Escape from Management Hell
Twelve Tales of Horror, Humor, and Heroism
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Management
May 01, 1993
6 x 9 in
In twelve engaging stories, modern executives marooned in hell face the task of defending themselves to the devil by telling stories exposing the folly of their business practices. These stories offer readers a way to escape the hellish territory of today's organizations, and make sense of the madness of modern management.
As the story opens one snowy afternoon, a commuter jet carrying twelve executives fresh from an exclusive "leadership conference" crashes in the mountains near a Colorado ski resort. Out of the wreckage stagger the twelve VIP's, suddenly finding themselves chained together. Scattered among them are real estate speculators, airline tycoons, CFO's, backstabbers, frauds, yes-men, influence peddlers, liars, and double-crossers. Orange and red lights jump and flash to their sides. Hissing sounds like ventilated steam sigh from the cavernous roof. Decay is in the air. And death. And doom. Despair comes once they realize where they are. And why. And what it will take to escape.
They are in Management Hell, facing Satan's Chief Operating Officer, Reflecto, who lays down the rules: "You know budgets and prices and costs. You know chains of command and spans of control. You know how to put a positive spin on a disastrous project, how to doll up an annual report to make a stupid investment seem brilliant! But you are here because you lack management wisdom! Your shortsightedness, your greed, your well-intentioned management styles and your tried and true techniques just don't cut it anymore!
"To escape, to leave this inferno, you must amuse me and my boss. Each in a different way. You must teach us of your errors and triumphs, enlighten our feeble devil minds, if you will. You must impart management wisdom to us.
"You must compose meaningful, entertaining, perhaps even amusing stories. Stories that demonstrate the folly and futility of your individual sins! Stories that repudiate your errors. If every story pleases Satan, if he learns enduring lessons from each, you shall all be allowed to leave. That is how you escape from Management Hell!"
Management Hell looks a lot like the organizations that people work in today. It's a place of rapidly increasing demands on productivity, fewer resources, and greater ethical dilemmas than ever before. Robert Gilbreath offers readers a way to escape this hellish territory. Twelve tales of horror, humor, and heroism help us make sense of the madness of modern management and to find our way out of age-old managerial dilemmas.
Gilbreath's premise-twelve modern executives marooned in hell, faced with the task of defending themselves to the devil by telling stories that expose the folly of their business practices-allows readers to step back from their normal daily grind and to see startling new perspectives that they may have been missing. The stories are set in exotic places-from ancient Rome to Easter Island-yet the characters and predicaments are familiar to everyone in business and management today.
These fascinating fables reflect encounters familiar to everyone in business and shatter common myths about innovation, leadership, control, and consensus building. Managers at every level can use the insights to transform the hell of modern management into resources for creativity, courage, and lasting change.