• 2012 QNET Excellence Conference Focused on Optimizing Your Organization

    Opening Keynote – FAKE “WORK” Featuring Brent. D. Peterson

    Thank you to the participants and presenters who helped explore ways to optimize both individual and organizational performance at the 2012 QNET Excellence Conference on May 3 at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.

  • TLNT: Technology in the Workplace: How it Can Turn Real Work Into Fake Work

    By Brent D. Peterson and Gaylan W. Nielson—February 3, 2011

    Everything in our modern business and organizational environment has the potential for being Fake Work. Great projects, wonderful work, hard work, focused work can turn from Real Work to Fake Work when it isn’t strategically linked.

  • J Roller Reviews Book Review: Fake Work

    By Aaron Armstrong—December 21, 2009

    Have you ever sat at your desk, trying to look busy because you finished your work for the day and you’ve still got three hours before the workday ends, and thought, “Couldn’t I be doing something more valuable with my time?” Have you ever spent hours working on a report that you know your boss isn’t going to read and wondered, “Does all this work really matter?”

  • Lifestyle Ignition: Part One—Fake work has crept into a crevice or corner into an office near you.

    By Mark Lawrence

    Fake work has crept into a crevice or corner into an office near you. And it is destroying America! Fake Work (FW): A project or task that keeps one or multiple people busy yet has no productive value.  It serves to keep an illusion alive that there is still something of productive value being achieved. Office Space made fake work famous. The Office made fake work routine.  Your company has made fake work part of day to day operations.  We laugh because it’s funny.  We laugh because it’s true.

  • Lifestyle Ignition: Part Two—Fake Work is Destroying Our School System!

    By Mark Lawrence

    Fake work is destroying Corporate America. Fake work is also destroying our school system.  It then destroys Corporate America. Fake Work (FW): A project or task that keeps one or multiple people busy yet has no productive value.  It serves to keep an illusion alive that there is still something of productive value being achieved. Where does this mentality come from? It starts in the school systems that prep children for the fake work factories of the corporate world. Take the same definition and insert the world “school” in between the words “Fake” and “Work”. Fake School Work (FSW): A project or task that keeps one or multiple people busy yet has no productive value.  It serves to keep an illusion alive that there is still something of productive value being achieved.

  • Lifestyle Ignition: Part Three—The Generals Waging War Against Fake Work – Interview with Brent D.

    Peterson and Gaylan W. Nielson. By Mark Lawrence

    Fake work is everywhere.  It has somehow worked itself into the very fabric of society.  The waste at work is sickening.  Jobs waste countless hours and manpower on useless tasks and meetings. Anyone who hears about fake work knows exactly what it is, yet very few are willing to even think about ways to combat this evil scourge.

  • The Pease Group : “Fake Work” by Peterson and Nielson

    by Paul Pease – January 07, 2010

    The premise of “Fake Work” is that people, managers, executives, and organizations are busier than ever, but getting nothing done.  Many factors help create fake-work cultures. Many corporate processes, like decision-making, change management, communication, and operations are rife with fake work. But leadership and management are the standard-bearers for fake-work cultures.

  • Better Business Bureau: Don’t Fake It says Carol

    by Carol Odell June 16, 2010

    Are you struggling with trying to get all your work done at the office and/or at home? Maybe it is because you are engaging in “fake work?” Before you get upset — I’m not saying you aren’t working hard.

  • Training Magazine: Eliminate Fake Work in Your Organization

    By Brent D. Peterson and Gaylan Nielson February 14, 2011

    Fake Work is what people think it is—the endless meetings, the deluge of e-mails, and unending conference calls. Almost everyone who hears about Fake Work seems to know what it is—immediately. And, Fake Work is what people think it is—the endless meetings, the deluge of e-mails, and unending conference calls. So, while a weekly meeting can be pretty fake, what are the consequences of a whole marketing department that develops hundreds of marketing materials for products that are being discontinued?

  • Lifehacker: Cut Out the Fake Work and Focus on Projects that Really Matter

    If you’re at a job where you don’t feel like your work’s accomplishing much, business consultants Brent Peterson and Gaylan Nielson have a few suggestions for how to stop spinning your wheels with “fake work” and get real work done.

  • TLNT: Twelve Management Factors That Help Create Fake Work Cultures

    By Brent D. Peterson and Gaylan W. Nielson— November 3, 2010

    Many factors help create fake-work cultures. Many corporate processes, like decision making, change management, communication, and operations, are rife with fake work. But leadership and management are the standard-bearers for fake-work cultures. Below are some common characteristics of fake-work cultures:

  • TLNT: Eleven Mismanagement Issues That Lead to Fake Work

    By Brent D. Peterson and Gaylan W. Nielson— November 1, 2010

    Managers live in a difficult place: They are often caught between their bosses and their work teams, so they have demands above and below them. Not only are they caught, but they are being pulled in many directions. Given that tension and the competing demands most managers face, it’s no wonder that we hear so many comments like these:

  • TLNT: How Do You Motivate Employees Who ‘Quit’ but Stay?

    By Brent D. Peterson and Gaylan W. Nielson—December 1, 2010

    “An organization pays a heavy price when its bright, capable people quit and leave. But it’s even more costly when bright, capable people quit and stay.” – Rodger Dean Duncan

    Fake work is a problem in almost every organization — large or small. We define it as work that is not linked directly to the strategies of the organization, but it gets confused as either something esoteric or about work distractions like e-mails or meetings.

  • TLNT: 7 Ways Managers Can Remove the Barriers to Real Work

    By Brent D. Peterson and Gaylan W. Nielson— November 8, 2010

    As a manager, you must do everything possible to remove barriers that separate people from the real work they need to do. You can easily keep people busy, but you must keep the road clear for real and valuable work. The workplace is a minefield — loaded with interruptions, setbacks, policies, processes, and procedures — but managers must work to clear all of those barriers that don’t sup-port real work. Some common barriers include:

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  • dennis-reina"John Stoker's book Fake Talk provides a very balanced approach to the art and science of conversation that engages your head, heart and hands—all essential elements to connect with people at a deeper, more meaningful level. This book gives you clear theory and the practical skills you need to achieve desired results, earn respect, and develop effective relationships, personally and professionally. I highly recommend it!"

    - Dennis S. Reina, Ph.D.

    Co-author of award winning, business best-selling books Trust and Betrayal in the Workplace and Rebuilding Trust in the Workplace.

  • kenneth-buser“Now more than ever healthcare leaders are challenged with providing exceptional and com­passionate service for our patients and families. As costs continue to increase and reimbursement declines, physicians, healthcare executives and associates must work together to reduce costs and increase efficiency. We must also improve our relationship with our community to strengthen its confidence that we will consistently deliver on our brand promise to provide an excellent patient and family experience. John Stoker's book, Overcoming Fake Talk, teaches the skills and process for holding REAL Conversations that increase engagement and get results."

    - Kenneth R. Buser,

    President & CEO, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare–All Saints

  • dave-ulrich"John Stoker has been a white water rafter, an attorney, a speaker, and now a thoughtful writer. His book Overcoming Fake Talk is a thorough compendium of ideas, frameworks, examples, and actions to improve conversations. His 4 REAL conversation skills and 8 principles give the novice and master insights and guidelines for improving conversation. His book will help get people talking in ways that create respect, build relationships, and get results."

    - Dave Ulrich

    Professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

    Partner, The RBL Group

  • steven-berglas"There is more in John Stoker's Overcoming Fake Talk than a bookshelf of self-help books about communication, relationship building, and career advancement can hope to provide. In plain language—backed by hard scientific data—John lays out everything anyone needs to know about authentic connectedness with others. In a world gone mad with pseudo-intimacy and hypocrisy, Overcoming Fake Talk just might save us from the phony tweets, Facebook "likes," and all other manner of ersatz self-expression that threaten to erode the fabric of our society."


    - Dr. Steven Berglas

    Former faculty member, Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry; world-renowned expert and lecturer (USC, UCLA) on the Psychology of the Entrepreneurial Spirit and author of Reclaiming the Fire: How Successful People Can Overcome Burnout as well as numerous other books and articles

  • jack-zenger"As Peter Drucker wisely observed, nearly all leadership and management challenges come back to breakdowns in communication. This book is an insightful blend of rock-solid theory accompanied by compelling examples of the huge distinction between real and fake communication. It would be hard to read it and not gain valuable tips."

    - John H. Zenger

    CEO, Zenger Folkman

  • john-stewart"John Stoker is right on target with his message of Fake Talk; as I've learned over 30 years of coaching leaders, the only way to Lead NOW is to engage in real conversation with team members about what matters most. John zeros in on the keys behind developing vital results-driven relationships through genuine and focused communication. All leaders need to study and apply his timely prescription!"

    - John Parker Stewart

    Leadership Coach, Executive Development Specialist and author of several books including LEAD NOW!
    President and Founder, Stewart Systems, Inc.

  • bev-kaye"I love the title of this book! How often do we get the sense that another person is not speaking their truth? How often do we wear our own political or social masks in the workplace? What a great book to help us stop both of these disingenuous conversations and turn around the opportunities in front of us. This conversation book is truly worth adding to your shelf...and maybe even replacing others. The author knows his material and takes a straight-forward, practical look at the subject. He reframes old notions and applies the principles to anyone, anywhere, in any position. Great questions, great suggestions...that is, if you want to change. Bravo! I will put his ideas to use in my own practice."

    - Beverly Kaye

    Founder, Co-CEO: Career Systems International

  • hyrum-smith"Overcoming Fake Talk is not only a terrific book title, it should be the mantra of anyone who’s determined to get consistently great results. Many well-intended people dance around the issues that beg for open and candid discussion. Trouble is, when the topic is risky they simply don't have the skills to carry on a real conversation. So they engage in fake talk. Then, when the tough issues don’t get resolved, they engage in more fake talk and the cycle starts to resemble a scene from “Groundhog Day.” John Stoker’s book is a breakthrough because it so clearly identifies a common problem that few have really talked about and offers principles, practices, and skills so necessary for honest, trust-building conversation. If you’re truly interested in respect, relationships, and results, this book is for you."

    –Stephen M.R. Covey,

    Bestselling author of The Speed of Trust and Smart Trust

  • hyrum-smith"Not only does Overcoming Fake Talk uncover the key principles to REAL conversations, but it offers a true road map to mastering the skills necessary for building lasting relationships.  Adhering and implementing to these principles will dramatically increase your ability to communicate and improve your relationships in your professional and personal life."

    - Hyrum W. Smith,

    Co-Founder, FranklinCovey

  • norm-smallwood"John has written an engaging book filled with interesting stories that guide the reader through the land mines of having difficult conversations. I can attest personally to the consequences of having bad results come from poorly managed conversations.  I have had many.  John gives me and others like me multiple ways to redeem myself in future conversations. John provides a step by step process to help us prepare to have REAL conversations that lead to positive results. We all know that tough conversations are not easy to have and can often spiral in a negative direction because we lack the skill and confidence to manage the process. John provides a step by step approach that give the reader the skills and confidence to have these conversations. This book balances the latest theory with real-world practical advice.  The result- happier, more productive relationships with others. As John promises, this is the last book on having tough conversations that you need." 

    - Norm Smallwood

    Co-founder, The RBL Group
    Co-author with Dave Ulrich of Leadership Sustainability, McGraw Hill, February 2013

  • david-hannah"Overcoming Fake Talk is both profound and refreshing. Profound in its insights about how we converse with one another and how this impacts our personal and corporate success. Refreshing in that it is easy to read, uses many real-life examples, and offers the reader some real guidance. John Stoker becomes your coach, whose practical frameworks and case examples will prepare you for more productive discussions and then enable you to review them afterward to keep progressing."


    Principal, The RBL Group

  • ralph-jacobson

    "At the core of every change effort, conflict, feedback session, and dialogue is a one-to-one conversation. It is an essential yet often overlooked ingredient for success. Overcoming Fake Talk: Creating REAL Conversations for Results provides a comprehensive and practical approach to a topic all of us can improve."

    - Ralph Jacobson

    Principal, The Leader’s Toolbox; Author, Leading for a Change: How to Master the Five Challenges Faced by Every Leader

  • patricia-wheeler"Thank you, John Stoker!  Fake Talk is a refreshing look at how to hold REAL conversations that get results.  As an executive coach working with senior leaders around the globe, I know that conversation is the engine of how so much work gets done, and that far too much time and energy is wasted in unproductive communication (fake talk). I heartily endorse this book as a roadmap and handbook for tough conversations, written in an engaging and entertaining style."

    - Patricia Wheeler, Ph.D.

    Contributor, Coaching for Leadership; Publisher, Leading News; Managing Partner, The Levin Group

  • marshall-goldsmith"John R. Stoker’s book, Overcoming Fake Talk, is a natural extension of the training and leadership development he has provided within our company. His concepts are clear, his explanations down-to-earth, and in my experience, what he teaches really works. Our organization places great emphasis on the quality of our people, and on creating a healthcare and work environment where we treat each other with compassion, dignity, and respect—this book is a primer for developing precisely those characteristics."

    - Ed Oxford, Ed.D

    SVP, Human Resources and Chief Talent Officer, Banner Health

  • marshall-goldsmith"Nothing about authentic leadership is fake—and that includes all forms of talk and walk. so, if you are now a leader—or if you aspire to be a leader--you need to learn how to have REAL conversations. John Stoker's enlightening and entertaining book, Overcoming Fake Talk, will help you to gain and maintain influence with key stakeholders by holding real conversations that get results."

    - Marshall Goldsmith

    New York Times bestselling author of MOJO and What Got You Here Won't Get You There.

  • andrea-kates"REAL conversations help you find your competitive edge. In John Stoker's book, Overcoming Fake Talk, he provides us with simple and profound skills for cultivating the ideas and energy that drive organizational change and innovation through people. Truly, the types of conversations we hold create respect, build relationships, and uncover opportunities for growth by tuning in to what people say in entirely new ways."

    - Andrea Kates

    Author of the best-selling business strategy book, Find Your Next

  • "Overcoming Fake Talk is a must-read book for anyone wants to improve the effectiveness of their verbal communication. This insightful book is full of concise suggestions on how to dramatically improve interpersonal communications. It helps a person get their head right so they can have practical conversations that will get better results. It is easy to read and full of great illustrations that help the reader to remember the skills being taught."

    - Roice N. Krueger

    Author and Senior Consultant

  • "John R. Stoker's book Overcoming Fake Talk offers the principles, paradigms, and processes for holding REAL Conversations to enhance results while other authors only focus on the process for holding conversations that really matter. Not only does the author deal effectively with the psychology for holding any dificult conversation, but he also offers practical tools and techniques that can be applied in the toughest business and personal situations. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to hold REAL Conversations and build better relationships in their personal and professional lives."

    - Ricardo Lillo

    President and CEO of DOOR Training International

  • "For 30 years, I've tried to help people see the difference between fake (counterfeit) and real (authentic) leadership. John Stoker not only reveals fake talk, he also delivers spot-on advice for holding real conversations that cultivate relationships, respect and results. Read it and reap. You'll be a better, more effective leader."

    - Ken Shelton

    Editor of Leadership Excellence magazine and author of Beyond Counterfeit Leadership

  • "It is about time that someone had the guts and the intelligence to expose our phony and empty conversations. In Fake Talk, John Stoker not only provides many examples of how we distort and play one-gunmanship ego games, but also prescribes eight principles to cure once and for all our conversational lameness, lapses, and lies. Take the cure!"

    - Irving H. Buchan, Ph.D.,

    Capella University

Overcoming Fake Talk

Overcoming Fake Talk: How to Create REAL Conversations that Create Respect, Build Relation-ships, and Get Results.

To improve results, you must simultaneously work on improving re¬spect and relation¬ships. Overcoming Fake Talk gives readers a set of universal skills and a process for talking about difficult topics with anyone, anytime. This book teaches you how to have real conversations that get real results.

Learn More