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Breaking the Fear Barrier: How Fear Destroys Companies From the Inside Out and What to Do About It Hardcover – August 23, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Gallup Press (August 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595620540
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595620545
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #853,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tom Rieger is a Senior Practice Expert with Gallup Inc. He is an expert in identifying and correcting barriers to success, both for companies and societies. Rieger has built a number of frameworks that apply behavioral economic principles to a variety of complex problems, across both boardrooms and battlefields. Tom received an MS in Industrial Administration from Carnegie-Mellon in 1986.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 8 customer reviews
It appears that a lot of good research has gone into the writing of this book.
Rick
Tom's book portrays the negative consequences such as layoffs, decline in sales, morale being extinguished, and FEAR in the employees.
Navid
The sooner we learn to deal with it so that we can harness it's power turning it into a positive, then fear works for us~~~!!!!
Michael A~~~~

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A reader on September 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was torn on how many stars to give the book - on the one hand it does a brilliant job of illustrating how destructive fear-based controls are to engagement, productivity, and service but on the other hand, gives sparse, general, and shallow suggestions on how to overcome these issues. Perhaps a more accurate title would be "Diagnosing the Fear Barrier?"

He also opens and closes the book with a fictional case study full of hyperbole and magical transformation - not very compelling. The specific companies and their experiences he cites in the body of the text do a much better job of making the author's points. For senior management and executives seriously looking at transforming their company culture, this is a quick and accessible place to start (and a real world look at how so many of us find the condescending oversight that limits our contributions). For middle managers and frontline supervisors, you'll just nod your head and roll your eyes in recognition but not take away much meaningful guidance on how you can effect the change your workplace so badly needs.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Navid on September 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book, and I would highly recommend it!

It's for all levels in the corporate world. Especially for those who understand working for empire builders, and perfect for the power-mongers at the top who are in denial and have the autopilot on, headed right for a mountain.

Tom Rieger does a terrific job illustrating how destructive fear-based controls are to engagement, productivity, success and growth, and talent retention. It gives a thorough insight for business leaders to understand the cost of losing talent, making sales suffer, and creating corporate havoc due to empire building, territorialism, and parochialism.

It's like treating cancer. You want to treat it while it's in its infancy. It's about being proactive. You don't want to wait to see it go to stage four, and then throw every possible solution under the sun at it, and then ask: "Uhh, gee, how come this didn't work?", and then find someone to throw under the bus for the misdeeds.

Ever work for an overbearing manager? Favoritism, nepotism, bureaucracy - all destroy companies from the inside out. The book walks you through simple ways on how to overcome fear in corporations. It vividly outlines the consequences of the circumstances when management leads poorly, and employees simply follow because of the fear. There was a saying about Fred the CEO, he took his lemming for a walk only one time - straight off a cliff.

I believe in this book so much, that I purchased it for the brass-hat at my company. Sometimes, even the best of us make wrong choices. It's like putting out a grease fire with water. It's just getting bigger and out of control, and then it hits you, that the wrong solution applied can create really bad consequences.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Shefali Dua on July 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The author addresses the subject head on about the how fear evolves in an organization. He explains the pyramid of bureaucracy a fearful organization will evolve from parochial, territorial to empire building. Each level of the pyramid builds on the one before it, creating more and more barriers with each step. He is spot on identifying patterns and behavior which rise fear walls. He gives recommendations on how courageous leaders can sway the ship outwards by eliminating fear by conviction and perseverance.

Facets of Fear
1. Fear leads companies to destroy themselves. It happens quietly and subtly.
2. When people fear losing, they can feel compelled to create walls.
3. While walls may shelter one person/group, they leave others out in the cold.
4. When threatened, natural inclination is to fight/grab what you can and run.
5. In barrier-plagued companies, vital courage wins over moral courage.
6. When growth is not handled properly, the seeds of bureaucracy are planted.

Territorial Manager Behaviors
1. Taking away freedom to make decisions
2. Taking away time
3. Eliminating training opportunities
4. Restricting access to information or resources
5. Limiting employee participation and innovation
6. Withholding managerial support

Common courage killers:
1. Inconsistency
2. Playing the blame game
3. Hoarding information
4. Public floggings
5. Subjectivity/rewarding subservience over service
6. Excessive control

How to build a fearless organization
1. Vital courage is best for the employee;Moral courage for the organization.
2. Leaders need to motivate employees to perform acts of moral courage.
3.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Leaf on September 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A how to book on diagnosing and countering bureaucracy -- some helpful thoughts, but nothing seemed to be new to me, just a new assembly of common sensical approaches. I was expecting something that would be a bit more focused on culture or related to company life-cycle, but it was pretty generic. Many examples were from customer service, which is very specific. In short it was helpful, but not extraordinarily so. I probably won't finish it.
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