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The Green Sheet Online Edition

November 24, 2008 • Issue 08:11:02

Gather 'round for a tale of business savvy and doom

Ghost Story: A modern business fable is a trip down the rabbit hole with characters that are caricatures of corporate personality types.

Each character represents a particular failing that holds people back in the corporate arena and can stifle a company's growth or even cause it to deteriorate.

Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D, delivers simple axioms through a fantasy tale filled with imaginative characters and circumstances. Dorothy, a clerical employee at a large corporation is asked to participate on a problem-solving team, and the rotation of team leadership has fallen to her.

Feeling ill-equipped and overwhelmed, Dorothy, or Dot, sits in the conference room on Friday after work talking to a bonsai tree. The real fun begins when it speaks back. The rabbit hole is the mini-fridge, and the wonderland exists in the ventilation shafts.

The tree leads her on her weekend-long adventure to the "other side" where she is again asked to lead a team to solve a problem. This time it's a mystery involving a ghost and a strange little man with a wheelbarrow full of files and papers. No one has dared try to communicate with either of them.

Dot is directed to interview a representative from every department and meet with them as a team to solve the problem.

She does as asked, even though her initial instinct is simply to ask the little man and the ghost who they are and what they want.

The little man is rumored to wield an axe. The whole company is afraid of both and believes them to have ulterior motives.

In this alternate reality, Dot meets Mr. Stonewall, the magpie; Prudence Pureperson, the personnel director who is a forefinger in a dress; a two-headed man named Even Steven; and a pig named Admiral Blowhardy; among others. You may snicker as you recognize a co-worker or squirm in your chair at a character that hits too closely to home.

For example, meet Prudence:

    "Now please don't blame me if you've had to wait outside," the finger said in a pouty, little girl's voice. "My staff is quite simply hopeless at organizing anything!"

    "Oh," Dorothy said, "I'm sorry to hear that." She'd never spoken to a giant finger before and had no idea what else to say to it.

    "Useless, the lot of them," the finger went on, "Can't even arrange a simple appointment. And now, just to vex me even more, one of them has moved my lunch. It was here on this desk not five minutes ago. ..."

Here are three of the many truths Dot learns along the way from the little wheelbarrow-pushing man who is thought to be the troublemaker:

  • Knowledge isn't power - sharing knowledge is power.

  • If you fail and don't learn from it, everybody loses.

  • If you win and don't tell others how you did it, everybody else still loses.

The book is an easy read with its fairy tale style. Charming illustrations of the outlandish characters pepper its 113 pages.

The valuable messages that Ghost Story delivers are clear and relevant to everyone working within a company's structure regardless of what rung of the corporate ladder they are on.

Goman, President of Kinsey Consulting Services and an international lecturer has written two other corporate self-help books: This Isn't the Company I Joined and Creativity in Business.

She travels the world, delivering keynote addresses and presenting seminars for management conferences and major trade associations.

Her clients, spanning 19 countries, include such big names as 3M Corp., PepsiCo Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co.

Goman worked in a private practice as a therapist for short-term therapy for behavioral change before she founded Kinsey Consulting Services. end of article

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