by Ken Blanchard and Jesse Stoner
Simon & Schuster Audio, 2003
Review by David M. Wolf, M.A. on Oct 6th 2004
At the center of this
ambitious program on visioning in business is a decision to tell a story rather
than narrate a program in logical sequence. The story is about Jim, an agency
CEO who has died and left a legacy, an energized vision for his company, and
his story is told by one of his employees.
The employee is a woman. She's
also a new employee who just happens to run into the boss early in the morning
at his dawn-coffee hangout, and they connect. He becomes her mentor; she
becomes his energized co-conspirator in building a new company vision.
Necessarily, the point of view
of this program speaks to and for women, especially women with children
returning to the business world. The story is not only about how she helps
build a business vision, but also, how visioning plays a role in her "at
home" world of teenage children and their schooling. Women, in particular,
should buy Full Steam Ahead! because it is aimed at that audience. Also,
however, men who employ others, including women, can profit from listening to
this work and integrating its lessons into their visioning.
It's not a bad idea to bring
business ideas to life in a story of two characters working toward an
energizing vision. But, like any literary device, story-telling increases the
demands on the writer to both educate and, not incidentally, to entertain. The
former is easier than the latter.
These compounded demands are
greater than some business writers at first imagine. In Full Steam Ahead!
sometimes, the artifice behind the story and the dialogue shows through. It can
be distracting and it can even, once or twice on each disk, get a laugh.
So cut these business
types--Stoner, one suspects--some slack as you listen. Okay, it's not Tom Wolfe
for dialogue and plotting--shut up! It's about working with your employees to
build a credible, enduring vision that will transform lackluster effort into
shining success. Focus on that, and your time will be well spent listening.
© 2004 David Wolf
Wolf is the author of Philosophy That Works, a book about the practice of
philosophy. His book page for orders (hardback & paperback) is www.xlibris.com/philosophythatworks
; readers can also see the first chapter there.