By Julie King | November 30, -0001
There are many management books attempting to provide readers with a system they can use to increase performance. In this book Karen Evenson proposes that managers redefine "fear" as an enabler, where the word fear becomes an acronym with each letter in the word representing a management approach that should help the reader improve corporate performance.
To help readers understand her management theory, Evenson guides them to a mythical kingdom complete with a King who is facing some serious problems and a wizard who will ultimately help the King change the way he does things to restore wealth and happiness in the kingdom.
The biggest problem with this book is its lack of focus. The author has some good ideas to convey, but they are communicated poorly. Scattered is probably the best way to describe both the visual and conceptual presentation of concepts.
To illustrate, consider the following example from the book. In the section on identifying a corporate vision the author jumps from a simplistic conversation between the King and wizard in her story to a how-to section on developing a corporate vision with the title Quantum Leap: Your Vision - This is Not an Eye Test. While the "eye test" humour may appeal to some, I found it distracting. The how-to section then provides a vague starting point for the reader: "1. Post a series of questions that relate to the task and ask how the final outcome ought to look at a future point of time. The vision questions will always be different depending on the situation." (p.42) A more concrete statement here and an indication that sample questions can be found on the following page would have been a great improvement.
On the positive side, if one skims the book there are a number of exercises that groups of employees can do together to identify problems within the company and to help improve their working relationships.
It can be difficult to use a story to teach business concepts, and in this case I think Evenson fails to use the story approach effectively. Her jumps between her storyline and corporate exercises become vague due to their attempt to be all-encompassing. Had Evenson stuck with the story concept throughout the book, where her how-to sidelines were illustrated in the context of the story, the book may have been more successful. However, in its current form my advice would be for you to look for management guidance from another source.