The Chocolate Conversation: Lead Bittersweet Change, Transform Your Business

Rose Fass, Author
Rose Fass. Bibliomotion (Pathway, dist.), $24.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-937134-49-5
Hardcover - 978-1-937134-51-8
Hardcover - 241 pages - 978-1-937134-50-1
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A clever metaphor does not a business strategy make, though Fassforward Consulting Group founder and CEO Fass tries her hardest. After years at Xerox and at Gartner, Fass formed Fassforward to help clients navigate change. The “chocolate” metaphor attempts to capture the common problem of a corporate goal breaking down when individuals add their points of view. Using a college “Death by Chocolate” party (and its many elaborate sweets) as an example, Fass writes, “If a simple concept like chocolate [can] generate so many different opinions, attitudes, and points of view, how many more would occur when a complex strategy was at stake?” Here, a company’s worldview, objective, or goal is the chocolate. The standards are individual points of view: Reese’s vs. chocolate cake vs. Godiva, all the different varieties that may signify “chocolate” to different people. Finally, the concerns are the individual issues that arise from that conflict. This model hinges on the concept that the “ideal” means something different to everyone, and that corporate communications can therefore fall apart because of this disparity of viewpoints. The solution, Fass suggests, is that “to get people ‘ready for change,’ they need to embrace your worldview, understand your standards, and be allowed to openly express their concerns.” This sounds nice, and Fass’s examples of companies that handle change well (IBM) and those that don’t (Xerox) are intriguing—backed with charming illustrations from her consulting materials—but there’s not enough here to make more than a sales pitch for her company. (Apr.)
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