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Posts from the ‘Book Review’ Category

Engaging Emergence: Turning upheaval into opportunity

Peggy Holman’s new book, Engaging Emergence, presents practical and creative ideas for working with change.

She posted a blog entry, outlining her book in 824 words. It’s a good way to get a quick introduction to her writing and ideas.

Uncertainty as opportunity
Unwoven threads

The naked presenter

At first glance, Garr Reynolds’ new book, The naked presenter, is another entry in the “how to deliver presentation” genre. But as I read through the book, I found myself making notes. The notes were not about how to improve my presentations, but about how I approach change management.

As an organization development practitioner, I spend my time working with change management. This morphs through training – to teach something new, facilitation – where knowledge and ideas are exchanged,  and, communication – designed to inform, motivate, and effect behavior change. Reynolds writes about all of this and more. He integrates information from interpersonal neurobiology, personal observation of his surroundings, and jazz musicians.

He does write about making effective presentations and improving public speaking skills. But the most important idea I encountered in the book is that “lessons are everywhere.” It is up to each of us to inquire into everyone and everything we encounter, asking how it impacts who we are and what old and new lessons we take away.

Each of us has many opportunities to connect with others. Knowing who we are and what matters is the foundation. Knowing why we are speaking, along with how and what we are communicating, allows us to build and effect change.

If you like to walk around the neighborhood block backward, seeing the roof lines and landscape from a new perspective, I recommend reading this book and watching for patterns that reach far beyond presentation design.

Stories that resonate

Nancy Duarte’s new book, resonate (sic), landed on my porch yesterday. A quick read-through showed that in the new book, she is building on her work in slide:ology (sic). The main point? Even a well designed PowerPoint or Keynote slide will not connect with the audience unless the speaker has a compelling story to communicate.

The book delivers a review of story design techniques. I appreciate the case studies and process descriptions that make the material practical. Even more importantly she asks each person to reflect on how and why they communication (p. 216):

Passion for your idea should drive you to invest in its communication.

I have experienced first hand the power of story to connect people and groups, to form networks, and to create something that didn’t exist in the past. This book is worth reading if you want to consider how you communicate – whether or not you stand in front of a group to do it.

Stories with Wings
Goldberg’s Rule
ru comunic8N?

Orbiting thought – Over and out

You may agree or disagree with Gordon MacKenzie’s ideas from Orbiting the Giant Hairball that I’ve been posting. Personally, I find his stories cause me to consider what works and what doesn’t work in organizations as well as my own life. I’ve been asking myself what the unspoken rules and systems are which create the hairball cocoon where it is safe to measure and plan based only on the past. And asking myself just what is invisible leadership?

Jon and I had lunch with one of our Friesen Group advisors last week who told me, “If you’re not a little uncomfortable, you’re not going to grow and make progress.”  He is right. It is time to try something new, push the boundaries, and, just maybe, achieve Orbit.

… if you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living.
  – Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

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