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Letters to a Young Manager

Mean Time to Story Failure, #999
LTYM > Conclusion

Dear Reader,
If you have made it this far in the book, you have heard enough management stories for a lifetime (or like Billy Crystal in "When Harry Met Sally," you read the last page first and now have one story to retell.)

My grandmother liked to tell stories. But she had a tendency to repeat the same ones. (I suppose that happens with age; we get to the point where we can repeat ourselves with impunity.) She also had a great sense of humor. So when I suggested that we number her stories and just use the numbers, we had a good laugh. But she still retold the stories.

I suppose that's the point, that we retell each other's stories. I've spent over 50 years hearing and telling tales, some funny and some poignant, but all with some bit of wisdom when I thought about it. I spent the last 10 years writing down them down...and adding a number for easy reference.

I found a delightful Dilbert cartoon from one of the Sunday papers in 2004 (if I read between the frames). Dogbert suggests we need to improve our MTTSF, our Mean Time To Story Failure if we are going to improve our relationships (appropriate for an IT person.) One of things I've realized in social gatherings is that we can overdo it, and fall victim to failure by talking too much. And that's a failure in good relations. Ask Dale Carnegie.

Everyone has a story or three to tell. A good leader may tell good stories. but she also seeks to discover the stories that each person brings to the job. So ask. And write them down, with or without the numbers. It's not a contest of whoever gathers the most stories wins. But if you learn to remember a few and tell your own, you'll be a better manager. That's the point of this book. And the good stories will stick, get retold, and hopefully make others better managers too.
My best regards,

[1]When Harry Met Sally, 1989,
[2] Scott Adams, Dilbert, 2004,


Your top stories are the memorable ones

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