Engage the Fox: A Business Fable about Thinking Critically and Motivating Your Team

Engage the Fox: A Business Fable about Thinking Critically and Motivating Your Team


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Engage the Fox: A Business Fable about Thinking Critically and Motivating Your Team by Jen Lawrence, Larry Chester

A more-than-memorable allegory that will teach you to embrace change, develop superior critical-thinking skills, and solve any problem that comes your way by using teamwork. 

Engage the Fox is a charismatic business fable set at a newspaper run by publisher Hedgehog,  and his executive team of woodland creatures. When met with a difficult decision regarding where the newspaper industry is headed, as well as pressure to give discounts to their top advertisers, Hedgehog engages consultant Thaddeus P. Fox to teach the team at The Toad Hollow Gazette how to make important decisions. By thinking critically and utilizing the different personality types present in the office, the team learns to see the big picture and tap the energy and imagination of everyone. The animals portrayed here, by their very nature, represent different aspects of the human personality as illustrated in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Sensing sales manager Squirrel is adept at gathering information; feeling Animal relations director Dog is keen on seeking agreement amongst the pack; thinking finance director Owl needs to know the entirety of a situation before settling on a decision; and intuitive consultant Fox can think up an endless amount of ideas for solving problems. 

The authors base their book on Lawrence Chester’s popular course in critical thinking that helps participants identify the cause of problems large and small and generate better, more implementable solutions. That process incorporates four key critical thinking skills that businesspeople can develop to help them evaluate their options as they learn how to manage complex, messy issues in a systematic way that ensures stakeholder buy-in and increases their success rate. 

Lawrence and Chester have created an entertaining imaginary world where the memorable management team that has lived and breathed their industry for decades “engages the fox” as they undergo a strategic shift. They recognize the need to involve someone with an outside perspective who is adept at navigating change. Enter the hero, for, as is often quoted in management and political theory, “The fox knows many things; the hedgehog one big thing.” Literally and figuratively, it seems. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626341234
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Publication date: 10/07/2014
Pages: 216
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Jen Lawrence is a principal at Process Design Consultants Inc., with expertise in issues management, critical thinking skills, and change management. She has worked for a Big 4 consulting firm and has run the training department for a Fortune 500 company’s Canadian subsidiary, where she developed a 360-degree performance review system and a mentoring program. Jennifer earned an MBA in finance from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, where she has guest-lectured in the strategic leadership program at the School of Continuing Studies. 

Larry Chester founded Process Design Consultants Inc. in 1998. He designed and developed many of the company’s training programs, all of which have been customized to meet the specific needs of client organizations. An accomplished adult educator and facilitator, Larry is especially committed to the measurement of training effectiveness. In 2000 he received an award for “instructional excellence” for his work in continuing education at the University of Toronto.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Cast of Characters 5

1 Trouble at The Toad Hollow Gazette 7

2 Dissidence Among the Ranks 19

3 Fox's Thinking Process 31

4 Remember the Squirrel: Gathering Information 43

5 Engage the Fox: Generating Ideas 51

6 Invite the Owl: Evaluating Ideas 59

7 Involve the Pack: Seeking Agreement 63

8 An Unexpected Interruption 71

9 Fox Meets the Team 85

10 Situation Assessment: What Is Happening? 93

11 Situation Assessment: Clarifying the Problem 105

12 Problem Solving: Why Is This Happening? 131

13 Decision Making: Which Solution Is Best? 145

14 Decision Making: Evaluating Solutions 171

15 Action Planning: How Can We Implement? 183

Epilogue 197

Suggested Reading List 203

What People are Saying About This

Organizational Development Manager, Canada's largest restaurant chain - Lea-Ann Lovatsis-Toor

A superb book with an engaging storyline! Engage the Fox succeeds in teaching the reader to effectively understand and apply a critical thinking process to achieve better results.

Conflict Management Expert, Senior Program Officer for Syria, United States Institute for Peace - Hind Kabawat

This book offers a very simple, enjoyable read that will help the reader understand, learn and apply critical thinking skills to their work and life. They will be able to make and successfully implement better and more effective strategic and operational decisions.
As a student of critical thinking I developed enhanced business and political acumen allowing me to train my own students to negotiate more effectively and to better manage conflict.

Sr. Organizational Development Consultant, Desjardins Group - Lynn Nicolai

Engage the Fox puts the fun back into critical thinking. The creative use of a fable illuminates the variety of personalities and approaches that we face daily while negotiating differing perspectives on what decisions to make. The reader gets seduced into the plot and begins to think more deeply and widely about the process of thinking. This thoughtfully structured book offers an excellent foundation for understanding the stages of rational thought, and provides the requisite tools and frameworks.
Engage the Fox is a great resource and opens many creative avenues in helping us apply our intelligence in an ever changing business landscape. If you're in the training field, you'll quickly see how the book lends itself to lively discussions and allows you to adapt the tools to any audience. Invest in yourself, read this engaging story and enjoy increased confidence in your decision making.

author of Great Bosses and Hardwired Humans - Andrew O'Keeffe

Through the vehicle of a witty narrative, Engage The Fox makes a complex subject understandable. Jennifer and Lawrence's critical thinking process has the potential to be as dry as the hide of a rhinoceros in summer, but through the cast of characters they assemble the complex topic of business problem solving suddenly comes alive. And they manage to weave in complex topics of neuroscience, human behaviour, decision making and personality preferences. This all wrapped around an important business challenge where the reader is curious to know the outcome. The book is packed with insight and relevance and will be incredibly helpful to leaders in any organisation who want to solve the challenges that would other frustrate their success.

Business Commentator, CBC Radio - Michael Hlinka

Engage the Fox is a delightful read and thought-provoking look at critical thinking. If you're interested inimproving your decision-making ability, I recommend it highly.

Sr. Manager, Human Resources, Post Foods, Battle Creek, MI - Malcolm Gabriel

You are going to love this clever story-telling technique for teaching critical thinking skills. In an age where software tools provide us with all the answers at our fingertips, Engage the Fox teaches us about the thought complexity that leads to asking the right question.

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