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Squirrel Inc.: A Fable of Leadership through Storytelling (Business) [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Stephen Denning
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Kurzbeschreibung

25. Juni 2004 Business
Take a satirical scamper through organizational life in the midst of changing times, brought to you by master storyteller and former World Bank executive Steve Denning. With wisdom and a healthy dose of wit, Denning introduces a cast of furry characters who together learn the fine art of change through storytelling in their quest to overcome obstacles, generate enthusiasm and teamwork, share knowledge, and ultimately lead their company into a new era of success and significance. Through the stories of Squirrel Inc., readers will learn that the ability to tell the right story at the right time can determine the outcome of any major change effort. In each chapter Denning's squirrels learn to use storytelling to address leadership challenges:
* How to bring about change
* How to communicate who you are
* How to transmit values
* How to foster collaboration
* How to stop rumors
* How to share knowledge
* How to lead your organization into the future

Produktinformation

  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 208 Seiten
  • Verlag: John Wiley & Sons; Auflage: 1. Auflage (25. Juni 2004)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0787973718
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787973711
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 21 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 458.597 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
  • Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

"...a very effective management tool...it is sure to inspire readers working in all sorts of organizations..." (Edge Magazine, February 2005)
 
"...This charming little book holds many secrets within its attractive covers...." (City to Cities, Jan/Feb 2005)
 
"...clearly encapsulates both the why and how of seven types of organisational storytelling". (Knowledge Management, September 2004)
 
"...makes serious points about leadership and change..." (Financial Times, 29 July 2004)

Rezension

Squirrel Inc. is a wonderfully refreshing look at leadership that contains countless insights on how stories create meaning and can inspire even cynical management to act.  This book is both provocative and evocative.  It’s central message kept resonating in my head for weeks after reading it. I highly recommend this book¾and it is a great read, as well.”
--John Seely Brown, former chief scientist, Xerox Corp; and director of its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)

“It is hardly a nutty idea that narrative is a useful means of transferring knowledge from one human—or squirrel to another. Steve Denning’s wonderful story about stories is a unique way to tell a fundamental truth about how organizations improve their performance.”
--Thomas H. Davenport, President’s Distinguished Professor, Babson College and Accenture Fellow

“I’ve witnessed the power of narrative in my work and life, but I haven’t had the tools to effectively employ story when I’ve needed it most. Denning’s book provides the ‘how to’ for which I’ve been looking.”
--M. Gary Ryan, director, Brand Development and Strategy, People Magazine

“Steve Denning is one of the most imaginative knowledge practitioners around, so it isn’t surprising that he’s produced a charming and illustrative fable about organizational life (among other things). Read it and grow wiser in the ways of squirrels and men!”
--Larry Prusak, coauthor, What’s the Big Idea and Working Knowledge

“The success of a leader can best be measured by how many who actually followed. In the management literature of today, we are overestimating the more rational dimensions of leadership and underestimating the importance of how to craft a story that attracts the fullness of human desire. Steve Denning's work is an important reminder and great inspiration to all leaders who wish to connect with their employees on all the human dimensions required to create true followership.”
--Mats Lederhausen, managing director, McDonald's Ventures, McDonald's Corporation


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4.0 von 5 Sternen A Humorous Delivery of Leadership Storytelling 9. Februar 2007
Von Donald Mitchell TOP 500 REZENSENT
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This book has only two problems that keep it from being a masterpiece:

1. Mr. Denning later wrote The Leader's Guide to Storytelling which covers the same material much more thoroughly and helpfully; and

2. The fable is built around a mythical company of squirrels that provides nut burying services but is having problems. I had a hard time getting my mind around that metaphor. By contrast when Dr. Spencer Johnson teaches me about mice being in trouble when their cheese is moved, I don't have the same problem with the metaphor.

I recommend that you mainly use this book as a humorous side trip into leadership story telling. If you don't fell like you need such a humorous journey, you can certainly skip this book.

If you do skip Squirrel Inc., I urge you to read Mr. Denning's two "serious" books on the subject in this order: Start with The Springboard and then move on to The Leader's Guide to Storytelling. I've written reviews of both of those books recently if you want to check them out. Both are superb and are must reads for any leader who wants to be effective.

If you have to choose between reading Leading Change and The Springboard, choose The Springboard.
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15 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A Humorous Delivery of Leadership Storytelling 26. November 2005
Von Donald Mitchell - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This book has only two problems that keep it from being a masterpiece:

1. Mr. Denning later wrote The Leader's Guide to Storytelling which covers the same material much more thoroughly and helpfully; and

2. The fable is built around a mythical company of squirrels that provides nut burying services but is having problems. I had a hard time getting my mind around that metaphor. By contrast when Dr. Spencer Johnson teaches me about mice being in trouble when their cheese is moved, I don't have the same problem with the metaphor.

I recommend that you mainly use this book as a humorous side trip into leadership story telling. If you don't fell like you need such a humorous journey, you can certainly skip this book.

If you do skip Squirrel Inc., I urge you to read Mr. Denning's two "serious" books on the subject in this order: Start with The Springboard and then move on to The Leader's Guide to Storytelling. I've written reviews of both of those books recently if you want to check them out. Both are superb and are must reads for any leader who wants to be effective.

If you have to choose between reading Leading Change and The Springboard, choose The Springboard.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Highly Recommended! 25. Oktober 2004
Von Rolf Dobelli - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Any leader will benefit from mastering sincere storytelling that is designed to achieve specific organizational objectives. By using some storytelling techniques himself, in the form of a fable about business-owning squirrels, author Stephen Denning teaches you how to tap into your natural storytelling ability, so you can focus your listeners' goals and vision. He explains what types of stories elicit a variety of desired outcomes. He also teaches you how to tell your story and explains the reaction you can expect to generate if the story is apt. Storytelling lets leaders engage people, helps them relate to the company's goals and creates a forward-looking organization. With Denning's guidance, you can use your 'once upon a time' skills to build camaraderie, focus and happy endings. We recommend this book to all leaders, since storytelling is destined to become an unexpectedly critical skill.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Nuts R Us 27. Mai 2005
Von Robert Morris - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Think about it. Who are among the greatest storytellers throughout history? My own list includes Homer, Plato, Chaucer, Aesop, Jesus, Dante, Boccaccio, the Brothers Grimm, Confucius, Abraham Lincoln, Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), Joel Chandler Harris, L. Frank Baum, and most recently, E.B. White. Whatever the genre (epic, parable, fable, allegory, anecdote, etc.), each used exposition, description, and narration to illustrate what they considered to be fundamental truths about the human condition.

In his previous work, The Springboard, Denning focuses on "how storytelling ignites action in knowledge-led organizations" and does so with uncommon erudition, precision, and eloquence. His narrative covers a period of approximately three years during which he used what he calls "springboard" stories to "spark organizational change" at The World Bank. More specifically, to forge a consensus within that organization to support the design and then implementation of effective knowledge management, first for itself and then for its clients worldwide. How he accomplished that objective is in and of itself a fascinating "story" but the book's greater value lies in what he learned in process, lessons which are directly relevant to virtually all other organizations (regardless of size or nature) which struggle to "do more with less and do it faster" in the so-called Age of Information. Maximizing use of their collective intellectual capital is most often the single most effective way to do that.

In this volume, Denning uses many of the same devices which Orwell does in Animal Farm: He creates a stressful situation to which anthropomorphic animals respond; the lead characters discuss what to do; strategies are selected; conflicts and crises immediately develop; tension is increased by the perils the lead characters encounter; ultimately, the situation is resolved. In Animal Farm, the pigs prevail. In Squirrel Inc.,....

Whereas Orwell's purpose is to dramatize the evils of totalitarianism, Denning's purpose is to give "detailed advice on how to craft and perform a story that can spark transformational change in an organization" by examining six different kinds of storytelling "which illustrate the impact of storytelling on our work and our lives." Although this is a fable of leadership, it is important to keep in mind that (a) everyone throughout any organization tells stories of various kinds each day; therefore (b) the value of the information which Denning provides and the recommendations he makes is by no means limited to senior-level executives.

Why a fable? When considering how he could best communicate the various kinds of stories (e.g. "springboard" stories that communicate complex ideas and spark action), their specific uses in modern organizations, and their relevant similarities and differences, Denning "quickly discovered that conveying an understanding of seven types of stories across four or five different dimensions represented a level of complexity not well adapted to text-book style presentation."

I include that excerpt because many of those who read this book will also find themselves in situations in which they are preparing to make an especially important presentation and use of a traditional format is not appropriate. Their audience will not respond as well to the "textbook-style" as they will to a entertaining as well as informative narrative which seeks to achieve one or more of these objectives:

To spark action
To communicate who the speaker is
To transmit values
To get everyone working together
To share knowledge
To "tame the grapevine"
To lead people into the future

Here's the situation. Diana is a fast-track executive at Squirrel Inc. who is frustrated by her inability to convince senior-management to transform the company's core business from helping squirrels to bury nuts to storing nuts for them. Why should it? Because approximately 50% of the nuts buried are lost, either because squirrels forget where they buried them or the nuts are dug up by human gardeners. Great opportunity for Squirrel Inc. She shares her frustrations with Bartender who is the owner/host of a nectar tavern located high in an oak tree near the Squirrel Inc. headquarters. (He is also this book's narrator and thus, in several respects, a surrogate for Denning.) Throughout the remainder of the book, Denning focuses on Diana and Bartender's joint efforts to use effective storytelling to mobilize the support needed to transform Squirrel Inc.

Because Denning is himself a master storyteller, never does his narrative become precious, cute, quaint, darling, etc. Credit him with wit, style, grace, and -- yes -- intellectual rigor. His characters may be squirrels but the relevance of his material to human experience is profound: "The underlying reason for the affinity between leadership and storytelling is simple: narrative -- unlike abstraction and analysis -- is inherently collaborative. Storytelling helps leaders work with other individuals as coparticipants, not merely as objects or underlings. Storytelling helps strengthen leaders' connectedness with the world. Isn't this what all leaders need -- a connectedness with the people they are seeking to lead?"

I especially appreciate Denning's provision of a chart ("Seven High-Value Forms of Organizational Storytelling," pages 150-153) which clearly and cleverly summarizes all of his core concepts and specific suggestions. It serves as a useful reminder that the most effective story is one which has a crystal clear objective and includes the appropriate elements (e.g. problem to be solved, situation to be explained, value of the information provided). The story must also meet certain requirements of the given purpose. For example, provision of relevant background information and an analysis of current situation before proposing a future course of action, especially one which may seem bold and threatening to others.

For whatever reasons, only in recent years has there been an awareness and appreciation of the importance of the business narrative. Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out Annette Simmons' The Story Factor, Doug Lipman's Improving Your Storytelling, and Storytelling in Organizations co-authored by John Seely Brown, Denning, Katarina Groh, and Laurence Prusak.
3 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen So this squirrel walks into a bar.... 21. Januar 2010
Von Kathleen M Fransen - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
While I definitely agree with Denning's overall premise of honing the business narrative because it is so important, he told it through a ridiculous dialogue between squirrels. The tips in the margins are extremely helpful, but I would rather have read a list of those strategies of good storytelling, rather than listen to squirrels worry about their nut storage corporation. Th dialogue was purely awful and rather unbelievable. The idea of Squirrels running a company isn't even the real problem, it's how the story is constructed that makes it so terrible. I love Denning's other works, and I was really disappointed with this one.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Engaging Hearts - Earning Commitment 26. September 2006
Von Richard E Neslund - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
In "Squirrel Inc.: A Fable of Leadership through Storytelling" Stephen Denning describes, in the spirit of a fable about squirrels leading change at Squirrel, Inc., how to use stories to engage constituents and earn their commitment to change.

Leadership, both formal and informal, is about engaging hearts, convincing minds, and earning committed actions. While we linear, logical thinkers are more prone toward selling through convincing logic (aka, `data'), both emotional intelligence and marketing research suggest that people buy (and buy-into) with their emotions before they commit with their minds. Effective stories touch the heart! Denning, uses the different requirements subsequent situations in the `change journey' at Squirrel, Inc. to demonstrate different story structures. Differing leadership objectives include: Sparking Organizational Change; Revealing Who You Are and Earning Trust; Getting Individuals to Work Together; Transmitting Values; Taming the Grapevine; Sharing Knowledge; and Creating a Future. To help readers recognize and remember appropriate story structures, Denning includes summaries of story structures at the end of each chapter. Much like most of us have graduated from black and white to colored presentations, effective leaders are moving from influencing solely through data/information and graduating to telling effective stories.

I recommend "Squirrel, Inc." for every leader who recognizes their need for engaging both the hearts and the minds of their team members.
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