Monday, September 8, 2014

My Review of Sync or Swim

Here's a description of the book from Moody Publishers:

"The workplace is stressful these days. When people are stressed, they have a harder time learning and applying helpful information. Fortunately, stories are one of the most powerful ways to communicate truths effectively.

Fables cut through complexity to reveal simple, crucial wisdom.  

Sync or Swim is a refreshing, illustrated story of a sheepdog and a puffin, that helps us to solve a frustrating mystery: Why do morale-building programs often hurt morale . . . and why does communicating appreciation too often result in cynical reactions? In Sync or Swim, you'll follow an organizational manager and the challenges he has to overcome:
  • A threatening storm rapidly approaching the island
  • The expectation to do more with less
  • Complaining, negative team members
  • Morale of loyal employees who feel undervalued
  • Long history of mismanagement
It's a small tale with great wisdom, a classic insight into the ways expressing authentic appreciation can change everything-and help us survive the storms that threaten us in work and life."

My Review

Sync or Swim is a quick and interesting read - a sort of "children's book" that addresses adult issues directly related to the workplace. Certain things I thought were really good - others weren't quite as fresh or directly related to my situation.

On the plus side: No matter what your position in a business, there's some great wisdom in here. Learning how to show genuine appreciation for others' work, taking the time to truly listen, and celebrating achievements - those are all things everyone should take to heart. There are some pithy, highlighter-worthy lines here. And the illustrations are unique and a lot of fun!

Now, I would say that the overall message of the book is more specific than I would prefer. But then, I think if the book finds its way into the hands of the exact target audience...well, there you go! Basically, the book is more for those in leadership roles, helping them to understand the employees they're managing and how to bring everyone in different departments together during turbulent times. And if you're at all familiar with Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages, then you'll recognize the heavy emphasis. My impression is that it's sort of like The Five Love Languages for employers/managers, but told in a fable format with animal characters.

Don't get me wrong! Helping managers to effectively communicate their appreciation for those working under them is a huge thing, and applying the five "love languages" to the workplace is a significant and worthy goal. And the story's approach is creative, if a little odd in the sense of animals working in human institutions.

If you're looking for some good advice for maintaining positive relationships with your coworkers, Sync or Swim does include that in a roundabout sort of way. It's an encouraging little read - probably most helpful for business leaders, but still including some good food for thought for others.

*With thanks to Moody Publishers and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*

Note: Sync or Swim releases November 1, 2014.

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