The book, Fables for Leaders, is Published.

Posted by jlubans on September 22, 2017  •  Leave comment (1)

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Caption: Author JOHN LUBANS and Editor SHERYL ANSPAUGH with pre-print copy of Fables for Leaders in Riga, Latvia, July 2017 (Photo by Baiba Holma).

My new book, Fables for Leaders, with original illustrations by Béatrice Coron and designed by ALISE ŠNĒBAHA, is now available on pre-order ($26.99).
Ezis Press
ISBN: 978-0-692-90955-3
LCCN: 2017908783

ORDER NOW at BOOKBABY’s BOOKSHOP!
A DEAL AT BARNES & NOBLE!
Or, pre-order at Amazon
Why Fables?

Stories are part of our human-ness. So, why not take the essential story – a fable – and apply it to the workplace and draw from it what wisdom we can. My un-textbook covers a variety of topics relevant to leadership, teams, followership and is based on my many years in higher ed administration, not to mention my interest in using literature in teaching concepts about the democratic workplace.
What others say:

Arthur P. Young:
Observer as well as participant, Lubans’ insights and sense of humor are on every page of this creatively illustrated and entertaining volume. An exceptional librarian and protean teacher, he incorporates examples from his experience to contextualize the lessons. It’s about every place where people work together!
Jerry D. Campbell:
Fables are designed to deliver a timeless truth or life-lesson in a compact, pithy, and brief way—tailor made for busy people. For those in a hurry a page in this book delivers a discrete and powerful message. Lubans’ commentary is equally concise and insightful. Space is provided for your own reflections. Highly recommended.
Kate Wittenberg:
A fresh and welcome approach to improving business leadership. Lubans’ fables and commentary are immediately useful takeaways: clearheaded with perspective. Lovely design, convenient space for personal notes.
LaVerne Thornton:
John Lubans’ book provokes us to think of the many moral issues we face. Keep it as a reference. It’s a useful guide for considering the morality involved in so many aspects of life.
Alvin L. Crumbliss:
Original and innovative fables, both ancient and new, replace the traditional management case studies. On multiple levels, fables are effective and applicable to numerous situations. Combined with delightful illustrations, these fables are, in contrast to case studies, often amusing and pithy.

© Copyright John Lubans 2017

Friday Fable. Odo of Cheriton ‘s “THE ABBOT AND THE FLEA”

Posted by jlubans on September 15, 2017  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: Illustration by Arthur Rackham, 1912.

“AN Abbot, having caught a Flea, said to him, ‘At last I have caught you. Many a time have you bitten me; now that I have you I will never let you go, but shall put you to death.’
‘Holy Father,’ said the Flea, ‘since you are going to kill me, place me in the palm of your hand, so that I may freely confess my sins to you.’
The Abbot, moved by pious pity, placed the Flea in the middle of his palm.
The Flea at once made a great jump, and by his jump, escaped. The Abbot called loudly to him to return and confess his sins, but the Flea would not return.
There are many people who finding themselves in a tight place, promise much, but when set at liberty fail to keep their promises.”

_________________
In Aesop’s version (depicted), the flea bites the dust.
Odo’s flea survives, playing on the Abbott’s “pious pity”. While Odo often panned his clergy betters for their egregious sins, his epimythium is less about lambasting the clergy than it is about those who make promises – to get something – and having gotten what they want, reneg on their promises.
I was a partner in a research project that went belly up. Why? My partner was active and wholly committed, until he gained tenure, his personal “tight spot”. Once there, his interest waned into nothingness.
How do we avoid resting on our laurels after reaching a desired life position? Do we plateau or do we continue to strive, finding in each day something to do better, something new to explore?

*Source: Cooper, Frederic Taber, editor (1864-1937), “An argosy of fables; a representative selection from the fable literature of every age and land”. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company. 1921.

N.B. My next book,
Fables for Leaders, Ezis Press, can be pre-ordered now ($26.99) with original illustrations by Béatrice Coron.
ISBN: 978-0-692-90955-3
LCCN: 2017908783


© Copyright John Lubans 2017

Friday Fable (delivered on Sunday) Phaedrus’ “THE FAMISHED BEAR”

Posted by jlubans on September 10, 2017  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: What’s for lunch?

“ONE autumn, when the crop of woodland berries had begun to fail, a hungry Bear made his way down to the rocky seashore, and seizing a big stone between his hairy limbs slowly lowered himself into the water. Before long a number of crabs had laid fast hold upon the thick fur of his hide, whereupon the Bear climbed back upon dry land, shook off the haul of sea-food he had netted, and settled down to enjoy their tender meat at his leisure.
Even the dullest brains are sharpened by hunger.”
___________________
In my on-the-job experience, I came to find that scarcity, like the bear’s hunger, could lead to innovation. But that could only happen when leaders challenged and gave permission to staff to respond in creative ways. Those circumstances brought out the best and the worst in staff. The latter stonewalled and refused to re-think what we were doing. There was only one answer to scarcity: more resources. Unlike the inventive bear, they'd as soon go "hungry".
The former seized on the opportunity to engage and to innovate.
The leader’s role was first to ask for help – thereby giving permission to staff to think! - in solving a problem. Secondly, to demonstrate by word and deed that failure in a good effort was not going to be punished.
And, I found that my questioning the status quo promoted innovation:
Why do we do this?
What do we want/need to do?
What can we do without?
Our allegedly simple minded bear eschews a Rube Goldberg complex solution with pulleys, chutes, ropes, buckets, and wheels. (Believe me, some in the workplace really do believe complex is best.)
Instead, Brother Bear finds a clever way to lower himself into the water and come up with lunch.

*Source: Cooper, Frederic Taber, editor (1864-1937), “An argosy of fables; a representative selection from the fable literature of every age and land”. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company. 1921.

N.B. My next book,
Fables for Leaders, Ezis Press, debuts at end of September 2017 ($26.99) with original illustrations by Béatrice Coron.
ISBN: 978-0-692-90955-3
LCCN: 2017908783

© Copyright John Lubans 2017

Friday Fable. Phaedrus’ “THE FLEA AND THE CAMEL

Posted by jlubans on September 02, 2017  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: Nonchalant camel having none of it.

“AS a Camel plodded on through the desert, weighted down with many burdens, a Flea perched contentedly on his back, greatly enjoying her exalted position. After they had journeyed a long distance and towards sunset reached the halting-place, the Flea at once skipped nimbly to the ground.
‘Did you see,’ she asked, ‘how quickly I got down, so as not to tire your poor back a moment longer?’
‘Thank you,’ replied the Camel, ‘but to tell the truth, I did not feel your weight while you were on my back, nor do I notice the difference, now that you are down!’”

___________________
Like Sir Roger L'Estrange’s idiomaticA Fly upon a Wheel”,
here’s someone with an elevated ego equating herself to the hard working camel.
In the workplace, when something goes well, there’s bound to be a few who contributed little but are happy to be part of the victory photo. This taking of undeserved credit is not limited to peers, it can be the boss who puts up barriers to a group’s work and then – when it succeeds – claims it was his idea all along!
On outdoor expeditions I've been on, the flea is the guy who disappears when it is time to put up the cooking tent and re-appears just when dinner is served.

*Source: Cooper, Frederic Taber, editor (1864-1937), “An argosy of fables; a representative selection from the fable literature of every age and land”. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company. 1921.

N.B. My next book,
Fables for Leaders, Ezis Press, debuts at end of September 2017, ($26.99) with original illustrations by Béatrice Coron.
ISBN: 978-0-692-90955-3
LCCN: 2017908783

© Copyright John Lubans 2017