Friday, September 25, 2009

Books I'm Reading 29 & 30) Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson & Kenneth Blanchard and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

Both of these are sort of little stories which I'm hoping will help make me view some work changes in a different light so I read and I'm now writing about them as a pair. They're both good independently but given some of the radical change at my current company, are probably better as a complementary pair.

Who Moved My Cheese is more generally about change and how to look at view change, not as a negative but as an opportunity and therefore a positive. The slightly hokey story about Sniff and Scurry (the mice) and Hem and Haw (the little people) does provide a safe way to reflect upon my own decisions. Even if some parts like seeing the "writing on the wall" just make me feel like I'm being patronized. Don't get me wrong, the book provides some lessons and I probably did gain some from it, if nothing else it did make me take a few minutes to reflect on things, but I don't consider this a worthwhile business book. I mean the lessons in the book and the primary message that "change happens" is something I expect any competent business person and any (even semi) successful professional to know. I find it kind of surprising how many people recommended this book to me. A lot of it seemed very common sense. Of course there are times where I let my frustration get the best of me and at that point sense, common or otherwise, pretty much goes out the window.

The second book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is a much more appropriate book given some of the significant changes currently going on at my job and it's a book with both practical information and more conceptual lessons. This is one I would much more recommend for anybody going through change. It doesn't condescend to treat you like a five year old who needs a fairy tale to understand a lesson like "change happens" and it gives you some familiar, though fictional, descriptions of the personalities you're likely to have to deal with. Where Who Moved My Cheese was focused on the individual (and perhaps make sense for the individual sales guy who's trying to hit quota against all the other mice running the maze) Five Dysfunctions, is much more appropriate to business because it focuses on the importance of teamwork and the success of the team rather than the individual.


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