Not long after Reinventing Organizations came out, I received an email from Seamus Kennedy, a reader of Elmira, in upstate NY, USA. We exchanged a few emails, and met and become friends when I was on holidays in nearby Ithaca, exploring the wonderful ecovillage I moved to with my family since.
A few months later, Seamus asks me if he could record an audiobook version. I said "sure!" just to ask him a bit later: have you done this before? I turns out he hasn't. I wondered: people who record audiobooks are pros. How will this turn out?
Well it turned it that Seamus has a true gift for recording audiobooks! His voice is rich and his diction is flawless. And you can hear in the recording that he understand the book in and out. From the day he first read the book, he has been putting some of the ideas into practice in the health clinic he runs. No professional actor would have had that intimacy with the book's ideas.
It also turns out the recording was a tremendous amount of work. At first Seamus drove an hour back and forth to a recording studio for every session. He later bought himself a home studio to cut down on the driving and record the book. And then came the endless hours of editing, cutting out even the slightest hesitation or mispronunciation. A true work of love.
What a lesson in generosity of time and spirit (which keeps giving, as Seamus has decided to donate his proceed from the audiobook to his clinic).
This story is also a testimony of a principle the organizations I write about in the book live by. Whenever we can, let's start from a place of trust. If Seamus, whom I barely knew, trusted himself to do the recording, why would I not?
The story also exemplifies what the organizations I researched discovered: that we are more than our job identities; we all have multiple, often hidden talents that are just waiting to shine through, but that traditional organizations rarely know how to evoke. Who knew that an acupuncturist and founder of a health clinic could, on his first try, make a better recording than many seasoned professionals?