Monday, March 30, 2015

Learning from Fables

The Panchatantra, The Jataka tales and the Hitopadesha have been with us long enough (more about that soon).

But, let me write now about three business fables I read.

The first one is Goal. This to me, remains the definitive fable I have ever read. Its sequels were nowhere close the original. But, if one is to learn about operations and concepts, this is an amazing book.

The second one is Team Dysfunctions by Patrick Lencioni. This book actually takes you through how to resolve team dysfunctions and in a corporate environment it shows how to resolve them. And the best part, it also shows that tough decision need to be taken and how that is important in running a passionate team.

The third one is on Critical Thinking - called Engage the fox. This book was a chance that I picked it up to read on the kindle very recently. And it has been an engaging story using animals.

(Aside, Animal farm remains one of my favorite fables, though the context is slightly different)

So, what makes a fable good.

In my mind few elements. A fable is sticky. Very very sticky. So sticky that is impossible to get it out of your heads. Second, it is non-threatening (because of the characters?) Third, in business fables atleast, the context is fairly straight forward. Third, it has characters of all hues, covering most of the bell curve. Thus, it brings situations to life - far better than a case study can (a well written case, does for sure). Fourth, most likely, there are some sort of mnemonics that add to the stickiness. Fifth, fables by their very nature are simple. However complex the plot, the characters, ultimately there is a layer of simplicity. And that is perhaps the most important takeaway for me atleast. 

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