Zenobia

The Curious Book of Business

Matt Emmens (Author) | Beth Kephart (Author)

Publication date: 01/01/2008

Bestseller over 20,000+ copies sold

Zenobia
An unusual and beautifully written business fable about the transformative power of imagination in organizations.

An unusual and beautifully written business fable about the transformative power of imagination in organizations

Illustrated throughout with fourteen original drawings

Coauthored by the CEO of a $14 billion pharmaceutical company and an award-winning author and poet

Zenobia is a former industry giant bedeviled by paralyzing hierarchies, grossly inadequate communications, and distrust. It is a broken place, a fortress doomed to collapse upon itself.

Enter Moira, a young woman responding to a cryptic help wanted ad that asks her to report to room 133A – but there are no directions, no sign of the room, and nobody seems inclined to help her find it. As she moves through the Zenobian maze, Moira makes some surprising discoveries about the power of teamwork and the qualities that define true leaders. Her story is interwoven with that of a long-time Zenobia employee named Gallagher, who watches and comments as Moira tries to find the ever-elusive room 133A.

Zenobia reminds us that imagination is one of the most powerful, and most overlooked, elements of business success. Like Moira, those who succeed see what is not yet there, keep faith in their vision, take risks to achieve it, and inspire others to join them. This unusual book will move readers to take a fresh and fearless look at their own organizations and to remember that leadership is not determined by title or position. Rather, as the want ad Moira answers puts it, “Creative persistence a prerequisite. A desire for the extraordinary an absolute must.”

• An unusual and beautifully written business fable about the transformative power of imagination in organizations

• Illustrated throughout with fourteen original drawings

• Coauthored by the CEO of a $14 billion pharmaceutical company and an award-winning author and poet

Zenobia is a former industry giant bedeviled by paralyzing hierarchies, grossly inadequate communications, and distrust. It is a broken place, a fortress doomed to collapse upon itself.

Enter Moira, a young woman responding to a cryptic help wanted ad that asks her to report to room 133A – but there are no directions, no sign of the room, and nobody seems inclined to help her find it. As she moves through the Zenobian maze, Moira makes some surprising discoveries about the power of teamwork and the qualities that define true leaders. Her story is interwoven with that of a long-time Zenobia employee named Gallagher, who watches and comments as Moira tries to find the ever-elusive room 133A.

Zenobia
reminds us that imagination is one of the most powerful, and most overlooked, elements of business success. Like Moira, those who succeed see what is not yet there, keep faith in their vision, take risks to achieve it, and inspire others to join them. This unusual book will move readers to take a fresh and fearless look at their own organizations and to remember that leadership is not determined by title or position. Rather, as the want ad Moira answers puts it, “Creative persistence a prerequisite. A desire for the extraordinary an absolute must.”

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Overview

An unusual and beautifully written business fable about the transformative power of imagination in organizations.

An unusual and beautifully written business fable about the transformative power of imagination in organizations

Illustrated throughout with fourteen original drawings

Coauthored by the CEO of a $14 billion pharmaceutical company and an award-winning author and poet

Zenobia is a former industry giant bedeviled by paralyzing hierarchies, grossly inadequate communications, and distrust. It is a broken place, a fortress doomed to collapse upon itself.

Enter Moira, a young woman responding to a cryptic help wanted ad that asks her to report to room 133A – but there are no directions, no sign of the room, and nobody seems inclined to help her find it. As she moves through the Zenobian maze, Moira makes some surprising discoveries about the power of teamwork and the qualities that define true leaders. Her story is interwoven with that of a long-time Zenobia employee named Gallagher, who watches and comments as Moira tries to find the ever-elusive room 133A.

Zenobia reminds us that imagination is one of the most powerful, and most overlooked, elements of business success. Like Moira, those who succeed see what is not yet there, keep faith in their vision, take risks to achieve it, and inspire others to join them. This unusual book will move readers to take a fresh and fearless look at their own organizations and to remember that leadership is not determined by title or position. Rather, as the want ad Moira answers puts it, “Creative persistence a prerequisite. A desire for the extraordinary an absolute must.”

• An unusual and beautifully written business fable about the transformative power of imagination in organizations

• Illustrated throughout with fourteen original drawings

• Coauthored by the CEO of a $14 billion pharmaceutical company and an award-winning author and poet

Zenobia is a former industry giant bedeviled by paralyzing hierarchies, grossly inadequate communications, and distrust. It is a broken place, a fortress doomed to collapse upon itself.

Enter Moira, a young woman responding to a cryptic help wanted ad that asks her to report to room 133A – but there are no directions, no sign of the room, and nobody seems inclined to help her find it. As she moves through the Zenobian maze, Moira makes some surprising discoveries about the power of teamwork and the qualities that define true leaders. Her story is interwoven with that of a long-time Zenobia employee named Gallagher, who watches and comments as Moira tries to find the ever-elusive room 133A.

Zenobia
reminds us that imagination is one of the most powerful, and most overlooked, elements of business success. Like Moira, those who succeed see what is not yet there, keep faith in their vision, take risks to achieve it, and inspire others to join them. This unusual book will move readers to take a fresh and fearless look at their own organizations and to remember that leadership is not determined by title or position. Rather, as the want ad Moira answers puts it, “Creative persistence a prerequisite. A desire for the extraordinary an absolute must.”

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Meet the Authors


Visit Author Page - Matt Emmens

Matthew Emmens began his career in international pharmaceuticals with Merck & Co, Inc. in 1974. There he held a wide range of sales, marketing, and administrative positions before volunteering in 1992 to help establish Astra Merck, the joint venture between Merck and Astra AB of Sweden. He later became president and chief executive officer. In 1999 he joined Merck KGaA and established EMD Pharmaceuticals, the company's US prescription pharmaceutical business. He was later promoted to president of the global prescription business and lived in Germany. In 2003, he joined Shire Pharmaceuticals as chief executive officer and member of the board. As CEO of Shire, Emmens has engineered an extraordinary revitalization, transforming Shire into one of the top of specialty pharma companies in the world in just a few years’ time. Shire now has almost 3,000 employees in 15 countries and reported over 1.6 billion dollars in sales for the fiscal year 2005.

Emmens is also a leader who is recognized for his ability to mentor younger workers, as is attested to by his being named, in 2006, the Honorable Mentor by the HBA. Emmens is frequently asked to keynote conferences, appearing, over the last six months, at the HBA event in New York, the Windhover Pharmaceutical Strategic Outlook, the Pharmaceutical Executive Sales Summit, and the 11th Annual Pharmaceutical Conference, among others. He lives in Philadelphia, PA.



Visit Author Page - Beth Kephart

Beth Kephart is the award-winning author of five books and a partner in Fusion Communications, a company that collaborates with leading U.S. companies on the creation of special publications.

She was a 1997 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fiction grant winner, a 1998 National Book Award finalist, a 2000 winner of a NEA grant, a winner of a 2005 Pew Fellowship in the Arts grant, and a winner of the 2005 Speakeasy Poetry Prize.

Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal Europe, Salon.com, and elsewhere. Her essays are frequently anthologized; she has served as a juror on a number of national book prize committees; and she has conducted numerous writing workshops.

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Table of Contents



Preface

Chapter 1: Make of the Unknown an Adventure

Chapter 2: Take Care, Lest Your Success Lead To Ruin

Chapter 3: Conceive a Plan - Pursue It

Chapter 4: When Not Celebrated, Differences Breed Distrust.

Chapter 5: Prepare for Ridicule

Chapter 6:
The World Will Change, Despite or Because of You

Chapter 7: Envision What Must Be, Not Just What Is

Chapter 8: Step Beyond Your Walls to Find Your Way

Chapter 9: Listen Well

Chapter 10: Yield Nothing to Those Who Can’t See Past Themselves

Chapter 11:
Seek the Unlikely Alliance

Chapter 12: Embrace the Arrival of the New

Chapter 13: Invent Your Own Future

Chapter 14: Honor the Imagination

Acknowledgements

About the Authors

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Excerpt

Zenobia

1
MAKE OF THE UNKNOWN AN ADVENTURE

There was, to begin, no apparent way up. The doors of the elevators had been sealed long ago. The stairs zinged this way and that, crossed over and through, circled back and endlessly in. Some enterprising soul had thrown a ladder up, but it was perched at a delirious angle. Someone had tried to launch a lavender kite, but its tail sagged sadly around the balustrade. There were precarious rope bridges tethered across the atrium. There were tunnels threaded east and also north. There were doors that were locked, there were rooms with no lights, there were windows blackened over, sealed shut. Hardly ever did the old phones ring. At Zenobia there was trouble.

“Excuse me,” Moira said, for she was new to this place and she had only just now made her way from her car, across the moat, to the guard at the turnstile. “How do I find room 133A?” She was wearing red shoes and a neat woolen dress. She was thinking about something her sister once said: No one has ever seen a black hole straight on. The evidence has forever been entirely indirect. Moira always remembered her sister’s best instructions at opportune times, for her sister was an astronomer who knew darkness as well as light.

9781576755495_0017_001

“Room 133A?” repeated the guard, after mulling the question for a surprising stretch. “Room 133A follows 132B and precedes 135C. And just for the record, there’s no 134 nor, to my knowledge, a 135A or B. But that last part is just between you and me,” he said, lowering his voice. “Tell no one that I told you.”

Moira pushed her round glasses up the bridge of her nose, flipped back her bangs, and took in the scene—the ropey overpasses and crooked stairs, the forlorn kite tail, the smudge-colored tunnels. Arrows pointed in a thousand directions, but there was no way of divining their meaning. For whom had those arrows been hung and painted? Moira wondered. And when? It seemed to her to be some kind of code, the sort of thing a lucky archeologist might find in a prehistoric cave.

“But which way,” Moira said, hoping to be clearer this time, “might I go to find room 133A?”

“I’ve told you enough,” the guard said sulkily, as if he’d been asked that question a thousand times before. “Much more than enough for one day.”

Moira glanced at her watch. It was 8:10. The classified ad that had brought her to this place had presented but two key instructions: find room 133A and arrive no later than 9:00 a.m. That was it—no interview, no references, no vetting of her credentials—just a time and a room number. She had recently left a job that had bored her to tears. She had promised herself an adventure. This sounds appealingly odd, she had said to herself. But odd is one thing, somewhat mild. Zenobia, so far, was quite strange. Nevertheless, she boldly entered—through the turnstile, straight into the atrium.

“Thanks for your help,” Moira told the guard, and, reluctantly, he buzzed her in. Taking a left, Moira started walking. This would be, she decided, like finding her way through the night. And she had practice at that, the sort of grit that comes from years of persevering. She had, with glasses on, the keenest pair of eyes. She could see through mess and muddle. She could see what wasn’t there.

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Endorsements



"What leads an organization to greatness is often very different from what enables it to continue to grow and develop. Zenobia shows us the essence of what it takes for a company to change. It tells a story that matters for leaders at all levels."

—Marshall Goldsmith, author of What Got You Here Won't Get You There

"Zenobia illustrates what real change leaders do -- scale walls, inspire new conversations, find ways to have influence out of all proportion to their authority. It is a very human fable about a very important subject."

—Jon Katzenbach, Founder and Senior Partner, Katzenbach Partners and author of Real Change Leaders and The Wisdom of Teams

"Moira's winding, challenging trip through Zenobia's halls and floors represents an amazing adventure. Her climb to the elusive Room 133A was achieved with courage, creativity, grit and willingness to take risks - the very traits that Matt has demonstrated as the incredibly successful leader of Atra Merck, EMD and Shire.”

— Ed Rendell, Governor of Pennsylvania

"There's nothing like a good story to inspire, teach, fire up imagination, and stir your spirit. Zenobia is a fine story that does all this and more. It's rather like Alice in Wonderland meets The One Minute Manager -- full of surprise and delight!"

—BJ Gallagher, coauthor of A Peacock in the Land of Penguins and YES Lives in the Land of NO

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