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Think or Sink: A Parable of Collaboration Paperback – July 19, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Collaboration is becoming a lost art in business. In Think or Sink, John Canfield uses three learning styles (parable, reflection and tools & techniques) to draw the reader into the essential team capability: collaboration. Pay attention to Chuck, the collaborative manager, who skillfully supports his team as they think, converse and work through  the project. Make note of the tools he employs. There's a lot to learn in this small book.

Charlotte Roberts, PhD - Executive Consultant

Author (with Peter Senge et al) The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook and The Dance of Change

About the Author

John Canfield is an expert at helping teams develop effective collaboration skills, building both great decisions and great buy-in. His primary strategy to improve an organization's performance is to improve thinking skills. John's Think or Sink - A Parable of Collaboration introduces his Good Thinking Curriculum. John has earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. in Political Science and Psychology from Williams College. Prior to 1990 John was a Senior Engineering Manager for Intel Corporation and later Director of Corporate Quality and Design Research for Herman Miller.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Black Lake Press (July 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982444656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982444658
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,338,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed reading this book and the tale of collaboration regarding three different teams each with a different leader and leadership style. If you have been in any organization for a reasonable length of time then you'll immediately relate to the styles and pitfalls that come into play with a couple of the leaders. The ending of the story becomes somewhat predictable as the book goes on but that does not detract from the work in any way.

The real value of the book in my opinion is not simply the entertaining tale about the characters (if you are like me you'll wind up rooting for one and against two) and their efforts. The value in my opinion is in stopping at the end of each chapter, reflecting upon the questions posed by the author and then thinking about how to improve your own style of leadership and collaboration. Unfortunately there is simply a shortage of talented leaders in most organizations and we can all learn from the reflection process in this book.

I had the fortune of meeting the author about 15 years ago when he helped the company I was working at embark upon a large quality improvement effort that required immense cross functional collaboration in what was a fairly dysfunctional group of leaders. John's coaching help got the team on track and helped enable it to achieve its goal which was a quality improvement to near six sigma levels of performance long before that term ever started being thrown around.

So I know from personal experience Mr. Canfield's thoughts on leadership and collaboration are spot on and this book helps crystallize thinking on that topic. I look forward to the follow up titles mentioned in the "Good Thinking" series.

Art Smalley
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Format: Paperback
Following in the model of Eli Goldratt's "The Goal," Spencer Johnson's "The One-Minute Manager," and John Kotter's "Our Iceberg is Melting," John Canfield lays out three management styles and their consequences in fast-moving fiction that could be pages lifted from nearly any organization. The stories have the plot, emotion, personal motivations, and human frailties of any good work of fiction. Canfield steps away from the stories at the end of each chapter to offer commentary and questions to get you thinking about your own thinking and that stories that you have experienced in your career that are similar.

When the fiction has reached its conclusion, Canfield draws from his rich knowledge to explain how successful managers, people, and teams can use a portfolio tools to organize their own thinking and that of their teams and organizations. As I read through the final chapters, I quickly saw how I can start applying these tools to organize my own thinking, and guide the my work with colleagues and partners, and Board of Directors. I highly recommend Think or Sink to any one who works in any size organization. Applying a few of the thinking tools offered in Canfield's Good Thinking Series will move your career forward and improve your organization. In fact, every CEO should buy a copy for all of the managers and then lead the organization in applying the tools of good thinking.

Bob Johnston
Executive Director
Tropical Forest Foundation
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Format: Paperback
Think or Sink is a very interesting and insightful book. The events outlined in this company story are very close to home within all of our organizations. While this particular story crosses multiple plant locations, the very same problems can be found within the four walls of a majority of our organizations today. John's insights into the different leadership styles, methods and behaviors, leading to both good and bad collaborations, are easy to relate to. As John continues to point out, organizations move forward on business performance improvements which must be based on sound decisions and supported by employees. Decisions and their impact within our organizations are only as good as the collaboration between individuals, departments and functions. John provides useful and thought provoking recommendations about how to collaborate more effectively. We should read this book to consider what is happening within our own organizations and learn how we might collaborate more effectively.

Russell Scaffede
GM/VP Toyota Motor Manufacturing
Global VP Manufacturing Donnelly Corporation
Retired
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By JD the elder on October 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Those with experience in commercial or aerospace industry corporate culture, will surely identify with the business principles this book presents. Through skillful character development and exploitation, the reader is lead through hypothetical scenarios that illustrate how solutions to an acute corporate challenge are approached and implemented by different sister organizations. The business lessons about success (and failure) in responding to the challenge clearly illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of inherent leadership and imbedded corporate cultures.

The hypothetical corporate leadership characters presented are so representative of the style of real life characters, that the reader is lead to the feeling that "I know that person".

My wife and I enjoyed this book. It reads like a novel, and we identified with the characters, the way they were presented, and the realisitic corporate settings.

A good read.
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