Baitenswitch Book Reflection Questions

Here are the reflection and discussion questions for each story in the book Mr. Baitenswitch, Ghost Stories to Keep You and Your Organization Alive.

Deadline
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? Do you think it was Tricia’s fault that she missed her deadline? Why? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? What is a memory that you have that shows the effect deadlines have on your productivity? Can you describe a time when you suffered because of procrastination? What positive experience do you have with not procrastinating?
Author’s Take
Procrastination. It plagues many of us. It feels so good to get things done ahead of schedule. We have heard this before, yet many of us avoid what we know we have to do, and in the meantime, we feel sick because of the stress it puts on us. It’s been said that if we didn’t procrastinate, we would be ahead of 90% of our competition. There is some truth to that. Yet many of us have trouble embracing it, or even reflecting on our own procrastinating behavior. On the other hand, most of us have noticed other people procrastinating. Perhaps we have advice for them that we could use ourselves.

Probation
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? Why do you think Marv was a good person to hire? What specifically did Marv do right? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? What is a memory that demonstrates how persistence has paid off in your own career or personal life? What is one step you could take to help yourself to become more persistent?
Author’s Take
Persistence is key. Those with it have a far better chance of succeeding than those without it. It is obviously important, but a quality many people lack. It is also a quality that we can cultivate in ourselves.

Ghosting
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? What do you think happened in Gene’s life that led him to become the person he became? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? What does integrity mean to you? What are the signs of a person of integrity? What is a positive memory of a time you did something of integrity?
Author’s Take
Integrity matters. Not always, but if a person is cheating multiple times on his or her spouse, it is a good bet they will be cheating the company as well. If a person complains to you about everyone he or she knows, chances are that person complains about you as well. After all, you get what you see. A person of integrity is easy to spot over the long haul. Little things make up a breadcrumb trail to the big things.

Dead Serious
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? What are some of the factors you see in this story that led Sue to consider suicide? Could something like this actually happen? What else is the story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? What are successful ways that your organization helps people to reduce their stress levels? What works for you? Describe the last time you had a good laugh.
Author’s Take
Self-care. We die without it. Stress and anxiety clearly hurt our health. They can kill us physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. A good dose of humor can help us to relax and reduce our stress. Exercise, diet, workload, and healthy relationships are all hugely important. We need to be able to relax now and then. That helps us to be better at whatever we do. Those of us in the caring service professions need to have consistent ways to keep rejuvenated.

Down the Stairs
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? When did Melinda begin to fight back? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? When have you had to take up a fight? In what situations have you exhibited the qualities of grit? Can you share a memory that demonstrates the difference between fighting back and revenge?
Author’s Take
Self-preservation. We are hardwired for survival. All of us are called at times to fight back. It may not be in a physical sense. It could be emotional, social, or intellectual fights that we need to engage in, but we all need to defend ourselves. When we think that we don’t have the strength to meet the challenge, the strength of grit comes into play. It is a survival instinct that rests in all of us.

The Founder
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? Why do think it was so hard for the founder to embrace change? Can you relate in some way to his mindset? What was he right about? What was he wrong about? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? How do you embrace change? When have you been successful with a change initiative? What were the ingredients of that success? What changes would you like to make in the near future?
Author’s Take
Change. Change is tricky business. Egos are involved. People don’t like to be told what to do unless they understand and agree with why they must do it. Relationships change as duties and tasks evolve. Those changes put stress on interpersonal dynamics. That is huge. There is usually no training for it. It is no wonder many people dislike change. Plus, when we do something new, there is always a period of acquisition, that time of learning the new thing. We make mistakes when we do new things. Since we don’t like to make mistakes, most of us have an impulse to avoid change. Yet, time marches on, and we have to keep up. Change is inevitable.

Mr. Baitenswitch
About the Story
Where did Brendan end up? In case you are unsure, he went to Mr. Baitenswitch’s casket. In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? How did Brendan get drawn in to his anger? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? What lessons have you learned from past experiences about getting angry? What is an example of how you learned one of those lessons? What is a memory of a time others got angry, but you did not? What tools does your organization have in place to help people with anger management? What more is needed?
Author’s Take
Anger management. Control our temper. Bait and switch refers to the dishonest technique of tricking people into getting something they don’t want. Angry people can bait us. If we take the bait, anger often takes us to a place we would not choose to go. When we lose control of our temper, we are the ones who end up in trouble. The good news is people can’t actually telephone us from the grave, but most of us need special training in how to maintain our cool when things get heated. It is not easy to stay calm when people direct their anger at us or try to push our buttons.

Bottom Line
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? Is it realistic that people might have regrets even when they are in their chosen field and highly successful, and why? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? What ways could cross-pollinating roles help an organization? What might that look like in your organization? What has your experience about dreams taught you? What other roles in your work would you like to try?
Author’s Take
Cross-pollinate. Help people follow their interests. It is healthy for people to be involved in new things. Management does well to pay attention to dreams and cross-pollinate roles. Perhaps it is only for a day, or a week, or month, but wouldn’t it be great if you got to try something else for a change, something you always wanted to do? OK, some of us don’t want to try anything new, and some people wish they could do something but don’t have the skill for it. That said, there are still ways to mix things up, follow emerging interests, and keep things fresh. When someone gets encouraged to follow a dream, there can be amazing results.

Working Dead
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? What do you think are some of the reasons Mercedes Jefferson ignored her gut feeling about Brian Tombwater? It’s OK to go beyond what is written in the story. What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? What is a memory of a time you followed your gut instincts? Why do you believe or not believe in the value of gut instincts?
Author’s Take
Instincts. Trust your instincts. Of course, first impressions aren’t everything. A healthy person tries to keep an open mind about issues and people. There is always something new to learn. Yet, each of us has an amazing ability to get a sense of what is right, and occasionally, that happens very quickly. Sometimes we have to get out of our head. We need to trust our gut. It guides us on what to do, who to hire, and how to approach a situation. It works in tandem with our conscious thoughts. We often need more information to make an informed decision, but we should not discount our instincts.

Cold Hearted
About the Story
What is the narrator’s office? The answer is the company refrigerator. In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? Which reactions to the teaching moments seemed realistic to you? Try to describe what a reaction might look like if the lesson had been learned? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? What is a memory that demonstrates how you have been affected by struggles around the refrigerator or other common work areas? What might you do differently to not lose your cool? What is your vision of people effectively sharing space or equipment?
Author’s Take
Perspective. Keep a healthy perspective always. Remember the little things are little. We all know that little things do matter, and personal space is important. If someone messes with your things in the refrigerator, it can be upsetting, but being upset doesn’t help us to think straight. Each of us needs to find ways to take things in stride, to get along with others, to deal in healthy ways with small problems. Remember that it was a straw that broke the camel’s back. Little problems need to be addressed as they surface, or they will lead to something worse.

Stone Faced
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? Why do you think Joseph felt the right to break the rules? Is that a common experience? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? What are consequences that might happen in your organization when the rules are not followed? What rules often don’t get followed? What rules seem unfair? How might they be adjusted?
Author’s Take
Rules. They are for our own good and for the protection of our organizations. Every organization needs rules, but not every organization is good at explaining the reasons behind the rules. Some rules may seem arbitrary and others outdated. Many of us feel above the rules. When we go above and beyond our job description, it is easy to feel entitled to bend the rules to our needs and desires. We may feel that the company owes us at least that much. Healthy organizations are able to discuss and revise rules.

Into the Light
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? What did the manager do right? What would you have done if you were in the manager’s position? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? When have you addressed a problem successfully by following the instructions of another person? How do you try to share your own best practices?
Author’s Take
Best practices. Learn from others. When we come across a problem that we haven’t experienced, we can try to handle it all on our own, but it is wise to find out what others have done to rectify similar situations. We do well to learn from those who have come before us. We do well to listen to those closest to us. We do well to search for best practices.

Going Down
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? What do you notice about Bennett’s behavior in this story? Do you agree that there is more than one way to die? What does that mean to you? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? What are ways you attempt to keep your life in balance? What are some of your challenges? What specifically do you do to stay balanced?
Author’s Take
Balance. Work-life and home-life balance is essential. We all need it. This is especially difficult when we care about something important and time consuming at work. Listening to the voice of wisdom is important but not easy. It can be difficult to tell what is the voice of wisdom. Sometimes we can’t get work off our minds. Most of us have conflicting ideas in our head about what is most important. It is a helpful practice to regularly examine your own balance to assess how you are doing.

Dead Wrong
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? What part of the story seemed most realistic to you? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? What is a project that you are working on that you are thankful you have a team working with you, and why? Describe a time you were part of a successful team. What did your team achieve, and how?
Author’s Take
Teamwork. Five heads are better than one. Very few of us have the ability to do it all by ourselves or even the energy to try. So, we need teams if we are to strive for excellence. Sure, there is one part that we can do better than others, but we need a team to create a whole product or system. Of course, it is hard to get along with people. It takes work. It takes good communication. It takes shared vision.

Number One
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? What is one example from this story which shows Edmondson was not resilient? In what way was Edmondson metaphorically dead before he even died? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? What does resilience mean to you? When are you at your best? How do you feel if you fall short of doing your best? Specifically, what is a healthy way to regroup and try again?
Author’s Take
Resilience. The best salespeople have to be resilient. One definition of resilience is the ability to be able to recover quickly from difficulties. Setbacks can’t ruin our day. Ambition is a great thing, but without resilience, it is next to impossible to achieve success. Knowing when to say enough is enough is a healthy quality. Remembering that we can’t win them all can be a saving grace.

Bridge
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? What lessons can you draw from this story that you believe to be true? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? What is one way you try to make sure that you listen to other people? When was a time when it felt like people truly listened to you?
Author’s Take
Collaboration. It is often valuable to embrace joint decision-making. Organizations all over the world are trying to flatten their management system so that more voices of knowledge have a chance to be heard. Yet, it is not easy. Command and control seems a natural fit for many people in authority. Listening to others and sharing decision-making takes continual effort. The best leaders are strong listeners. This lesson goes far beyond an individual team or department. Effective companies keep open communication and joint decision-making as a company-wide practice.

Deadbeats
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? What might the narrator have done to try to fit in with the group? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? In your work environment, what is an example of a way in which people are able to keep their independence and individuality?
Author’s Take
Individuality. Be your own person. It is important to get along with others at work, yet we do not need to conform to ways that make us overly uncomfortable. Team members must use common sense to decide for themselves what to do to fit into a company culture and simultaneously be their own person.

Habits
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? Which character resonated with you the most, and why? What memory might Bob discover about himself? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? Can you think of a habit that you have? Is it perhaps tied to a distant memory? What is a strong memory that has helped to shape whom you have become? Perhaps it was an affirmation that someone gave you long ago or a mistake you made that you vowed to never make again?
Author’s Take
Self-awareness. It is good when we notice our behavioral patterns because they are there for all to see. There are many things we do without actively choosing to do them. They are the things that we seemingly always have done. They are the way we roll. Unfortunately, some of these behaviors are destructive, and it takes work to unveil them. Others are productive and are second nature to us. If we recognize them, we can get more of a good thing.

Dead of Winter
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? Why did Pablo come to the United States? What price did he pay for the trip? If you were Pablo, do you think you would have tried to escape the ICE agents, and why? What effect do you think this situation has on the ICE agents? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? When have you seen an injustice at a place you worked? What is an example of how you have shown compassion toward others?
Author’s Take
Compassion. Be compassionate. Try to reform injustice. Life is difficult, sometimes so much so that we are willing to break the rules. Think about that for yourself. If you were driving a dying family member to the hospital, chances are you would be willing to go through a red light. That is a tiny example of a much bigger issue. Desperate people do desperate things. Where undue hardship exists, we are better people when we work for reform, when we speak out for those less fortunate than ourselves. If lots of good people keep breaking the rules, it is an indication that compassionate change is needed. This isn’t limited to immigration. There are opportunities for compassion every day

Hot Seat
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? What are your best guesses of why Jack didn’t respond to the people who contacted him? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? Who are people you know who respond promptly and clearly? What’s a story from your experience that demonstrates good communication? What are your best practices of good communication?
Author’s Take
Communication. Take the time to communicate effectively. When we think about the people we like to work with, good communication is always a factor. We all know that, but practicing good communication can be a challenge. There are exceptions, but we are more likely to receive good communication when we offer it ourselves. When we ask someone a question, we expect an answer and vice versa. When we don’t hear back, it can be upsetting, especially when it is a pattern. What goes around comes around.

Warmth
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? In what ways do you think Henry believed what he was saying to the children? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? When are spoken words most powerful for you? What is a personal story that demonstrates how you, or someone else, spoke something out loud and changed a situation?
Author’s Take
Words. Powerful words create our future. Words catch us. Sometimes we say things without thought or just to be funny. Sometimes we are even compelled to make things up that we hope will not happen. Voicing ideas often makes them stick in our minds. Speaking them out loud clarifies them. It is easy to find ourselves focusing on these things that we have said. We may not become shadow people, but sometimes we can become our own worst enemy. Of course, there is a very positive side to focusing on what we want and to speak it clearly. There is great benefit to choosing our words carefully.

Right Here
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? What would you have done if you were Shaneeka’s boss? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? Is it better to help one person completely or two people incompletely? When have you felt caught because you had more work to do than you had time available to do it? What was the outcome? How do you get through your busiest periods?
Author’s Take
Coping. Do what we can. Sometimes there is no good way out of a situation. Occasionally, we have to choose between two unpleasant outcomes. Many people long to put people before numbers, but how do we do that? Many of us make lists of the things we want to accomplish in a day. It is a good habit, keeping track of what we are trying to do. Sometimes, however, we really just want to cross off everything on the list. Most of us have done something halfheartedly simply to get it off our list. There is a dilemma that arises from the fact that we can’t do everything. Each of us needs to decide how we cope with that reality.

Stage Fright
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? Are the fears that John expressed common? Guess at how you think he did in his presentation. Why do you think that? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? What helps you when you feel nervous? Share a time that you did well even though you were nervous beforehand.
Author’s Take
Stage Fright. Don’t be scared. It is OK to be nervous. It means that we have energy for what we are about to do. It means that we are going to have the chance to do something important for us. In this light, nervousness is good, yet it is still uncomfortable. We can ease this discomfort by imagining what success would look like. Professional athletes do this regularly and very specifically. Also, remember to keep things in perspective. Many times, an important presentation is not a matter of life or death. If things go wrong, we’ll likely have a chance to try again another day. If it is a once in a lifetime opportunity, remember these three words. Prepare, prepare, prepare!

Undecided
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? What was the company doing? It was continuing to bill people who tried to cancel services. Why do you think Abe hadn’t spoken up earlier? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? Do you remember a time when you said one thing and then did another? Can you share an example of a time you were caught in something that was dishonest? How did you get involved, and what happened? How can an employee make a positive difference when questionable practices are being encouraged?
Author’s Take
Honesty. Speak truth to power. It is true that not everything needs to be said. However, an environment where policies are put into place without permitting feedback is toxic. It kills morale, creativity, and loyalty. Strong leaders listen to the wisdom of dissenting voices. Unjust and dishonest practices must be exposed. When a toxic environment exists, all kinds of dysfunctional behaviors arise.

The Dust
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? What difference might it have made if the people in this story confided in one another? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? What helps you to feel that you can trust others? Share a memory of a time you collaborated successfully with others. What part did trust play in that experience?
Author’s Take
Trust others. It is important to have a circle of people we trust. When we hold on to important information, because we don’t trust anyone else, we can make our own prison. We need to confide in others or find a new place where we can trust others. Collaboration and trust go hand and hand.

Gift Box
About the Story
In a single word or phrase, what is this story about? What struck you about this story? Which person reminded you of yourself? What else is this story about?
Bringing It Home
How is some aspect of this story a reflection of your life or career? What do you pay most attention to in your daily routine? Share a memory of a time that illustrates when you feel most satisfied.
Author’s Take
Satisfaction. What we pay attention to is what we find. Where some people see nothing, others see countless possibilities. This is not a trivial observation. Gratitude stems from it. Satisfaction comes to us when we pay attention to what we have, rather than what we don’t have.