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Dealing with change when life

Book Review: 5 strategies for managing change on the job

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  • Written by  Linda Park
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  • Comments:   DISQUS_COMMENTS
 RUFF: A Lost Dog Tale: 5 Great Strategies to Manage Change at Work and Beyond, by Suzanne Peck and Penelope Wong, Blue Point Books, 2011, 112 pp. RUFF: A Lost Dog Tale: 5 Great Strategies to Manage Change at Work and Beyond, by Suzanne Peck and Penelope Wong, Blue Point Books, 2011, 112 pp.

As bankers we deal with change daily—especially, it seems, in the past few years. And it keeps on coming. We are all expected to do more with less, increase profits, reduce expenses, work with new ideas, or perhaps with the Baby Boomers or the Millennium Generation that either are perceived as too old and outdated, conversely, or too young to really know.

Facing change like every other banker, as a dog lover I was immediately interested upon hearing the title RUFF: A Lost Dog Tale. The cover  illustration of a purple—yes, purple—isolated island then shows paw prints leading to the subtitle 5 Great Strategies to Manage Change at Work and Beyond. My first thoughts were, dogs, change—how could any of this pertain to a banker!
Dissimilar dogs on a desert isle

I opened the book to read three pages of kudos from bankers, educators, health professionals, and a veterinarian! Hmm, quite a variety of professions. The foreword by the authors Suzanne Peck and Penelope Wong tells how RUFF was born, and how to use this book. My first thought is that, “This is another book telling me what to do.” 

On to the Introduction. Here I am introduced to the mixed-breed, down-to-earth terrier “J.D.,” and the Lahteedahdoodle (Did you get that?) with a titled name, “Lord Winston Silas Eastbridge, The Fourth,” whom you can call “Winston.” The pair wind up together after the shipwreck of the boat of J.D.’s humans.

It is apparent in the introduction that these two dogs are completely different in breed, raising, and of course, opinion. At the end of the Introduction is a page titled Paws for a Second with two brief questions that really do make you think and reflect. “Paws for a Second” comes at the end of each chapter with a few thought provoking questions following in line with the first ones.
Purple prose

The bulk of the book concerns the unwinding story of J.D. and Winston. In Chapter 1–“Sniff Out the Situation”—the two dogs begin to realize what happened and wonder where they are, as everything is purple! 

There appear to be no other inhabitants on this vast purple island. J.D., being very impulsive, is running all over the beach, sniffing and not wasting time. On the other hand, Winston is thinking, surveying, but not adventurous. Both are hungry and J.D. begins eating some of the purple plants. He finds that they taste better than any people scraps he had ever had. The fastidious Winston wants his kibble, and in his fine china bowl! 

After some conversation and, of course, differences of opinion, they decide to “Sniff Out The Situation.”

In Chapter 2, Perk Up Your Ears,” the reader finds the two very different dogs talking about their backgrounds: where they came from, how they were raised, and how they may have ended up together. They decide to sit, think, and plan. 

In Chapter 3, “Take a Bite,” J.D. And Winston decide to separate for a few hours and gather driftwood to make some type of shelter. Winston’s hunger gets the best of him and while contemplating a T-bone shaped purple flower is surprised to find another marooned canine. This part-Whippet part-Labrador  mix is named Sheba. 

When J.D. joins them Sheba explains they are the only ones on the island except for some creatures that are orange with hot pink spots, that sound inviting, and helpful, but are actually evil with a stink worse than a skunk mixed with dead fish and dirty socks. The Lyenas want nothing more than to devour the dogs. Sheba takes Winston and J.D. to a safe cave.

Chapter 4, “Bark Smart,” finds the three companions still in the safety of the cave, getting to know one another when the Lyenas find them. 

The three know that their only chance of being rescued is to make it to the top of the mountain and start a signal fire, but the Lyenas are too close and their words of invitation are hard to resist. J.D. decides to be the decoy, enabling the other two to gather twigs and get to the top of the mountain. They make a plan. After J.D. leaves the safety of the cave Winston and Sheba watch helplessly as the Lyenas carry J.D. off. They must carry out their plan though and hope for the best.

Chapter 5, “Focus on Mutual Success,” finds J.D. in the Lyenas’ hideout. Winston and Sheba work together to rescue him from their clutches, requiring them to overtake one particular Lyena and leave him groggy in the cave. Upon hearing a helicopter above they all know time is of the essence as the monsoon season is coming quickly. The Lyena is coherent enough to hear their plan and tells them that he knows of very hot-burning wood and will take them to it, if he can go with them. Should they trust him or not?
After you’ve gone to the dogs…

To learn the rest of the story, I suggest you read the book. The first half, the dog story I’ve been summarizing, does have a happy ending that makes a point. The second half of the book has a Get-Going Guide with three stories related to each chapter, “Our Story,” further explanation of how each principle applied in the dog story; “Joe's Story,” application of the principles to “Joe,” coming off a so-so performance review; and, “Your Story,” a guide to adapting the principles to the reader’s life, with space included for writing. 

When I reached this part after a thoroughly enjoyable story, and read the five strategies it all came together.

As the authors write, when confronted with change:

• Sniff Out the Situation: Take a deep breath and take it all in.

• Perk Up Your Ears: Listen closely for useful perspectives.

• Take A Bite: Even a small one, and test new approaches.

• Bark Smart: Perfect your pitch for the best possible outcome.

• Focus on Mutual Success: Build up your pack and ways you can help each other succeed.
Worth the read

We all deal with change. As employees or employers, as students, as parents, or in a relationship. This easy and enjoyable book gives steps and thought-provoking questions to help us manage change. Isn't that what we all want, to manage change successfully?
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