested in math and science since grade school,” she said. “By the time I reached grad school in my twenties, I identified myself as an agnostic. I just didn’t find religion and spirituality compelling. Making assumptions without empirical evidence seemed so irrational to me. People who talked about God’s love and miracles sounded naïve and sentimental, if not downright delusional.”

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Medium 9781626561984

An Insight with Impact

Ken Blanchard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

As the new week began, Debbie had a fresh take on the world. She even brought some flowers into the office and put them by the front desk where everyone could enjoy them. She had a new-hire interview scheduled for Tuesday. This time she asked Human Resources to give her two meetings with the candidate and to schedule ninety minutes for each session— not her usual thirty minutes. Following Jeff’s lead, Debbie prepared a short list of references for the candidate. She knew that some of the people might not give her an entirely positive reference, but she wanted to be up-front and honest.

On Tuesday Debbie met with the candidate, a woman a few years older than herself. At the end of their meeting Debbie said, “Thank you for your time today. If you’re still interested in the job, I want you to come back for another meeting. I know this is a major decision for both of us, so next time, I want you to interview me. Ask anything you like. Also, I’ve prepared a short list of personal and professional references for you. You may call them if you like, but you are under no obligation. I have to be honest with you, though. Some of these people may not have the most glowing things to say about my past leadership. But I am committed to becoming a great leader, and I see it as a journey. This team is going to do amazing things, and you may be one of the people to help us.”

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Medium 9781576754689

Applying the Less-More Philosophy

Ken Blanchard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

When the author arrived at Dwayne’s office, he found an elder statesman who had been working with the entrepreneur for many years. Dwayne had an easy style and grace that was inviting. When he smiled and told the author to have a seat in the discussion area of his office, the author felt privileged.

“So Phil’s been talking to you about closing the learning-doing gap,” Dwayne said.

“He sure has,” said the author. “I’ve seen how people—including myself—have a real challenge closing that gap. Phil says that people have to learn less more.”

Dwayne smiled. “That philosophy drives everything we do in our training, development, and educational efforts in all the companies that the entrepreneur owns.”

“What do you think about that philosophy?” asked the author. “Does it really work?”

Dwayne nodded. “Before I started working with Phil, I was the typical training director. I spent more time looking for the next new management concept than I did following up what I’d just taught our people. I would help design a tremendous training program, run everybody through it, and then look for the next new training idea. The way I judged my effectiveness was by attitudinal evaluations that participants filled out at the end of a seminar about how they liked it. We always got high grades, but the trainings weren’t all that effective. People didn’t really apply what we were teaching them.”

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