Barnyard OD

Posted by jlubans on December 26, 2011

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I've used childrens’ books now several times in my teaching to illustrate organizational development and leadership concepts. Each time the response and result, regardless of audience, has been very good. (The blog has several entries on my previous uses of children's literature; use the search function to find these.)
At a workshop* on November 30, I used three children’s books, including Tippy-Toe Chick, GO! Groups of 4 or 5 participants followed these directions:
1. Read out loud to your group (as in story time!) one book.
2. Discuss:
Who are followers in this book? What kinds of following do you see?
What is the learning, the take away, the “So what?”, the “Now what?” from this book?
3. Create: a page of your key finding – use crayons and flip chart paper.
4. Present your group drawing to all.

The story: Hen takes chicks daily to a farm yard garden to snack on bugs. Little chick – the smallest is a wanderer and adventurer, not willing to settle for the daily routine. One day a tied-up growling dog won’t let Hen and her chicks into the garden. “We’re hungry”, whine –if chickens can whine - the chickens. Hen says, “We’re out of luck, we’ll never get past the dog.” Little Chick offers to help get pass the dog but her mother and bigger siblings pooh, pooh the offer, “Oh, no! You’re much too small.”
Big Chicken steps up and says “I’ll take care of it” and tries to reason with the dog. Woof! barks the dog. Big Chick skedaddles back to Mom. Then, Middle Chick threatens the dog. Woof! Middle Chick scurries behind Momma Chick.
Now, clearly upsetting the barnyard’s pecking order, Little Chick takes a turn and runs straight at the dog, stopping short when she feels the dog’s hot breath.
She runs sideways and the dog chases her until he is tightly wrapped around the tree.
“Time to eat”, proclaims Little Chick.
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One of the November 30 small groups analyzed the story as a lesson in leading and following in the barnyard organization (I am translating from the Latvian):

BIG CHICK is like the “sheep” or “yes men” type of follower. Challenged, she is content to do the same work everyday - to accommodate circumstances.
She does think about the work, just does as habit dictates or as she is told.
She is too afraid (vs. the dog) to stand up for herself or to express her own point of view.

The mother HEN, is a “survivor” type of follower/leader. She worries about all the chicks, takes care of the chicks and is highly aware of her responsibility. Protecting the chicks is all important.

The DOG, a member of the barnyard organization, is the classic entrenched (or “alienated”) follower:
- Opposed to change – in fact is “tied” literally to the job.
- Not interested in other views
- Thinks and acts only for perceived self-interests
- Gets what he wants (through coercive power).
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Little Chick, the “effective” follower
- Takes action, displays action
- Thinks for self and finds a solution
- Allows others to express ideas,

In the end, Little Chick, after considerable thought and observation, overcomes the alienated follower.
Telling it!
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* Tippy-Toe Chick, Go!
Authored by George Shannon
Illustrated by Laura Dronzek
Published by Greenwillow Books
2003
Suggested grade levels: 4’s –2nd grade
I used this book at my November 30, 2011 workshop in Riga for 25 participants from academic libraries across Latvia. The workshop was held at the Riga School of Law.

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Comments

Posted by Miriam Holley on December 27, 2011  •  15:25:52

I want to be the little chick...what do you think John...kiss miriam

Posted by jlubans on December 28, 2011  •  08:48:25

You are the hero regardless of species. JOHN

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