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The Story of Success
An innovative business book positioning ethical practice as the cornerstone of success
“Business ethics? Isn’t that an oxymoron?” As a lecturer in ethics, communication, and leadership at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and a moderator of the Aspen Executive Seminar, Leigh Hafrey has heard time and again that ethics and business don’t mix. In The Story of Success: Five Steps to Mastering Ethics in Business, Hafrey draws on fifteen years of conversations with businesspeople at all stages of their careers, from MBA to Chairman of the Board, to articulate five steps that generate ethical practice:
1. Speak Up, Speak Out: define your managerial style
2. See the Big Picture: recognize the forces that affect your practice
3. Break the Rules, Make the Rules, Absorb the Costs: drive change, and know it
4. Tell Good Stories: find stories that bring out the best in your people and yourself
5. Test for Truth: distinguish fact from fantasy in your story-telling
Hafrey illustrates these five steps through contemporary books and movies: to show how we elaborate a managerial style from early childhood, he discusses adult readings of Du Bose Heyward’s classic children’s tale, The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes; to explain professional standards, he quotes Chinese MBA’s on the warrior code of characters in Ang Lee’s Academy Award-winning film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Hafrey juxtaposes these reports with real-life businesspeople’s stories of career challenge and personal success, and speculates on the way in which American business values increasingly shape and will be shaped by global culture.
About the Author
Leigh Hafrey is Senior Lecturer in Ethics and Communication at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and co-Master of Mather House, Harvard College. His journalism, essays, reviews, and translations have appeared in the New York Times and other American and European periodicals.