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The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative Reviews

The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative

The Leader's Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative

How leaders can use the right story at the right time to inspire change and action This revised and updated edition of the best-selling book A Leader’s Guide to Storytelling shows how storytelling is one of the few ways to handle the most important and difficult challenges of leadership: sparking action, getting people to work together, and leading people into the future. Using myriad illustrative examples and filled with how-to techniques, this book clearly explains how you can learn to tell t

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Discipline Without Punishment: The Proven Strategy That Turns Problem Employees into Superior Performers

Discipline Without Punishment: The Proven Strategy That Turns Problem Employees into Superior Performers

More than 30 years ago, Dick Grote developed a powerful, nonpunitive discipline system that turned a troubled Frito-Lay plant from a hotbed of employee sabotage and toxic relations into a productive, respectful environment–one where employees took personal responsibility for their behavior, and managers helped problem employees become productive players. Grote’s method spread to other companies, and gained national recognition with the 1995 release of the first edition of Discipline Withou

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6 Comments so far:

  1. Doc Dave says:
    13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Unable to recommend this book, February 7, 2014
    By 
    Doc Dave (New York City) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      

    Storytelling as a defining tool is immensely powerful for individuals and organizations; and this book refers to this in the very introduction.

    Unfortunately the author then proceeds to talk not about storytelling (defining identity through narrative) but about anecdotal communications. Ever heard a politician’s campaign speech about meeting a steelworker in Pittsburgh or a manager talk about this reminds me of the time I was down in accounting? This book purports to help the reader achieve a better version of that speech/talk.

    But it fails even in that regard. As some of the other reviewers mention there is lack of a clear framework to understand the recommendations; making the book fragmented and confusing.

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  2. Michael Harris says:
    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Status Quo: Helping Buyers change, March 11, 2011
    By 
    Michael Harris
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative (Hardcover)
    Great book. Product Pitches, Value Propositions and Logical Arguments do not convince a Buyer in denial to change. In fact, the Buyer needs you to be wrong to protect the status quo and survive.

    We provide the Salesperson with the right message delivered through mini-stories to help the Buyer discover that the status quo is no longer acceptable. These stories work because they present a scenario that allows Buyers to develop awareness through their own sense of discovery. Buyers trust this discovery because they made it and they begin to trust the Story Seller for telling it. When the Buyer can picture the issues in the real world scenario, it helps them see how the results may apply to them and they start to make sense- they gain insight. Stories transport the Buyer from the role of critic into the role of participant.
    In short, Stories allow the Buyer to take your offering for a virtual mental test drive: Could you ask for more?
    at InsightDemand

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  3. Anonymous says:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Challenging societal norms, Denning is a true inspiration!, December 7, 2014
    By 

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative (Hardcover)

    The following is a book review I completed as part of my graduate work in Community Development:

    As a starting point, it will be helpful to know that author Stephen Denning puts on many hats in telling his story. In fact, this is not just a book about leadership or storytelling; it is a book that directly challenges entrenched institutional hierarchies to adopt a changing of the guard. Through a range of techniques that move from basic formulas of storytelling to a Machiavellian-worthy detailed walk through the sensitive clockwork of Corporate America, Denning masterfully unfolds his plan for success. In short, it is a book about real life, real people and real opportunities in a world that is changing globally and exponentially before our very eyes.

    Speaking directly to the topic of leadership Denning states that “Leadership is essentially a task of persuasion–of winning people’s minds and hearts” (p. 10). As the title of the book suggests, Denning promotes building and/or becoming this type of leader through the art of story and narrative. To better understand the word narrative in Denning’s vernacular I encourage reading this book with a broadened scope of the word. In other words, through successive chapters, Denning is eloquently describing the inner clockwork of business and human interactions as though the word narrative were synonymous with knowing how to tango–he is teaching us the dance steps… “Throughout this book, I make the case, step by step, that if you consistently use the narrative tools described here, you will acquire new capabilities” (p. 12).

    Denning expands on these concepts (appropriately so) by telling his story which consists of his turbulent entrance onto the scene known as “knowledge management” as a staff member of the World Bank. He tells how he came from the ridged and analytical world of facts, figures and corporate prominence, to a “maybe they can use your help in that department” scenario. In short, he helped make the World Bank what it is today by launching a successful campaign to make the World Bank a world leader in what is known as knowledge management. And he did it through the successful execution of business narrative and storytelling. “Mind-numbing cascades of numbers or daze-inducing Power Point slides won’t achieve this goal. Even logical arguments for making the needed changes usually won’t do the trick. But effective storytelling often does” (p.19). As can now be imagined Denning demonstrates various types of stories and which scenarios they work best in, i.e., the board room, the class room, a dinner arrangement etc. As an illustration to these delicate and opportunistic dynamics Denning expounds, “If I was going to hold the attention of my audience, I had to make my point in seconds, not in minutes” (p. 20).

    Change: One of the common messages in industry is that with leadership comes change. When presenting ideas on change; that is, in Stephen Denning’s world, telling a well-crafted story–“the idea must be a worthwhile one that has the potential to resonate with people’s hearts… There’s an old Brazilian proverb that when you dream alone it’s just a dream, but when you dream together, it’s already the beginning of a new reality” (pp. 64, 78). From a business perspective, Denning cites some facts and figures that cannot be ignored: “Only 10 percent of all publicly traded companies have proved themselves able to sustain for more than few years a growth trajectory that creates above-average shareholder returns… The rate of return on assets of U.S. firms has declined by 75 percent since 1965” (p. 4). In this context Denning begins to integrate the art of storytelling into identifying the clockwork pieces of Corporate America–the good, the bad and the ugly–what works and what doesn’t.

    The “how to” merges with the why it works: There are powerful illustrations and success stories imbedded in the pages of Corporate America and Denning makes good use of them. Success stories of companies such as Costco, Starbucks and Southwest Airlines are among them. As no surprise, he introduces the success of these companies by telling the corporate stories; which fittingly enough tell how the founders themselves have helped their companies thrive through the art of narrative (p. 113). Through these stories, Denning begins to expand from the personal mandates to be ourselves, be honest, be genuine (chapter 4) to broader ideologies that exist within Corporate America. Specifically, he focuses on the word “value” as a make or break component to not only be a successful leader, but a successful organization. “Douglas Smith, in On Value and Values suggests that this has happened because society has lost sight of the importance of ethical values and instead pursued value” (p. 126-127).

    Expansion and ideologies: It is at this point that the reader is introduced to the fact that Denning is doing much more…

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  4. Robert Morris says:
    19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    How to have discipline and accountability without punishment, July 14, 2006
    By 
    Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) –
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)
      
    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)
      
    (VINE VOICE)
      

    This review is from: Discipline Without Punishment: The Proven Strategy That Turns Problem Employees into Superior Performers (Paperback)

    This is the second edition of a book which was initially published in 1995 and I have the same question now that I did then: How can any one strategy turn all “problem employees into superior performers”? That said, years ago Grote recognized sooner than many others did that the command-and-control management style was often the cause of serious discipline problems. He cites as an example what he once experienced as Frito-Lay’s manager of training and development. He was directed to visit a plant at which 58 of its employees had been fired during the previous year for various breaches of discipline. Angry customers reported finding obscene messages written on potato chips, all of which had been produced at the plant at which the climate had become “toxic.” What to do? Supervisors had been using the traditional “progressive-discipline” system for all violations of company policy, serious or trivial, and there had been no improvement in workers’ behavior. If anything, as the recent “public relations nightmare” caused by the obscene messages indicated, the behavior had become even worse. What to do?

    At this point, it may helpful to cite the differences between the “Traditional Approach to Discipline” and what Grote advocates:

    Traditional Approach

    Step 1: Oral Warning
    Step 2: Written Warning
    Step 3: Suspension Without Pay/Final Warning/Probation
    Step 4: Termination

    “Discipline without Punishment” (DWP) Approach

    Informal Transactions

    Positive Contacts (i.e. recognition of what is done well)
    Performance Improvement Discussions

    Formal Disciplinary Transactions

    First: Reminder 1
    Second: Reminder 2
    Final: Decision Making Leave (a one-day suspension with pay)

    Termination

    According to Grote, there were (and are) significant benefits to the “Decision Making Leave” policy which was introduced at the Frito-Lay plant:

    “It allows us to demonstrate good faith.”
    “It transforms anger into guilt.”
    “It eliminates the need to `save face.'”
    “It makes it easier for the supervisor”
    “It reduces hostility and the risk of workplace violence.”
    “It increases defensibility if the employee is later terminated.”
    “It removes money as an issue.”
    “It’s consistent with our values.”

    As I understand it, the “Decision Making Leave” (please see pages 18-21) allows everyone involved to take a “Time Out” in order to calm down, re-examine the given issues, perhaps seek opinions from (preferably open-minded) third-parties, and thus be better prepared to resolve (if possible) the given issues.

    In no sense does Grote question the importance of personal accountability. On the contrary, he vigorously and eloquently argues that DWP strengthens it. Think of it not as a policy or two but rather as a cohesive and comprehensive system by which to improve overall organizational performance. The best way to encourage such improvement is to provide a positive consequence – recognition — whenever (a) an individual performs “above and beyond the call of duty” (what Napoleon Hill characterizes as “going the extra mile”), (b) an individual achieves significant improvement under direct supervision, after a disciplinary transaction such as a “Decision Making Leave,” or (c) an individual has consistently met all of an organization’s expectations over an extended period of time.

    In the final paragraph, Grote observes “The final test of the effectiveness and success of Discipline Without Punishment is when it stops being a program…a project…a policy. Discipline Without Punishment is finally and fully implemented when it has been incorporated into the grain of organizational life that everyone considers it `just the way we do business here.'” Of course, Grote realizes that not all employees can become “superior performers,” nor are all “problem employees” willing and/or able to produce acceptable (much less superior) performance, even within an organization in which DWP “has been incorporated into [its] grain.” Nonetheless, these are worthy goals to seek.

    To me, one of Grote’s most important points is that the DWP approach to unacceptable performance and inappropriate behavior will succeed only if it is viewed, indeed embraced as an active and on-going partnership between a supervisor and each of those those for whom she or he is directly responsible. Expectations must be made crystal clear. Criteria for measurement of performance must be clearly understood and consistently applied. Presumably Grote agrees with me that recognition of outstanding performance must be immediately recognized, preferably within a public domain, and that constructive criticism should also be offered in a timely manner but only in private and it should be specific. Of course, mutual trust is the “glue” which holds any organization together and it must be…

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  5. Casey Ann says:
    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Best book on discipline ever!, May 30, 2009
    By 
    Casey Ann (Kenmore, NY United States) –

    This review is from: Discipline Without Punishment: The Proven Strategy That Turns Problem Employees into Superior Performers (Paperback)
    I am an HR Director of a 500+ employee organization that is both unionized and civil service. This book is my bible. Lots of pratical ideas on dealing with the typical employee issues-attendance and attitude. The running theme of the book is that employees are responsible for changing their own choices and behaviors, management is only responsible for addressing them.
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  6. Travis L. says:
    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Doesnt end, August 4, 2010
    By 

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Discipline Without Punishment: The Proven Strategy That Turns Problem Employees into Superior Performers (Paperback)
    I think this book is a good concept and some should be implemented in all business, however the book tends to drag on. The book is build around 4 main principles and could realisticly be 1/3 as short. Good book I would buy again.
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