Stories are important and powerful. As management improvement
guru Tom Peters put it: "People, including managers, do not live
by pie charts alone -- or by bar graphs or three inch statistical
appendices to 300 page reports. People live, reason, and are
moved by symbols and stories." (Thriving on Chaos, p. 506)
The stories that leaders tell, and their implied values, are
shared widely through the official networks. My interests are
with the values and cultural expectations that are shared
informally among people not usually heard from -- the folk tales
that share some kind of message about organizational values and
desired and undesired behaviors. I was fortunate to be steeped in
such examples through many years of long drives in green rigs and
lunches in the woods. By having a variety of such stories
compiled, I hope that new people would be able to get a flavor for
past and current FS culture -- as experienced "on the ground" and
from the heart.
Please consider sharing your Forest Service stories that
illuminate aspects of Forest Service culture with me for the FS
Folktales Project. I would also like a couple of paragraphs from
you talking about what the story told you about FS values, and why
it is/was meaningful to you. I plan to see what themes come
across and arrange them by theme, with an introductory section
for each group of stories. I plan to put out the completed work
in book form and, hopefully in the future, on the Internet.
Ideally, I would like to have your name, the real names in the
story, together with your region and the time period the story is
from. I understand that, in some cases, you might not want to use
real names and your privacy will be respected and protected.
Stories are requested about the Forest Service -- but they can be
submitted by current employees, retirees, or anyone else who has a
story to tell. Please try to limit the length of your story to
about 2 pages, single spaced.
Perhaps we will also be able to see the different cultures and
styles and to explore the values shared in common and those that
are different -- not through technical discussions or disputes
over management practices, but by what kinds of stories we tell.
Some of the stories may be uplifting or morale building, like a
Forest Service version of the series Chicken Soup for the Soul
(Elk Stew perhaps?). If your story is humorous, or heartwarming,
so much the better. If you have a story, please write it down or
tape it on audiotape (videotape, even) and mail it to me at:
6056 Hardwick Place
Falls Church, VA 22041.
My e-mails are
S.Friedman:W01C on the DG.
My fax is 703-379-7060.
Thank you for listening to this request. Please consider
sharing your favorite stories as a gift from you to the Forest
Service community and to others who want to learn about the
culture of the Forest Service, and distributing this message far
Sincerely, and greenly, yours