Peanut Butter and Jelly Management: Tales From Parenthood, Lessons for Managers


Heartwarming Guide to Business Management, Family-Style
Chief Executive of World's Largest Communications Firm and Wife
Write Book Based Upon Their Learnings as Parents to Nine Children

It's a fact sorely overlooked by prominent management experts: Being a good manager requires many of the same skills and capabilities essential to being a good parent. "More often than not, ...

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Heartwarming Guide to Business Management, Family-Style
Chief Executive of World's Largest Communications Firm and Wife
Write Book Based Upon Their Learnings as Parents to Nine Children

It's a fact sorely overlooked by prominent management experts: Being a good manager requires many of the same skills and capabilities essential to being a good parent. "More often than not, if we carefully listen and watch children at home -- think about what they do and how we bring them up -- we can greatly improve our chances of being successful in leading adults in the workplace," say Chris and Reina Komisarjevsky, the proud parents of nine children and authors of Peanut Butter and Jelly Management: Tales from Parenthood -- Lessons for Managers.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Management draws upon the Komisarjevskys own stories from the parenting trenches and Chris's experience as president and CEO of Burson-Marsteller Worldwide, the leading global public relations firm, to help Moms and Dads see the parallels between managing employees and raising children. As the authors make clear, the most successful managers are "people persons." And the skills required for the people-related parts of a manage's job are all sharpened at home with children.

As accomplished co-managers of a dynamic, caring, and occassionally clashing family filled with children -- six kids together plus three from Chris's previous marriage -- the Komisarjevsky's know the importance of open communication, personal involvement, setting standards of excellence, keeping one's cool, and encouraging independence. With honesty, affection, and humor, they relate true stories from their lives with Vera, Katrina, Ted, Michael, Angelica, James, Nicholas, Matthew, and Stephen, that illuminate truths about managing people--whatever their age.

Whimsical and practical, Peanut Butter and Jelly Management uses slices of real life with kids to show managers how to guide, motivate, and inspire grown-ups. The Komisarjevskys begin each chapter with a personal tale from home that teaches a lesson, then goes on to spotlight that lesson and how it can be applied at work. They wrap it all up with concrete tips to help managers put fresh, people-focused ideas into practice.

About the Authors
Chris and Reina Komisarjevsky decided to write a book about parenting and management together because they have been co-parents and co-managers for decades and neither one could have done it alone. They are the busy working parents of five boys and a girl: Michael, 12; Angelica, 10; James, 9; Nicholas, 8; Matthew, 7; and Stephen, 5. Their home is also home to Vera, 28, Katrina 24, and Ted, 19 -- Chris's three children from a previous marriage.

Chris is a full-time dad and the president and chief executive officer of Burson-Marsteller Worldwide, the leading international perception management and communications consulting firm, whose clients include Andersen Consulting, Citigroup, and Sun Microsystems.

Reina is a full-time mom who always wanted to have at least six children. She grew up in Queens, New York, and is the second youngest in a family of five children.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Special Commentary from Barnes & Noble's Business Buyer

Dear customer:

I believe that one forthcoming business title merits—and indeed requires—special explanation.

That title is Peanut Butter & Jelly Management: Tales from Parenthood, Lessons for Managers. From the title alone, one might conclude that this is a book about parenting and childcare, or perhaps even food preparation! But I can assure you that this is a bona fide book about business management. The authors, Chris & Reina Komisarjevsky, aren’t just being cutsy: They believe that being a good manager requires many of the same skills and qualities associated with being a good parent.

Of course, our first response was the same as yours: Do the Komisarjevskys actually believe that workers are a bunch of unruly juveniles? No, they don’t. By the time I finished Peanut Butter & Jelly Management, I realized that their thesis is far more heartening and sophisticated: They maintain that, just like families, groups of workers thrive on good communication, personal involvement, caring, understanding, and attention. Using examples that any parent can appreciate, the co-authors explain how, just like a healthy household, a productive workplace entails everyone's participation.

I'm taking the time to write you because I believe this book (which is published by AMACOM, a respected business publisher) deserves a little extra clarification-and push. Thanks, booksellers, for taking the time to read this.


Lori Zarahn

Barnes & Noble, buyer of Business books

Sue Shellenbarger
It's wise, holistic principles apply both at home and work, from striving to achieve, to knowing when to let go.
Wall Street Journal
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Introducing key management concepts with anecdotes about each of their six children, Komisarjevsky, who is CEO of the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller Worldwide, and his wife, who is a full-time mother, focus on maximizing employee and employer productivity. Their son Nicholas, for example, is small for his age, but remains the fiercest goalie on his hockey team, admired for his determination. Similarly, the authors argue, there is always at least one person at the office who will take charge and make things happen, though leadership may not always emerge from the expected person. That's why managers must "Be on the lookout for those who really do want to `own the goal'" and "find innovative ways to reward those potential leaders." In another example, the authors recount how, every summer evening, the local ice cream man waits patiently for the six Komisarjevsky kids to make their choices, never rushing any of them. By the same token, everyone in an office needs a chance to grow, so managers should "encourage people to try something different" and "free the entrepreneurial spirit." While the Komisarjevskys' straightforward, practical advice will give inexperienced managers a boost, the lack of any substantial discussion of issues such as competition, diminished profits and accountability in today's fast-paced work environment may make it difficult to apply their advice successfully. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Chris Komisarjevsky, President and CEO of Burson-Marsteller Worldwide, a public relations firm, and Reina Komisarjevsky, a full time mother of nine, combine their experiences to illustrate the parallels between parenting and managing employees, emphasizing ways to bring out the best in workers (and kids). Each chapter includes a parenting anecdote, insights about its application to business and management, and a list of tips to help utilize the lessons learned. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814470626
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 4/1/2000
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.85 (w) x 7.82 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

First String Catcher

Practice, practice, and more practice

At Home ...

Her long blonde hair was pulled through the opening at the back of the baseball cap, just above the adjustable strap. The hat and the visor were pulled down so far you almost wondered if she could still see. But she knew what she was doing. Besides, if the cap were actually getting in her way, she simply would have taken it off.

    Angelica's team this year was the Mets—black shirt with the team name on the front and Village Cafe on the back, white baseball pants, the signature royal blue-and-orange NY above the visor on the hat, and, of course, cleats.

    Months ago, right before the season started, Angelica had turned ten. When she arrived for her first practice this year, none of the other kids took notice. A lot of girls played Little League. That's the way it should be, of course. If you're good enough, just do it—no matter what.

    We think every child should be encouraged to play a team sport. They develop coordination, they learn to try hard, they see what it feels like when everyone plays as a team, they learn what it is like to lose, and they learn what it is like to behave graciously when they win.

    All alone, standing at home plate, the kids struggle privately with the pressures of being at bat—the stares of everyone at the game focused directly on them. There's encouragement from the team's parents, but razzing from the other team. Cat-calls from the sidelines. Every now and then,embarrassment of an overzealous Dad. The pressure is enormous. All eyes are on them. Two outs, man on first and third. The score is close. And it's up to them. Only them.

    They experience what it is like to play shortstop or play somewhere in the outfield. Then—just when they think the ball will never come their way, their mind wanders, and their attention drifts—they suddenly hear the crack of the bat. It connects. They're startled as the ball climbs and gets closer to them. They look up into the sky, straight into the afternoon sun. But they're too late to judge where the ball is going and the fly ball falls to the ground three yards behind them.

    Angelica's coach—his name was Jerry—had made sure from the very beginning that if one of the kids wanted to try playing a certain position, he'd give them that chance. He knew that winning wasn't as important as learning, especially at their age.

    We liked that. In our view, he was a great coach. Because he was really coaching. Sometimes, other coaches lost sight of what it took to be a coach. They let themselves get too caught up in the game. And whether their team was winning or losing, those others didn't seem to want to let the second-string kids take a try at pitching, catching, or first base—positions that were, they thought, too important. The kids and their desire for a chance unfortunately became secondary.

    At home, Angelica would ask Mom to pitch to her. Mom loved sports. She had spent most afternoons as a youngster playing softball, either on the street in front of her house or on one of those concrete playing fields that New York City provided for the neighborhood kids. She was a natural athlete. Her favorite position was shortstop. And she sure could catch and throw. When you saw her pull that right arm across her shoulder, you'd better be ready. Her left foot would leave the ground and she'd let the ball fly. You knew it would be hard. Angelica knew that practicing with Mom would be tough. Mom would not ease up. But Angelica also knew that Mom wouldn't criticize when Angelica missed the catch. She'd just simply say, "Keep your eye on the ball. Try again." Mom would throw just as hard the next time. She didn't cut Angelica slack. That would be good, Angelica figured.

    Only once did she complain, early in the season. It was all that catcher's equipment that everyone had to share.

    "Yuck. This stuff smells," she burst out, when she first put on the chest protector and pulled the catcher's mask down over her face.

    The smell didn't faze her for long. Such was her determination.

    She was behind home plate now. Crouched down. One knee on the ground. The catcher's mitt in front of her face—not so high that she couldn't see, but not so low that she'd miss giving the pitcher a good target. Her right hand was behind her back, fist clenched in anticipation of the ball being thrown directly at her.

    You could hear the sound as the ball smacked into her catcher's glove.

    "Ball one," yelled the ump. "One ball, no strikes."

    Angelicas right hand quickly came from behind her back and she reached into the mitt to get the ball. She stood up—stretching to the limit every one of her fifty-four inches in height—stepped out with her left foot forward, cocked her arm and threw the baseball back to the mound.

    Angelica returned to her spot behind home plate, knelt down again and got ready. She glanced at the runner on first base. And then looked at the pitcher.

    We were standing at the right side of the fence around home plate. Close, but the wire mask still hid much of her. We could hardly see her face. We could just make out her blue eyes, wide with anticipation as she crouched down waiting for the next pitch. We were nervous because we knew she was.

    The second pitch went zinging by. It was wild—high, to the right and fast. In one motion, Angelica grabbed the bottom of her facemask with her right hand, pulled it up, tore it off and threw it to the ground. On her feet, she looked frantically for the ball. It was still bouncing around in the corner.

    Quicker than a wish, she ran over, grabbed the ball. Her instincts—and all that practicing—had paid off. She'd figured out where the play would be. The runner had already left first base as soon as the coach had yelled, "Steal! Run! Go to second!"

    But he wasn't fast enough. The ball had left Angelica's right hand and was well on its way to second. The runner, tearing toward second, looking straight for the base, only faintly heard his coach yell, "Come back! Back! Back to first!"

    The runner sensed he was in trouble. But he wasn't sure what to do. Not sure if he heard his coach right, he continued toward second and decided to slide. His feet slid out from under him. His arms shot into the air. The red dirt from the ball field came up around him.

    But the ball was already there.

    "Out!" yelled the umpire, leaning slightly back, his hand—fist tight but with the thumb straight up---moving sharply to the right and over his shoulder, in that characteristic baseball motion that all fans know.

    This was the play that Angelica had dreamed about. Feared most. This was the one that she had rehearsed over and over in her mind. And this was the one she had practiced by herself, when she thought no one was looking, deciding just how she was going to grab the mask, throw it off, look around and throw to second, just as hard as she could.

    Now the one play she had feared most was the one she could be most proud of.

At the Office ...

There is no question that in sports, both practice and preparedness are essential to success.

    But practice is equally essential in business. It may not take the form of throwing a baseball, shooting hoops for hours on end, hitting serves on a tennis court or perfecting your swing from the top deck of a driving range. And it may not take the form of wind sprints, aerobics or lifting weights.

    The fact is, though, that no one can be continually successful without some kind of practice. Individuals need to practice—to rehearse. And teams need to practice to—rehearse.

    By and large, people won't ever get really good at any kind of activity unless they recognize that they must continue to learn—and practice what they've learned. When a five year-old plays little league for the first time, he plays tee-ball where the team uses a ball with a soft cover and a soft inner core. It looks like a regular baseball, but it doesn't hurt as much when the ball slips past the mitt and bounces off an arm or a knee. The point is, that child won't ever get good enough to handle a harder ball if he or she doesn't get outside and work at it. Practice catching. Practice getting under those "high poppers" and catching them before they hit the ground. Or getting in front of the "grounders" so that they don't fly right by.

    So it is in business. Practice there may take different forms, but it's no less vital. Practice means being ready—seriously ready. Ready for that presentation. Ready for that speech. Ready to launch that new product. Ready to make that acquisition. Ready to embark on a new strategy. Ready to close down an out-dated plant. Ready to steer the company in a different direction.

    Many times, practice takes the form of mental rehearsal. Turning something over and over in your mind. Looking at the research. Anticipating difficult moments or tough questions. Playing out all the what ifs in your mind.

    True. You can never anticipate every situation. But, if you practice, you'll be far better prepared—whatever the situation.

Keep in Mind ...

Practice may not make perfect. But it often gives the boost to turn good into excellent. As you lead people, encourage them to focus on practice and preparation.

Suggest the following:
* Remember, mental rehearsal is practicing—but inside your mind. Every world-class athlete runs things through a mental rehearsal before stepping out to compete. The same is true of world-class leaders of businesses, nonprofit organizations, trade associations and other institutions. They, too, mentally rehearse the steps they take to grow their organizations or move them in a new strategic direction.
* Try to imagine all the possibilities and then think through how you might handle each one of them. Play through a variety of scenarios. Map out in your mind—or, better yet, on paper—what might happen and precisely how you would react. Be thorough. Think of all the possibilities. Write down each action and reaction. Then review them. Improve your responses if they need it.
* Ask others to critique your plans. This can only strengthen your strategies and add to your conviction—and your persuasiveness. Looking at all the possible options—all the possible reactions—will make your plans more thoughtful and will help you anticipate things that, alone, you might have neglected. As they teach in the military: The battle is often won or lost before it is ever fought.
* Be flexible—be ready to react quickly. The more you practice, the more instinctive your response will be. And primed instincts will serve you well.
* You're the coach—encourage, don't discourage. Learning—whether in sports or in business—takes time. No one gets it right the first time. You build self-esteem when you take the time to point out what's being done right. And you build perseverance when you point out what's being done wrong and what needs to be done to get it right. Encourage people to think through a task beforehand. And, if something doesn't work the first time, think some more about it and try again.
* Keep the pressure up. Don't shelter your staff from the pressure of their jobs. Train them well, give them the authority they need, and then let them shoulder the responsibility and the pressure. If you've chosen well—if you've coached well—they will be able to handle it.
* Remember though, there's always a "wild card." One important point to keep in mind: Regardless of how hard you try to think through each and every scenario, you'll miss at least one. And, chances are, at some time or another—probably more often than you'd like to admit—you will have to deal with a situation you didn't predict. Even in those cases, all your practice will stand you in good stead. You'll be better able to analyze the new situation and more quickly develop an appropriate response.
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Table of Contents

Preface xi
Acknowledgments xvii
One First String Catcher 1
Practice, practice, and more practice
Two At the Arrival Gate 11
Communication opens doors—and people
Three The Captain and the Goalie 22
Leaders step forward
Four Brothers and Sisters Stick Together 30
Teamwork works
Five Balloons for Christopher Michael 39
An emotional bond
Six A Shoe Box under the Bed 48
Think personal
Seven To Grandma's House We Go 56
Values are palpable
Eight No More Training Wheels 66
The courage to let go
Nine The Emergency Room 74
Keep your cool
Ten Not Everyone Likes Vanilla 83
Let loose the entrepreneurial spirit
Eleven When in Doubt, Sit It Out 92
If you're losing control, stop right there
Twelve Grandpa's Way of Doing Things 99
Pride and passion: Not just good—very good
Thirteen Doing Homework 108
Strengthen your human capital
Fourteen I'm Sorry, Ms. Gioieni 118
Acknowledge mistakes, acceptresponsibility, and move forward
Fifteen The Excitement of Broadway 125
Why the arts belong in the workplace
Sixteen It's a Deal Agreed? 133
Goal setting
Seventeen The Tongue of a Different Color 143
No hiding from the truth
Eighteen Surf's Up Castles in the Sand 149
Work hard, play hard: A winning combination
Nineteen When to Dive in the Deep End 156
Going where you've never been before
Afterword 163
Index 166
About the Authors 171
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Management Advice from Two Super-Parents

Business people can learn a lot from Burston-Marsteller CEO Chris Komisarjevsky and his wife, Reina. In their brand-new book Peanut Butter and Jelly Management, these tireless parents of six youngsters -- along with Chris's three older children from a previous marriage -- apply countless lessons from the front lines of parenthood to the modern-day workplace.

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Interviews & Essays Exclusive Author Interview with Christopher Komisarjevsky When I asked some of my colleagues who have children what they thought of the premise of your new book, they jokingly said, "You can't yell at people at work the way you yell at your kids." Although they were kidding, there is an important point to their response: the fact that work and home have very different sets of rules. How can managers handle that and still follow your books methodology?

Chris Komisarjevsky: I think the most interesting things when you watch children at home are the patterns that tell you something about human nature. And part of that is also what you learn about yourself. Even though parents may yell at home -- and we all lose our tempers at times -- I think when they sit back and take a look at whether or not that is the most effective way to bring up their children, they probably would end up with some doubts. Translating home experiences to the workplace is really a lesson that you learn from what you see at the home, not necessarily a repetition of the exact pattern. In the case of our kids -- when we looked at the incidents or the episodes that we talk about in the book -- what we tried to do was determine whether or not there were some signals in those episodes that could translate to the workplace. In some cases, parenting experiences are applicable. In some cases, they're not applicable. But, by and large, based on our experience over these years, more often than not they are applicable. What you really have to do is look and see what's going on with human nature. Could you give us an example of an at-home parenting incident that does translate well to an at-work management experience?

Chris Komisarjevsky: In one of the episodes, we talk about teaching one of our sons, Stephen, how to ride a bicycle. This example is really about two things. No. 1, giving the child the opportunity to go off and do something himself, even if he falls down, is something that you have to go through as a parent. It's also something you have to go through as you manage or lead other people, because they too need that kind of real life experience. They need to know that they can do it on their own. And there's another element to this example. What we've done with all of our kids is have them participate in this sort of ceremony where they unscrew the bolts that hold the training wheels on the bike. Why? The message is that if you want to make them committed to the fact that they've made a decision to take off the training wheels, they need to participate in that decision in an active manner. And I think that's very real and very easily translated into the work environment. You don't necessarily give people the assignment at the end of the workday, but you work with them so that they participate in the assignment and they actively take it on themselves. And there may be different techniques in the workplace than there are at home, but the underlying principle is still the same. What can individuals who aren't managers, or those who don't have kids, expect to learn from your book?

Chris Komisarjevsky: That's a really interesting question -- why would people bother reading a book about kids when they don't have kids and don't have those kinds of experiences? And what we've tried to do in putting the book together is create these picture stories that are interesting in and amongst themselves. In each chapter, there are stories that read like short novels in the space of 1,000 words. So on the one hand, maybe these are stories that people can identify with even if they don't have children. But even more important than that is, again, the idea that there are certain observations about human nature. Even if you can't identify with the situation from a first-hand perspective, the lesson is still there. You can take from it whatever it is that you're able to. So each chapter has been written in a way that's designed to paint a picture. Hopefully, it's interesting so people can get into it. And the second part of the chapter is to say "What's going on here?" And then the third part of the chapter says, "Okay, what are the four or five things that I can take away from this that are going to help me be a better manager?" Our view is that some people will identify with the stories, some people won't. But if they are people who are in the workplace, then they probably can identify with many of these lessons. When work takes on a family dynamic, that's not always a good thing. It starts to feel dysfunctional and emotionally laden. How then do you respond to those whose knee-jerk reaction will be, "I don't want work to be like home. I want them to be separate"?

Chris Komisarjevsky: There are a lot of companies that have nepotism clauses that say you can't hire your relatives. They're designed so you don't show favoritism and to make sure that you don't put yourself in a position where the family bonds are more important than the work bonds, and therefore you make the wrong judgements. It is a very difficult situation if you have family members at work -- and there are a lot of small privately held companies, even some large privately held companies, which are basically family institutions. They have evolved over a period of time with a particular dynamic in which they're able to separate the family for the most part from the day-to-day business. There is no one who wants to make business into a parental or paternalistic environment, because sometimes you have to make some very tough decisions during which you must be entirely void of emotion. But nonetheless, what we're talking about are some basic lessons that help you do your job better. Not in any way are we saying you can shirk away from tough decisions. You can't avoid those things that you have to do because you have emotional attachment to an individual at work. These are lessons about motivating and encouraging people to do even better. And I think those lessons apply whether it's the home or the workplace. That's a good point because parents constantly have to make decisions separate from their emotional bond to their kids.

Chris Komisarjevsky: Absolutely. There's a story in the book, and it just happened again. Our son Nicholas did something wrong in class and was fooling around when he shouldn't have been. The truth is, it was sort of cute. The truth is it was very funny when he stood in the garbage can and said, "What's wrong with this? It's a free country." Yet, on the other hand, we had to say, "Okay, Nicholas. This isn't so funny." You have to take a very stern view at times when your kids misbehave. We had the same thing happen with Stephen a couple of days ago where he was ignoring his teachers on the playground. We had him write a letter of apology. He then happened to toss it in the bushes when he left the house the next morning because he didn't want to give it to his teacher. Well, we knew what happened. So he had to retrieve the letter from the bushes and bring it in this morning. So, you have to have this sort of determination and consistency, regardless of whether or not the situation is with your children or with people who work with you. Sounds like you're going to have a lot of anecdotes for the paperback edition. Is the message of your book basically a mentoring message?

Chris Komisarjevsky: In many ways it is a mentoring approach. The basic concept is that you have to be a people person to be a successful manager, especially in this marketplace where people can "vote with their feet" and go where they want to go at the drop of a hat. There are so many opportunities for people that you really do need to take a mentoring approach. That's not to mean that you are going to be tolerant of people who don't act properly, nor does it mean that you're going to be tolerant of people who don't perform. But it does mean that you become more involved with the people who work for you because you must understand them, what makes them work best, and how you can encourage them to do so.

I spent five years in the army where I was a captain. When you're in a military environment, you can basically tell people what to do because they have no other choice. That does not translate to today's commercial environment, because people do have a choice. Maybe they didn't 50 years ago when there was extraordinary loyalty to corporations. There's a classic example of this: the ad that Fidelity runs. Peter Lynch is talking about the fact that he's worked for a company for 25 or 30 years and he describes someone else who's going to change their job every couple of years -- his daughter. We're in a completely different kind of environment, and if you want to keep people and you want them to perform to the best of their abilities, you have to take a much more personal approach, and that means giving of yourself in the process. So there is a very strong parallel between what we're talking about and what is generally conceived as mentoring. Moving away from the focus of the book a bit, when I saw the picture of you with your nine children, I thought of the story that Forbes did a few months back called "Daddy Stress." It described the conflict of the 1990s dad in the 1950s workplace and how difficult that has become for many men. How do you personally cope with that level of stress?

Chris Komisarjevsky: You really have to be focused on trying to create some balance in your life. At least from my perspective, I wouldn't be comfortable if there was one thing that I was doing successfully and not the other. There are a couple of chapters where we really address the issue of balance. It is a challenge. From a personal perspective, I leave my home at 5:30 in the morning. I will always be home in the evening to put the kids to bed and to help with schoolwork. I never miss a birthday. I go to my kids' school to parent/teacher meetings and to help out in the classroom, where I'll teach them about writing. There are street hockey games and little league baseball games. The biggest challenge is that, as fast moving as the business world is today, you could do nothing but work. For some people that's fine, but for me it's not. Speaking of your nine children, do you think parents of just one or two kids can as easily translate their parenting skills into the workplace? Nine is a larger number than many entire workplace departments.

Chris Komisarjevsky: People who have one or two children will experience many of the same things -- maybe not the whole gamut of what my wife and I have shared. But people who have one or two children are often in situations with other parents where they can share stories. And that's similar to what my wife and I do. We've sat down together and said, "My goodness, what happened today with the kids?" And it could be something interesting, or something funny, or something embarrassing, or something we wished didn't happen. But it was out of those conversations that we drew the lessons that we have developed for Peanut Butter And Jelly Management. Along with learning from each other, parents can learn from other parents who are in similar situations. Both you and your wife come from pretty large families. Does that experience from childhood also help you to manage, and has it, throughout your career, helped you to "be managed" by other bosses?

Chris Komisarjevsky: When you come from a large family, there is a concept of teamwork, which is ingrained in you from the very beginning. There are things that you have to do together with your brothers and sisters. There are responsibilities that you have to bear. And that's expected of you. In my wife's family, there were five of them. They lived in the upstairs of a two-story home in Queens and they just did everything together. They were partners, friends. They played ball together, and they knew that when they needed to do something, each one was there to help the other one out. So the first lesson is teamwork. The other lesson is perhaps the most valuable. It is the fact that, within each family, we're all such different people. And the strength of the family -- and from my perspective, the strength of the business -- comes from the diversity of the people who are there. So, in companies, what you want to do is bring people in who have different points of view so that you have a more imaginative and creative work environment.

Another important message from families is one of values. The one chapter about going to Grandma's house, which describes going to my mother's house, explains the importance of doing things right and the importance in corporations of having a strong foundation of values. You need that in the home and you also need that in business, because people today want to hold onto something that is personal and dear to them. And values -- the values of a company, what a company stands for, and the ability to make decisions in line with those values regardless of what's going on -- is a very important lesson. That's why relationships that exist in many cases within the extended family -- grandparents, relatives, parents of your loved ones -- can open up a whole new way of looking at things.

Chris Komisarjevsky Recommends:

Tuesdays with Morrie: It's one of those raging bestsellers, and I think there are a couple of reasons. No. 1, it was a book written to pay tribute to an individual. And second, from my perspective, it was really written to share Morrie Schwartz's point of view on life and how to connect with people. That was very strong to me.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2000

    A unique and intriguing book.

    I read this book after reading a review of it in 'Bookpage'. As a librarian, I read books on many subjects and am always looking for those that are unusual and intriguing. The title : 'Peanut Butter and Jelly Management' and its premise - applying parental experiences to corporate leadership - promised to be both. The book did mot disappoint me. I fell in love with the children (all nine of them) who are the real heroes of the book. As a parent I identified with the charming and sometimes poignant experiences of a large family : teaching a child to ride a bile, trips to the emergency room, watching a child play on a team, and even vicariously crying at the loss of a baby. Although not a business person, I feel that the practical business suggestions can be used by anyone dealing with fellow employees. A must read for all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2000

    Wisdom That Sticks to the Roof of Your Mouth

    The Komisarjevskys have struck a harmonious chord with this little book! The stories of their children are immediately engaging and natural springboards for discussing effective management practices. They teach us with heartwarming sincerity that our children can be wonderful teachers, and that we can become more effective managers, employers, employees and parents by heeding what they have to teach and applying the lessons to our work environments. The authors show that our home lives and its values are really a ¿precious center¿ that help us bear the surrounding weight of the world. These lessons lead us to find a better sense of balance between home and work responsibilities, something we are all striving for these days! This book allows us not just a glimpse into a successful CEO¿s way of thinking, but a sustained excursion into his practical philosophy of life, which includes working with his wife, Reina, in their teamwork approach to family life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2000

    Refreshing Insights

    This book opened up an entirely new perspective. It offers unique insights into motivating people and building a company where people are encouraged to perform at their potential, just like in most families. It is a refreshing way to look at the important role that management plays and the need to understand people.

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