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Managing By Storying Around Paperback – January 30, 1992


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 249 pages
  • Publisher: Armstrong International (David M. Armstrong) (January 30, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0964802716
  • ISBN-13: 978-0964802711
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #224,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book is timeless, because storytelling's power is timeless. But it's timely, too, very timely. The marketplace is demanding that we burn the policy manuals and knock off the incessant memo writing; there's just no time. It also demands we empower everyone to constantly take initiatives. It turns out stories are a - if not the - leadership answer to both issues." -- Tom Peters

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The Time Clock - We had just acquired Everlasting Valve, a union shop with a traditional type of labor-management relationship, and our managers wanted to show the employees how we did things. Without consulting anyone at Corporate, the managers decided to remove the time clock. "If we really believe our people are our strongest asset, then we should treat them as if they are," the managers said to themselves. "Why should we have a time clock that humiliates them? They're adults. They know what time they are supposed to be at work. They know what's expected of them."

The managers went into the shop and took down the clock. Talk has always been cheap, but here was a group of leaders who, through their actions, were making it clear to their people that they believed the people they worked with were important and trustworthy.

How did the union employees react? They were shocked. At first, they expected the time clock would be used as a negotiating tool during the upcoming contract talks. But the fact that the management wanted nothing in return proved to them that they really were trusted.

They've proved they're worthy of that trust. We haven't had a problem with people coming in late. In fact, some people are now coming in early.

People know what time it is. If they don't, a time clock won't get them to work on time.

The Moral of the Story

* Do the right thing - willingly. Don't turn issues of respect - eliminating the time clock, unlocking closed doors - into bargaining issues. Do what's right. It will work. People still came to work on time and gave us a full day's work, even without having to punch in or out. * Time ticks on. Your people know what time it is. If they don't, no time clock is going to help get them to work on time, or convince them to give you an honest day's work. * Delegate. It was the people on the front line who had the responsibility for making sure the Everlasting division was productive, so it just made sense for them to handle the time clock issue as they saw fit. * Listen. The leaders at Everlasting had heard their people complain about the time clock. It symbolized they were not trusted. Not only did the leaders listen to the message, they took action. * Treat people like people. Life is easier, and you are more productive in the long term, if you show respect for the people who work for you. A "do it or else" attitude works only in the short term.


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Customer Reviews

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I recently reread Armstrongs book for a training seminar.
LenWood@aol.com
Hardly surprising, then, that the actual text of the chapter entitled "How to Story Around" takes up a little less than two full sides of a page!
Karl
Go buy "Chicken Soup for the Soul" if you want to regurgitate someone else's story.
Steve Johnson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Karl on December 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
Why are you thinking of buying this book?
If it's because you want a book that will teach you how to use stories in a business setting, forget it. Out 249 pages in the main text, just 21 pages are given over to "how", and several pages of that are scene setting. Hardly surprising, then, that the actual text of the chapter entitled "How to Story Around" takes up a little less than two full sides of a page!
The rest of the book consists of 75 stories from the author's own repetoire, each one of which ends with an explanation and moral(s) that the author thinks each story teaches.
So, at least you have a set of 75 short stories to get your own collection started. Right?
Wrong!
The problem is that, by the author's own yardstick, readers from any company other than his own (Armstrong International and its subsidiaries) cannot use these particular stories because the stories you tell should be true, or very very nearly so; and they should be about your own company, or why should your listeners accept them as relevant.
What does that leave?
Seventy-five snack-size sets of instructions on how to run a company a la Armstrong International (the "morals" that follow each story).
So, if you're looking for a book of one man's views on management practice, circa 1992, this may be the book you're looking for.
If you were looking for anything else, like guidance on developing your own story writing/telling skills, this very likely is NOT the book you were after.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Eric on January 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
Much as I value the use of storytelling as a business tool, the value of this particular book was summed up by a story very near the back of the book.
The story is called "The $1.2-Million Maintenance Man."
The moral at the end of the story says that a $30,000-a-year maintenance man will cost your company $1.2 million dollars over 40 years (because he never gets a pay rise?) so you could save all that money by firing the maintenance man and doing all the work yourselves.
Duh!
Excuse me, boss, but who is going to be paying our salaries whilst we are doing the maintenance man's work?
Now you have $40,000/year, $60,000/year, $100,000/year or more, maintenance men and women all across the company doing jobs you could have got done by just one person for $30,000/year! Not to mention that any half way decent maintenance man does a whole lot more than just change a light bulb from time to time, water the plants and move bits of furniture.
And where do we go from here? Get rid of the secretaries and do all your own typing and filing? Get rid of the computer operators and do your own data entry? Get rid of the PAs and make your own appointments?
This makes about as much sense as buying ten items in a sale, even though you only want one, just so you can save more money!
When the author wrote this book he was vice president of his family's international company. Pity he didn't make his way up from the ranks, this MIGHT have been a much better book.
And then again, maybe not.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeff SKI Kinsey on April 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
I just recommended this book to someone, then noticed a couple of negative reviews on Amazon. Too bad. This is a great book. Terrible title. Try saying it even once, fast, let alone three times!

Armstrong points out the premise, and how he applied it to his business. Period. If you unable (or unwilling) to figure out how to make the concept work in your unique setting, then don't buy the book. However, if you understand that as Jim Collins says, that the RIGHT people are your greatest asset, then I believe this book holds tremendous value... along with "the dream manager" by Kelly.

--Jeff SKI Kinsey, Jonah
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Format: Paperback
This is one of my favorite business books. It communicates the ethos of one company in a captivating way. 75 stories, taken from personal experiences of the company founder. The format: a business situation poses ethical and procedural questions followed by a response (the moral) that reveals the company's philosophy.

In one story, the sale team has an opportunity to bill the client a much higher rate on a rush order. The president insists that they charge the standard price--even though the buyer would surely agree to the higher price. Thinking for the long-term, let's make a life-time customer, not just a one-time sale. Don't screw your customers even when you can.

It's good advice for any sales team in my view.

In your company, do you have a procedures manual? Have you read it? Do you have periodic ethics briefings? Is this wasted effort? Instead, maybe you should communicate to your team the reasoning behind your rules rather than the rules themselves.

These are not stories that you can reuse. Go buy "Chicken Soup for the Soul" if you want to regurgitate someone else's story. Instead, "Managing by Storying Around" illustrates a novel approach to instilling your philosophy into your company's DNA.
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