August 13, 2007

News & Opinion: A Different Jack Disagrees

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 2:52 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

It is not unusual for Mr. Covert and I to have many heated discussions, but it is a different Jack that has taken me to task for a recent post.

Jack Hayhow says that I am wrong-headed about my opinion of fables. I recently threw off a couple of lines about business fables in my post on John Kotter and Our Iceberg Is Melting. Let me take a little more time to unpack my thoughts on the genre.

Fables do make business concepts more accessible, and they make them more simplistic in the process.

When I worked at GE, I had a manager who was enamored with Who Moved My Cheese? Everyone in our 75 person group got a copy. Some folks understood the message and others didn't. And the folks who understood the message already knew what needed to be done. The book did not move our group forward.

I can explain a fable in about 30 seconds to someone else and eliminate the need for them to read the book completely. You can't do the same with a normal 200 page book. You can deliver the elevator pitch, but you can't deliver the nuance. And in a good business book that makes all the difference.

I need more out of what I read. I want to know "the why". This is just my preference. I am sure there is some "Top 40 pop" versus "mid-classical" music analogy that could be used here.

P.S. My one exception on fables is Steve Farber's books. Radical Leap and Radical Edge worked for me.