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A Peacock in the Land of Penguins: A Fable about Creativity and Courage

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This newly revised corporate fable about the benefits of a diverse workplace echoes the dilemma facing businesses across the country--how to manage the increasing diversity of the workforce and capture the talent, creativity, energy, and commitment of all employees. Illustrations.


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This newly revised corporate fable about the benefits of a diverse workplace echoes the dilemma facing businesses across the country--how to manage the increasing diversity of the workforce and capture the talent, creativity, energy, and commitment of all employees. Illustrations.

30 review for A Peacock in the Land of Penguins: A Fable about Creativity and Courage

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kelli

    This charming tale makes the case for respecting others' differences in a very sweet way - in a way where it feels like a no-brainer, though we know in real life it's not always that clear-cut. I am reminded to admire and respect the gifts others bring. This charming tale makes the case for respecting others' differences in a very sweet way - in a way where it feels like a no-brainer, though we know in real life it's not always that clear-cut. I am reminded to admire and respect the gifts others bring.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    After reading this management book I have come to the following conclusion: I am a dodo....

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    First off, this is very light reading. And while it's metaphor, it's a good one. Ever think that you just don't belong in the office / workplace where you're working? You're not alone. Those at the top (penguins / suits) tend to want everyone to conform (at least somewhat) to their image of what the ideal employee should be. Not all of us are penguins. Trying to squeeze that tight, conservative suit over our various plumages is uncomfortable as hell and it never quite works out. You can't turn a First off, this is very light reading. And while it's metaphor, it's a good one. Ever think that you just don't belong in the office / workplace where you're working? You're not alone. Those at the top (penguins / suits) tend to want everyone to conform (at least somewhat) to their image of what the ideal employee should be. Not all of us are penguins. Trying to squeeze that tight, conservative suit over our various plumages is uncomfortable as hell and it never quite works out. You can't turn a peacock into a penguin. But, loud and clear, is the message that you don't have to. Penguins aren't the only birds out there. The world has room for other types, too. And, from the business metaphor employed, different types of "birds" have other, valuable contributions they can make to an organization. I tend to be an owl. I'm deeply knowledgeable in a few areas (I've been at my current gig for nearly a decade, doing related stuff for nearly two). I'm able to answer questions, solve really "deep" problems and help train newer employees. I write really good, useful docs. I do well a Subject Matter Expert / Mentor. I don't do well sitting in endless meeting after meeting, planning out the company's tech strategy for the next year or trying to figure out which of those under me should do this project or that. Got questions about what we have and how we got here? I'm your guy. Got a few ideas about what we should / shouldn't do, going forward? I've got experience to inform my opinions. Just don't expect me to put on the penguin suit. Not that kind of bird. If I ever have the choice of leaving the company OR going into management, I'll likely do the former. Not that kind of bird. This book should likely be required reading for anyone going into management, voluntarily or otherwise. Some of the latter group may avoid doing so, after reading this; you need to realize what kind of skill set you truly have and what those roles are well-suited for. For the former group, this is information you need if you're going to manage people effectively. Trying to put a Swan into an Owl role doesn't work any better than trying to turn a Peacock into a Penguin. Sometimes, you need a Mockingbird. Sometimes, you need a Hawk. They are not interchangeable.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Titia Lenzhölzer-Maas

    I have no idea how long this book must have stood in my bookshelves and who gave it to me in the first place. Last night, I was clearing some space for new books and this little book caught my attention. It's a very fast read and it certainly has its charm. I liked the formatting and the underlying message of celebrating diversity. Too often we feel like "het vreemde eendje in de bijt" as we say in Dutch. The strange, odd duck in the pond. The oddball. The one that simply doesn't quite fit in. M I have no idea how long this book must have stood in my bookshelves and who gave it to me in the first place. Last night, I was clearing some space for new books and this little book caught my attention. It's a very fast read and it certainly has its charm. I liked the formatting and the underlying message of celebrating diversity. Too often we feel like "het vreemde eendje in de bijt" as we say in Dutch. The strange, odd duck in the pond. The oddball. The one that simply doesn't quite fit in. More and more companies nowadays want diversity. They really do. At the same time, the challenges are often underestimated or worse they get ignored altogether. We often hear employees are disengaged. I've seen many cases of very engaged employees, who in surveys were categorized as "disengaged" simply because they were frustrated for not feeling understood. Creating a culture where diverse people can develop and bring in their uniqueness is challenging. It needs a conscious and continuous effort. As every fable, the writing can seem a bit childish. In all its simplicity it is an effective call for more awareness on an important topic that shouldn't be neglected. Therefore I like this little fable.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chad Schultz

    In the business world, everyone tries to conform to the common expectations of how work is supposed to operate. They dress the same, talk the same, come up with the same ideas, and so on. Or at least that's the allegation the author makes. The lesson can apply not just to gender or cultural diversity, but to differences in personality and work styles. Someone who is very creative and flits constantly from one idea to another. Someone who is very aggressive and forceful with their ideas. Someone w In the business world, everyone tries to conform to the common expectations of how work is supposed to operate. They dress the same, talk the same, come up with the same ideas, and so on. Or at least that's the allegation the author makes. The lesson can apply not just to gender or cultural diversity, but to differences in personality and work styles. Someone who is very creative and flits constantly from one idea to another. Someone who is very aggressive and forceful with their ideas. Someone who tends to be quiet and in the background, never thrusting themselves forward. This book tries to share the concept with an allegory, but the veneer of fiction is very thin, even thinner than "Who Moved My Cheese" I would say - almost to the point where it seems an unnecessary addition. It's a cute idea, but I don't know that this book is very helpful in learning how to adapt to a workplace when your work style is very different from your colleagues, or learning how to appreciate and make the most of colleagues who have a very different work style. At least it's quite short, so if you're curious, give it a quick run through. I doubt you'll get more out of it than from this summary, however.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This is a hard book to review and rate because, while it’s a clever metaphor, I feel like it would have been more effective in the 80s. Diversity is still a challenge in the workplace and life, but I’m not sure that the corporate mentality of the penguins is the best way to tell that story anymore. The book is a fast read and I doubt it will do anything to change a mindset. If you’re a penguin, you’ll still be a penguin and dismiss the book. If you’re a peacock or another bird, you’ll probably st This is a hard book to review and rate because, while it’s a clever metaphor, I feel like it would have been more effective in the 80s. Diversity is still a challenge in the workplace and life, but I’m not sure that the corporate mentality of the penguins is the best way to tell that story anymore. The book is a fast read and I doubt it will do anything to change a mindset. If you’re a penguin, you’ll still be a penguin and dismiss the book. If you’re a peacock or another bird, you’ll probably still find yourself stuck fighting or having to leave an organization that doesn’t recognize your uniqueness (or playing to expectations and hiding who you are) .... So the book basically states without “solution.” The best part was the very end where all the bird “types” are described just because I feel it’s a clever way to categorize behaviour. Workplaces have colours, leadership styles, etc. But I’ve never has to identify what type of bird I am .... Cute read but not sure it’s a worthwhile one. I would have never gotten it for myself. Was a gift because I like penguins.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Iain

    This book is short, but as long as it needs to be and provides an easily digestible introduction to "diversity" at work. By replacing real ethnicities with different types of birds, the author takes all the heat out of the discussion and focusses on what is really important - getting the best out of people. After all, everyone is different, so the message is that different people need different things to do their best. If you are a manager, I highly recommend it, but it is interesting whatever y This book is short, but as long as it needs to be and provides an easily digestible introduction to "diversity" at work. By replacing real ethnicities with different types of birds, the author takes all the heat out of the discussion and focusses on what is really important - getting the best out of people. After all, everyone is different, so the message is that different people need different things to do their best. If you are a manager, I highly recommend it, but it is interesting whatever your job.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Caro Raciti

    Metaphors are a great way to teach and put things into perspective. Like the author says herself: It's a children's book for grown ups. Easy read, short book, with a focus on organizations and businesses but applicable to every interaction you have in your day to day. E Pluribus Maximus (Greatness from Many). Metaphors are a great way to teach and put things into perspective. Like the author says herself: It's a children's book for grown ups. Easy read, short book, with a focus on organizations and businesses but applicable to every interaction you have in your day to day. E Pluribus Maximus (Greatness from Many).

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Easy read but very effective. A good story for all ages too. While I read for a class on cultural diversity, I found it something that I would be able to share with middle schoolers or high school as a way of expressing the differences between others.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Anderson

    Blah. About the same as Who Moved My Cheese.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michaela

    great metaphor. love the illustrations.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shubha R

    An extremely short read but a food for thought for a longer time!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    An interesting and easy read with a good message.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Henry

    Great easy to read fable with lots of truth for the workplace.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Coates

    A concise and brilliant story of success and happiness stemming from valuing differences. It speaks to a workplace of inclusion and a hope that is held tightly by this new generation of workers.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    A cute way of looking at corporate politics. Pretty much describes my workplace.

  17. 4 out of 5

    YaRiTzA VaZqUeZ

    This was better than I thought it would be. It’s a good source of information that can be reflected in your career and or personal life. I enjoyed it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dustan Woodhouse

    I am giving the book five stars because it is a quick simple read and is either validation of your non-penguin status, or direction on how-to shed that penguin status. Listening to this book I realized how lucky I am to be in an industry that is jammed full of peacocks and various other unique and exotic birds.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Em

    An oddly-formatted book about workplace diversity. It's sort of like a combination of a free-form poem and a picture book, but the drawings aren't great. It's super-quick to read, but it doesn't say anything new. The Land of Penguins recruits talented birds from elsewhere because they want new ideas, but then treats the new birds like they should be penguins. Some of the birds try to fit in; the peacock tries to tone down his flashiness until they accept him and then he can be himself. Turns out An oddly-formatted book about workplace diversity. It's sort of like a combination of a free-form poem and a picture book, but the drawings aren't great. It's super-quick to read, but it doesn't say anything new. The Land of Penguins recruits talented birds from elsewhere because they want new ideas, but then treats the new birds like they should be penguins. Some of the birds try to fit in; the peacock tries to tone down his flashiness until they accept him and then he can be himself. Turns out none of them can be themselves and they're all unhappy, so they leave for the Land of Opportunity where their diverse personalities and talents are appreciated and nurtured. This quote shows how it is assumed men will put the company first and women will be distracted by children and family obligations: It was assumed by all that penguins were natural leaders - orderly, loyal, and good team players. Penguins could be trusted to put the organization's interests ahead of personal and family concerns. Other birds were thought to be more flighty and less dependable. Most people are not sitting around actively thinking "Oh, women are less committed to the job so we should hire a man", but it's an unconscious bias held by many men and women. Implicit bias also comes up again in the following quote, as most men believe that they equally value women, but in reality they generally hire other men. For example, if a man and a woman apply for a promotion, the men in power will say "I just get a better feeling about [man]; I think he'll fit in more" without taking into account all the boys' club activities that have excluded the woman in the past. Of course they feel the man will fit in better -- they have socialised with him more, and he's just like them. The elder penguins would take the younger penguins under their wings and coach them on how to be successful. They would invite them to play golf and go jogging. They would sit together in the executive dining room and talk about sports. It was clear to everyone who the important penguins were. It was also clear that the penguins felt most comfortable around each other. These examples obviously also work for differences other than gender. People from the non-dominant races, cultures, countries, social and economic classes, level of education, ages, weight, and so on, can also receive this sort of treatment. The dominant culture honestly believes they're treating everyone fairly and equitably (for example, many white people honestly believe they treat black people as equal, although statistics prove otherwise) because they are not conscious of the bias.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Octavio Sánchez

    It is a good fable about management of corporations, beneath of roles I feel identify with the peacock attitude, at my first job I was full of idealism and energy always proposing new things and very compromise with my job activities after certain experience and projects I have discovered that measure opportunities and activities in the way to achieve more healthiness in my job activities.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marisa

    A really awesome book that addresses diversity and differences in the workplace. The idea is that you shouldn't have to look like and act like everyone else in your organization to do well and to be yourself. There are tips at the end of the book that give great suggestions for both sides of the issue: the penguins (those that are like everyone else and don't appreciate differences) and the exotic birds (those that don't fit into the 'norm'). One of my favorite tips for penguins who want to chan A really awesome book that addresses diversity and differences in the workplace. The idea is that you shouldn't have to look like and act like everyone else in your organization to do well and to be yourself. There are tips at the end of the book that give great suggestions for both sides of the issue: the penguins (those that are like everyone else and don't appreciate differences) and the exotic birds (those that don't fit into the 'norm'). One of my favorite tips for penguins who want to change themselves is #2. Practice divergent thinking - there are many paths to success and many different ways to do things and accomplish results. Your way is only one way. Applaud creativity, innovation and resourcefulness in others. If only more people would live by that in all facets of life. There's a whole section on strategies for "Birds of a Different Feather". These are wonderful suggestions for how to use your natural talents and inclinations in less accommodating environments.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    A fable designed to examine the issue of diversity in the workplace Gets one thinking about whether you are a penguin (one who conforms to the conservative, business as designed, traditional, controlled work place or a peacock - one who is flamboyant, imaginative, creative, and independent, or some bird in between. Successful organizations have figured out that to keep people happy they need all types of workers and need to balance these different personality types and allow everyone to be themselves. A fable designed to examine the issue of diversity in the workplace Gets one thinking about whether you are a penguin (one who conforms to the conservative, business as designed, traditional, controlled work place or a peacock - one who is flamboyant, imaginative, creative, and independent, or some bird in between. Successful organizations have figured out that to keep people happy they need all types of workers and need to balance these different personality types and allow everyone to be themselves. Some organizations say they are diversified due to their hiring practices but actually don't do so well supporting/encouraging all the bird types.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Longfellow

    Typical offering for your business/corporate world resident who is feeling dissatisfaction with life or with work. Instead of Who Moved My Cheese, this time it's Who will allow me to be myself and appreciate me as such. When I get past cynicism for this genre and those to whom it is targeted, I can be more optimistic. The thesis of this book is essentially "Diversity is good," and I'll certainly never plan to argue with that perspective. And I'm glad I happened to have this book on the shelf; it Typical offering for your business/corporate world resident who is feeling dissatisfaction with life or with work. Instead of Who Moved My Cheese, this time it's Who will allow me to be myself and appreciate me as such. When I get past cynicism for this genre and those to whom it is targeted, I can be more optimistic. The thesis of this book is essentially "Diversity is good," and I'll certainly never plan to argue with that perspective. And I'm glad I happened to have this book on the shelf; it was the perfect introduction to the essay students are currently working on entitled "What Am I Working For?"

  24. 5 out of 5

    Patrik Hallberg

    A quick and easy read, in the lines of "who moved my cheese". Some quite useful tips and tricks in the end of the book both from non-penguin and penguin perspective. It's a story about those people "peacocks" that are different than the rest of the corporate world - "the penguins" and how you can adapt, change the organization or move on. For a quick visual summary of the book I can recommend: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8G16ur... A quick and easy read, in the lines of "who moved my cheese". Some quite useful tips and tricks in the end of the book both from non-penguin and penguin perspective. It's a story about those people "peacocks" that are different than the rest of the corporate world - "the penguins" and how you can adapt, change the organization or move on. For a quick visual summary of the book I can recommend: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8G16ur...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Helga

    Short, relevant, on point and enduring insights on team management of a diverse group; open-mindedness towards individual and organizational success and longevity, in adult fable format. We all can related with the situation and a character or two in this fable, especially if we've worked in large, rigidly set up organizations or small teams with senior (in age and years of service) people making up executive leadership. Short, relevant, on point and enduring insights on team management of a diverse group; open-mindedness towards individual and organizational success and longevity, in adult fable format. We all can related with the situation and a character or two in this fable, especially if we've worked in large, rigidly set up organizations or small teams with senior (in age and years of service) people making up executive leadership.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jeannie

    A very cute book on creativity and innovation within corporate organizations. I think this book is for the creative employee who needs to feel supported for being the one to think outside the box and to bring fresh ideas and ways of doing things in organizations. Die-hard "penguins" who read this book, if they even consider it, still may not quite get the value of the "peacock" employee. A very cute book on creativity and innovation within corporate organizations. I think this book is for the creative employee who needs to feel supported for being the one to think outside the box and to bring fresh ideas and ways of doing things in organizations. Die-hard "penguins" who read this book, if they even consider it, still may not quite get the value of the "peacock" employee.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    Although I'm not a fan of child-like story form, I must admit it was an easy and pleasant read. It shows that diversity in a company is a good thing and should be applied if possible. It states that various people with different perspectives are elastic and innovative and have a greater chance to accomplish something spectacular than group of similar people who only cling to safe methods. Although I'm not a fan of child-like story form, I must admit it was an easy and pleasant read. It shows that diversity in a company is a good thing and should be applied if possible. It states that various people with different perspectives are elastic and innovative and have a greater chance to accomplish something spectacular than group of similar people who only cling to safe methods.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jinshana Praemcheun

    one of the book that shape my thought and thinking framework of the outside world. I read this when I was 10 and would love to read it all over again. it is about being "you" that is. in the land where everyone supposed to run by the book. one of the book that shape my thought and thinking framework of the outside world. I read this when I was 10 and would love to read it all over again. it is about being "you" that is. in the land where everyone supposed to run by the book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    MmeDum Bledore

    Life is tough..go for it!...WISELY

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tanuj Saluja

    A good/quick read for the people who feel out of place at their work. Gets predictable after sometime. The metaphors used are amazing and something which keeps one intrigued.

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