The issues fueling the intricate plots of Shakespeare's four-hundred-year-old plays are the same common, yet complex issues that business leaders contend with today. And, as John Whitney and Tina Packer so convincingly demonstrate, no one but the Bard himself can penetrate the secrets of leadership with such piercing brilliance. Let him instruct you on the iss...
The issues fueling the intricate plots of Shakespeare's four-hundred-year-old plays are the same common, yet complex issues that business leaders contend with today. And, as John Whitney and Tina Packer so convincingly demonstrate, no one but the Bard himself can penetrate the secrets of leadership with such piercing brilliance. Let him instruct you on the issues that managers face every day:
* Power: Richard II's fall from power can enlighten us.
* Trust: Draw on the experiences of King Lear and Othello.
* Decision: Hamlet illustrates the dos and don'ts of decision making.
* Action: See why Henry IV was effective and Henry VI was not.
Whitney and Packer do not simply compare Shakespeare's plays with management techniques, instead they draw on their own wealth of business experience to show us how these essential Shakespearean lessons can be applied to modern-day challenges. Power Plays infuses the world of business with new life — and plenty of drama.
The great Bard's influence has always been broad and far-reaching, but his insightful commentary on all forms of power and politics in his plays has made William Shakespeare the current darling of the management theory set. Power Plays stands out as an interesting and useful look at what Shakespeare has to teach leaders about the use and abuse of power, the skills of communication and persuasion crucial to a leader's success in achieving objectives, and reconciling and balancing values and responsibilities.
The coauthoring duo of Whitney and Packer is effective. John Whitney, a professor at the Columbia Business School, former CEO, and veteran of corporate startup and turnaround ventures, combines his professional knowledge of the business arena and his personal love of Shakespeare's plays with the dramatic experience and analytical insight of Tina Packer, the founder and president of Massachusetts's thriving Shakespeare and Company. Much of Whitney and Packer's interpretive skill lies in their ability to do just that--interpret effectively. Rather than merely attaching the human strengths and weaknesses exemplified by Shakespearean characters to any and every corporate success or failure they can pull out of the bag, the authors conduct careful examinations of exactly what it is that the playwright is attempting to convey. Only after demonstrating a perceptive grasp of the underlying messages of the dramatic action do they then apply that insight to contemporary, real-life businesspeople and environments. The messages range from the seemingly obvious though often ignored comments on power--"Use It Wisely or Lose It"--to the subtle complexities surrounding the development of an Iago character bent on evil revenge. The applications include examples from the authors' own experiences, as well as touching briefly on those of leaders such as Katherine Graham at the Washington Post, Larry Bossidy at Allied Signal, and the business consultant Dr. W. Edwards Deming. Though not often extensive explorations on their own, together the messages and applications offer engaging, informative lessons for leaders and managers in any environment.
From Publishers Weekly
Whitney, a former president of Pathmark Supermarkets, and Packer, a founder of a classical theater company, present a rather pedestrian analysis of the Bard's insights on leadership. Whitney, who admits he made tactical mistakes when he took over running the troubled grocery chain, believes that Shakespeare's plays offer important lessons for today's business arena-e.g., that one of the worst strategies is vying for power simply to have more power. "What does Macbeth accomplish once he wears the crown?": the assassination of his best friends. Obviously, that's not the smartest boardroom tactic, but the authors believe many power-hungry managers do the same thing by firing the employees who once supported them. Good executives surround themselves with loyal supporters: Henry V is able to rally his troops the day before the Battle of Agincourt, and Mark Antony garners support by delivering a moving funeral oration for Caesar. Citing other characters and plots, the authors offer managers a mix of useful if somewhat obvious advice. The chapter on acting like a leader, however, is particularly strong; it explains how managers' behaviorAfrom their dress to the way they enter a roomAcan affect their authority. Although the practical information is not always successfully interwoven with the theatrical references, this unusual look at workplace behavior should help less experienced managers brush up on their people skills. (June)
Who would have thought that Shakespeare could teach us about business? Whitney and Packer did, and here are their delightful insights. Both authors have a hand in the narration, explaining how, for example, OTHELLO's Iago is a perfect metaphor for corporate dissatisfaction as he is passed over for a promotion by the big boss. The authors are good speakers and make their concepts exciting to listen to. In the end, however, this audiobook is not about finding Shakespeare's hidden words of business wisdom but about Whitney and Packer's clever interpretations of the four-hundred-year-old literature for the benefit of the modern business world. R.A.P.