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Helping: How to Offer, Give, and Receive Help Paperback – February 14, 2011
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About the Author
Edgar H. Schein is currently a Sloan Fellows Professor of Management Emeritus and continues at the Sloan School part time as a Senior Lecturer. He is also the Founding Editor of "Reflections" the Journal of the Society for Organizational Learning devoted to connecting academics, consultants, and practitioners around the issues of knowledge creation, dissemination and utilization. He has made a notable mark on the field of organizational development in many areas, including career development, group process consultation, and organizational culture. Schein has been a prolific researcher, writer, teacher and consultant. Besides his numerous articles in professional journals he has authored fourteen books including Organizational Culture and Leadership (over 153,000 sold) and The Corporate Survival Handbook (over 34,000 sold). He is generally credited with inventing the term corporate culture
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Top Customer Reviews
The key theme in the book is that in order to provide helpful help you need to be build the helping relationship - not jumping to the expert/doctor role of dispensing advise/diagnosing but first listening, understanding, working through what Schein calls Humble Inquiry which starts with Pure inquiry - understanding what is happening without trying to influence the client in any way. Only then moving to Diagnostic Inquiry which directs attention to other aspects in the story and Confrontational Inquiry which asks what-if questions thereby hinting at suggestions (which is close to the Doctor/Expert role).
If we look at what we are trying to do with Kanban - it is quite similar. We start with understanding the system by visualizing it. Not trying to diagnose/probe too deeply before we understand - actually before the client/clients understand. Accessing our ignorance - we don't know HOW the system is working, we don't know how it SHOULD be working. Which is exactly what Schein is trying to do with process consulting - to build the understanding together, not be in a position to understand FOR the client but WITH the client. In Schein's perspective this not only minimizes the chance we will dispense generic advise based on our experience of similar events but will help to equilibarate the relationship between helper and helped - listening and respecting the situation helps the client/helped gain back "face" that he lost by asking for help. If we don't "bring the helped up" by doing this there is a chance he will "bring us down" by trying to be very critic and unaccepting of our suggestions by the way.
So bottom line the Helping book was quite helpful.
Dr. Schein analyzes the ego shifts that accompany needing help, asking for help, offering help, providing help, and so on. He explains the tenderness of the ego as it navigates through all of these shifting states.
He also introduced me to the notion of "social economics." For example: if I hold a door open for a stranger as we enter an office building I inwardly set an expectation of a thank you from the stranger. I think, "You owe me." It's dumb, but I see myself in that example. As the stakes get serious with co-workers, bosses, spouses, and friends it becomes increasingly important to be fluent with the social economics of the situation you are in.
This book has increased my sensitivity to the dynamics that surround the art of helping. I am also much more alert to recognizing the "state" of my relationships and to accounting for the social economics that are in play. I don't want to be unaware of a debt that someone has assigned to me, and I don't want to chalk up obligations that exist only in my own imagination.
This is a how-to book with wide applications, and I recommend it highly.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Clearly written with useful tips