Telling Tales by Stephen
Denning, Harvard Business Review, May 2004
A story can be a powerful way to inspire and encourage people
into action. Unlike data and analysis which appeal to the mind,
narratives appeal to the heart. Stories are particularly effective
motivational tools while operating in unfamiliar territory. A good
story must have characters, a plot, turning points and a lesson
learned. Some of the situations where stories can be used with great
effect are : Sparking action, Introducing yourself , Transmitting
values, Fostering collaboration, Taming the grapevine, Sharing
knowledge and Leading people into the future. Different stories are
appropriate in different situations. For example, if the objective
is to spark action, we could use a story that describes how a
successful change was implemented in the past. But we should allow
listeners to imagine how it might work in their situation. We must
avoid excessive detail that will take the audience's mind off its
own challenge. If we are using a story to introduce ourselves, we
must use a story that provides an engaging drama. We must reveal
some strength or vulnerability from our past. We must include
meaningful details but make sure the audience has the time and
inclination to hear the story. The response from the audience
should be: "I didn't know that about him!“
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Effectiveness is a discipline. And, like every discipline, it can and must be earned.
effectives follow eight practices: They ask, "What needs to be
done?" They also ask, "What is right for the enterprise?" They
develop action plans. They take responsibility for decisions. They
take responsibility for communicating. They are focused on
opportunities rather than problems. They run productive meetings.
And they think and say "we" rather than "I." The first two practices
provide them with the knowledge they need. The next four help them
convert this knowledge into effective action. Drucker also suggests
a ninth practice that's so important. In fact, he elevates it to
the level of a rule: Listen first, speak last.
executives know that
they have authority only because they have the trust of the
organization. They think of the needs and opportunities of the
organization before they think of their own needs and opportunities.
For a more detailed account of the
subject, one must read Drucker’s book “The Effective Executive.”
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Timothy; Waldroop, James.
Jun2004, pp. 78-86.
areas of business
call for interpersonal savvy. Some people can "talk a dog off a meat
truck," as the saying goes. Others are great at resolving
interpersonal conflicts. Some have a knack for translating
high-level concepts for the masses. And others thrive when they are
managing a team. Since people are most effective when the work most
closely matches their interests, managers can increase productivity
by taking into account employees' relational interests and skills
when making personnel choices and project assignments.
have identified four dimensions of relational work: influence,
interpersonal facilitation, relational creativity, and team
leadership. Understanding these four dimensions will help us get
optimal performance from employees, appropriately reward their work,
and assist them in setting career goals. It will also help us make
better choices when it comes to our own career development.
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abuse time can be disruptive to a
company’s morale and
operating efficiency. Real time abuse results from psychological
conflict. The time abuser typically has a brittle self-esteem and an
unconscious fear of being evaluated and found wanting. This article
describes four types of time abusers typically encountered in the
Perfectionists are afraid of receiving negative feedback. Their work
has to be "perfect," so they can increase their likelihood of
earning a positive evaluation or at least avoid getting a negative
one. Preemptives try to be in control by completing work far earlier
than they need to, making themselves unpopular and unavailable in
the process. People pleasers commit to far too much work because
they find it impossible to say no. Procrastinators make constant
excuses to cover the fear of being found inadequate in their jobs.
these four types of people can be challenging. Time abusers respond
differently from most other employees to criticism and approval.
Praising a procrastinator when he is on time, for instance, will
only exacerbate the problem, because he will fear that our
expectations are even higher than before. In fact, some time
abusers, like the perfectionist, may need professional treatment.
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