Louisville Authors Write Leadership Book Based on a Louisville Choir

We live in a time of cynicism. This is a time when Dilbert—a comic strip about office politics, corporate bureaucracy, and incompetence—is often cut out and posted in the very offices it parodies, a testament to our collective cynicism about our work.

But there is hope, and there is a better way. Cynicism does not have to be the standard mindset of employees, nor is it the inevitable consequence of employment. There is a better way, and that is the uplifting message of Hallelujah! An Anthem for Purposeful Work.

Louisville authors Cathy Fyock, Lyle Sussman, and Kevin Williamson have seen this message in action. While many business books look to sports or military analogies for leadership lessons, this book turns to an unexpected source for creating high performing teams—a church choir.

This groundbreaking parable is based on the example set by a real church choir based in Louisville, KY: the Chancel Choir at Christ Church United Methodist, led by Dan Stokes, who models the lessons in Hallelujah! each week.

The Hallelujah! story describes a typical manager, Susan, who has become cynical about her work. When Susan is unexpectedly promoted to store manager, productivity falls, tensions rise, and the best employees begin to leave. Soon, Susan becomes bitter and cynical about the job she used to love. But when she takes a friend’s suggestion and joins a local choir, she learns more about compassion, humility, and everyday grace—and she begins to transform her job into a place of purposeful work.  Because of these lessons her employees become volunteers for the corporate mission. 

The narrative is wrapped up by a series of Testaments, or statements of principle aimed at helping readers to bring purpose into their own work and lives and providing business leaders with actionable and practical ideas for transforming their workplaces.  These testaments represent the “How To” for creating purposeful work.

The inspiration for Hallelujah! began when Fyock joined the Chancel Choir more than 20 years ago, back when she was a human resource consultant focused on recruiting and engaging employees. As she participated in the choir, she realized that many of the approaches used by the choir’s director were lessons that other leaders needed to understand and embrace.

Dr. Lyle Sussman, a professor of Management in University of Louisville’s School of Business, is also a believer in the power of the choir’s lessons, and has heard the music created by this no-audition choir.  Kevin Williamson is not only one of the book’s co-authors, but he is also serving as the publisher, since Red Letter Publishing is his company.

The book is available for pre-publication orders through its website, www.HallelujahTheBook.com, and will be available widely after its official launch on May 14, 2015. This site also includes samples of the choir and the soul-stirring sounds they produce.

The authors are celebrating Hallelujah! at their launch event on May 14, from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at WorkShop on E. Washington, which is open to the public.