Sunday, May 24, 2015

Storytelling Method

Dr. Tom DePaoli, Assistant Professor, Management, at the School of Business and Public Safety, has had another article published at My Purchasing Center; Use the Story Telling Method to Train Supply Chain Professionals , Dr. DePaoli describes an approach below:

“The leader of the team should lead off and share personal supply chain stories of success and failures. There should be a general framework for the stories. In our framework, we structure the stories to first give a background of the situation or issue, and then tell how resources are gathered to address the issue (approach), and finally reveal the results. Often the approach to solving the problem is more important than the actual results.”
Dr. DePaoli has published numerous books listed on his Amazon author’s page  He is a regular contributor to  

One of the oldest methods of passing down knowledge is oral storytelling. Usually an ancient sage would be the keeper of the stories and pass them down to other tribe members. I highly recommend this method for supply chain professionals.
Here are some advantages of storytelling: 
  • The brain stores information by stories.
  • Stories are humanizing and stimulate creativity.
  • Storytelling improves listening skills.
  • Storytelling builds a team culture.
  • It encourages collaboration.
First, creating the right atmosphere and teamwork is essential in order to establish the validity of this method. The trust of all members of the team and non-attribution is essential. The leader of the team should lead off and share personal supply chain stories of success and failures. There should be a general framework for the stories. In our framework, we structure the stories to first give a background of the situation or issue, then tell how resources are gathered to address the issue (approach), and finally reveal the results. Often the approach to solving the problem is more important than the actual results. Colleagues are encouraged to ask questions and to suggest more appropriate approaches. Supply chain professionals have many touch points or people involved throughout the supply chain. Stories should not be limited to paying customers but include suppliers, colleagues, competition, other departments etc.
Here is an example:
Background: We went through comprehensive sourcing selection process with a cross-functional team. We involved all the key stakeholders and were very meticulous in our research and selection. We were highly confident that we had selected the right water pump supplier and were expecting significant hard and soft savings. The supplier had prior experience with partnerships and alliances.
Approach: Much to my surprise after two weeks I discovered that the process was not going well. Maintenance personnel were complaining about the new supplier so I decided to investigate. I walked around the plant and talked to maintenance personnel and their department heads. I soon discovered that the issue was not the quality of the pumps. The issue was the representative that the supplier had assigned to our account. The rep just could not adjust to our people or culture. The personality was not a fit.
Results: I approached the supplier and requested that a new representative be assigned to our plant. The new representative got along well with everyone and we made great progress in savings and innovation. The lesson that I learned is that the selection team should interview the potential supplier’s representative during the selection process and ensure that they are a fit. We thus added “chemistry” to our selection process.
We used this same storytelling method after every sourcing event and continued to discover issues that we had missed. We then added them to our overall sourcing methodology or checklist. Storytelling is a powerful collaborative learning tool. I recommend taking full advantage of it.
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Ironbottom Sound and My Dad MM1Martin “Marty” DePaoli USN

Ironbottom Sound and My Dad MM1Martin “Marty” DePaoli USN

They call it “Ironbottom Sound" (alternatively Iron Bottom Sound or Ironbottomed Sound) it is the name given by Allied sailors to Savo Sound, near Guadalcanal.
My dad, Marty, has a strong connection to what happened there.
During the late 1930’s my father, MM1 Marty DePaoli, served four years in the Navy as a machinist mate on board USS Quincy (CA-39), which was a United States Navy New Orleans class heavy cruiser. He was very close to all his shipmates and cruised around the world and went on the Neutrality Cruise. He left the Navy in late 1939. He got out just in time, right before Hitler invaded Poland. After the invasion the Navy did not allow anyone to get out. This was sort of a stop loss or backdoor draft, so most of his shipmates were not allowed to leave at all.  He then took a really good job as an aircraft engine machinist in civilian life.
When Pearl Harbor happened, the aircraft company thought so highly of him, that they offered to support a deferment for him. He had in fact already served four years in the Navy. He did not have to serve again at all. He refused the deferment, and he enlisted again in the Navy, even though he did not have to go. I did not learn about this until I got his Navy records after he died. Most people who knew him will not be surprised that he scored off the charts (99% +) on mechanical and electrical Navy aptitude tests.
When he enlisted, he requested to be stationed on his old ship the USS Quincy (CA-39).  He knew the ship and his former shipmates very well. At that time however, it was in dry-dock being refurbished and up-gunned and armored. The Navy denied his request and rushed him directly to the fleet (on a destroyer) because they needed all the experienced prior service Navy personnel possible. The Japanese were winning everywhere.
Shortly later in the war, his old ship, the one he requested to be on, the USS Quincy (CA-39) was sunk at the Battle of Savo Island in 1942 with great loss of life (almost the entire crew) and lies at Ironbottom Sound. My Dad didn’t hear about it until six months later. At that time the U.S. government censored the loss because of morale issues and the fact that the Japanese were still winning everything.
When I was on active duty at the Navy Yard in Washington DC, (I was recalled to active Navy duty for four years after 9/11) I would often visit my Dad on weekends in Royersford. I obtained a photograph of his old ship the USS Quincy (CA-39) from the Navy museum on base. Only black and white photos exist and I brought it home for Dad.
My Dad looked at the photo and went very quiet and teared up. He reluctantly started to talk about it; I could tell it brought back memories and much sadness.
Then one of the most incredible experiences of my life happened.  People who knew my Dad knew he was a great storyteller. My Dad started to talk about many of his old dead shipmates. He would state their name and rate, describe them and tell stories about their adventures, hijinks, things they did on liberty and what hometown they were from.  This went on for over an hour.  I just listened in awe. My Dad was in his nineties but his mind and memories were still very sharp.  For this one hour my Dad had honored his dead shipmates and brought them back to life for me. We never talked about the USS Quincy (CA-39) again after this.
If my Dad had gotten his wish on his second Navy enlistment and been assigned to the USS Quincy (CA-39), my family and me would not be here today. He lost all of his old shipmates, who were more that brothers to him, who now rest at Ironbottom Sound. My Dad understood ultimate sacrifice and greatly missed his old shipmates. On this Memorial Day let’s honor my Dad, his USS Quincy (CA-39) shipmates, and all who made the ultimate sacrifice for us.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Help Children Stop Bullying with Sydney

Sydney the Monster Stops Bullies: Enchanting New Book Empowers Children to Stop Bullies in their Tracks. Kids (and Monsters!) Can All Be Friends… 

In Dr. Tom DePaoli’s ‘Sydney the Monster Stops Bullies’, a quirky and friendly monster overcomes his own bullying nightmare to emerge a true victorious hero. Through a story that is entertaining, uplifting yet inherently serious, young readers will not only learn how to spot bullying and its social, physical and mental detriments – but also find the empowerment they need to respect humanity’s rich differences.
For Immediate Release

Sheboygan, WI– There’s no way to sugarcoat it, bullying has become a fierce epidemic in modern schools and turns the lives of millions of children into a misery. Most victims find it hard to speak out and, acutely aware of young minds and their thirst for stories, one U.S. author has chosen a novel way to reach out to them.
‘Sydney the Monster Stops Bullies’ is the latest release from Dr. Tom DePaoli. The volume’s premise is bold and clear-cut: to teach children what bullying really is, how it can plight their lives and what they can do to help friends who may be suffering. Oh yes, it will also make them more tolerant, too!
Synopsis: Sydney the Monster Stops Bullies is about Sydney the monster who is a friendly monster and uses special monster powers to stop bullies and teach children to respect differences. Sydney is a first bullied by the other monsters but then becomes a hero!
“The story’s bottom line is a powerful moral of friendship, love and support; forces that can transcend bullying and bring any child’s life back on track,” explains the author. “It is vital that children learn to recognize the social, physical and psychological effect that are part and parcel of bullying. Preaching directly to children doesn’t work, so I opted for an enchanting story with a happy ending! All kids love monsters, hence why I created such an unusual main character. Sydney is able to influence children in a way no human can, and the fact that he is one step removed from real life allows children to confide in his message in a way they simply couldn’t with any friend or relative. It’s powerful stuff.” The author sees wide appeal for his work. “There’s no denying that bullying is an epidemic that knows no geographical or cultural boundaries. Therefore, this book has truly global potential. There should be a copy in in every home, school, church or any place where young people congregate. It contains a message they desperately need to hear.” ‘Sydney the Monster Stops Bullies’ is available now! Click on  or   url =  to buy.
About the Author 
Dr. Tom DePaoli, is a professor in the School of Business and Public Safety at Marian University. He has previously published six books that are available on For more information, visit the author’s official website    Contact: Dr. Tom DePaoli / / 920-698-2959.