August 13, 2007

News & Opinion: A Different Jack Disagrees

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 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.

About Dylan Schleicher

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.