The Halo Effect

An interesting new business book, The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzweig, advises readers to take most business books (other than his, I assume!) with a grain of salt. His assertion: Information offered in most books of business advice claim to be insights on the findings of scientific research, but instead, he says, the information is little more than good storytelling. The authors relate what happened and make specious connections between supposed causes and the results.

Rosenzweig says that good companies run by effective leaders do many things right, so everything they do benefits from the halo effect of the whole. As a result, it’s difficult, without appropriately scientific study, to point to any one practice as the reason for their successes. I agree. In my book, Around the Corporate Campfire: How Great Leaders Use Stories to Inspire Success, celebrates the successful practices of widely admired companies, many of which deliberately use stories to convey their values.

Stories help leaders paint a clear picture of thier vision and how individual employees can succeed in their organizations. The stories make it easy for employees to understand how they can enact the values and support the vision in their own particular jobs. But storytelling is just one leadership tool from an array of practices that collectively produce the desired results. What’s exciting to me is that many of the most admired business leaders point to storytelling as one of the keys to their success.

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