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Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable...About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business Hardcover – March 4, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
The business meeting—a necessary evil or a vital and invigorating component of running an organization? According to management consultant Lencioni (The Five Temptations of a CEO), meetings should fit the latter description, but more often than not, he says, they don't. In this lackluster audio fable, Lencioni offers practical advice on how to revitalize your business by energizing your business meetings, but his pallid, passive prose would challenge the most skilled narrator, and Arthur is no exception. The voice Arthur lends Will, the young hero of this tale, resembles that of Sesame Street's Ernie on downers, and the various inflections he gives business owner Casey McDaniel and his management team don't make up for the characters' lack of character. Nevertheless, Lencioni's message comes across loud and clear—meetings should be interactive, not passive, and they should be structured (i.e., issues of immediate importance should be discussed in "weekly tactical" meetings, and issues that will fundamentally affect the business should be addressed in "monthly strategic" meetings). Although managers will find this advice worthwhile, they would gather just as much if they skipped the sluggish fable and listened to the last few tracks.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“…a work of fiction with important messages for management” (Leadership & Organisational Development Journal)
“The author is something of a master of the modern fable….” (Professional Manager, Vol.13, No.6, November 2004)
“…pitches his theory neatly at busy readers by opening with an executive summary.” (Supply Management, 8 July 2004)
"Highly recommended: you could even take it to your next meeting." (On Target, September 2007)
Top customer reviews
Casey is a former semi-pro golfer who starts a game development studio creating golf simulations. His company is acquired, and told that his business can remain autonomous, but only if they improve their performance, now that they are a public company.
Casey, unable to realize how poorly structured and useless his meetings were, hires Will, a 20-something who just finished his MBA and is looking to improve the company's meetings. In doing so, he learns a bit about the business, and how to engage co-workers.
Overall, I found the story to do a suitable job of illustrating the author's key points. If you want to get to the bottom of the book, you can really read the last 10 pages or so, which can also be found on the author's site: [...]
This is a must read for anyone who leads a staff of people. It will help them to organize their meeting schedules. Meetings are a must but the type of meeting is strategic. Buy it, you will enjoy!!!\
Eldon R Barkman
In terms of criticism, I thought the fable part of the book was mediocre. A mediocre story line is kind of ironic given the fact that the premise of the book revolves around effective storytelling.
I did enjoy the book, but I would have been just as happy with a one-page outline of the meeting structure. I would not recommend this book for someone without enough patience to enjoy the slow development of the ideas -- they would get more value from a one-page outline. I would recommend this book for someone who wants to savor the concepts and retains information better when it is dramatized. I'd also recommend it to anyone who wants to improve the quality of meetings.