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New Rules of the Game: 10 Strategies for Women in the Workplace
New Rules of the Game: 10 Strategies for Women in the Workplace
by Susan Packard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 18.14
32 used & new from CDN$ 18.13

5.0 out of 5 stars Results-driven strategies and tactics that can help women to accelerate their personal growth and professional development, Feb. 3 2015
Whatever their size and nature may be, all organizations have rules that provide order and structure to relationships between and among those involved. Competitive games offer excellent examples. Teams as well as individuals must play by specified rules and penalized if they don't. (Golf is the only game of which I am aware that is almost entirely self-relegated by participants.) In this volume, Susan Packard offers ten strategies for women in the workplace and devotes a separate chapter to each. Her objective is to help her readers to accelerate their personal growth and professional development, using gamesmanship, her sword "for a broad, strategic, and overreaching approach to success in the workplace. It is something we practice every day in sports -- and in business."

She employs a basic format for each "rule": its game context and its business setting, followed by a rigorous explanation of what to do and how to do it. For example, with regard to Conditioning (Rule #1`), the game context is that conditioning enables an athlete to go from good to great. Success on the playing field requires "more than raw talent and enthusiasm. You need physical condition and skills." With regard to the business setting, "Smarts, enthusiasm, and ambition will get you only so far. To advance, you must acquire and demonstrate certain technical skills. And skills are not born: they are learned." She takes the same approach in the subsequent chapters, applying the same format with each of the other rules. Packard then concludes each chapter with a "Your Turn" exercise that enables a reader to interact much more effectively with the material presented. In Chapter 1's "Your Turn" section, she focuses on "Line Experience" (see page 219), "Finance Knowledge," and "A Global Perspective" (see page 220). You get the idea.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Packard's coverage:

o What Is Gamesmanship? (Pages xxvi-xxvii)
o Three Rules of Conditioning (1-23)
o Composure: Why and How? (27-31)
o Self-Care (39-44)
o Playing Verbal Offense (48-51)
o Verbal Offense in Compensation and in Promotions (55-57)
o My Introduction to Business Brinkmanship (62-64)
o Personal Brinkmanship (65-76)
o Movies and TV: Great Moments in Brinkmanship (76-78)
o Likability = Business Success (84-85)
o Trust, Soft Power, and How to Build Both (90-96)
o Working with Men (96-104)
o Putting in Your 10,000 Hours (108-110)
o Active Practice, Mental Practice, and Cross-Training Practice (110-121)
o Uniforms Matter (127-132)
o Developing the Good Sportsman Advantage (141-147)
o Grit as Resilience (153-158)
o Grit as Defense (159-165)
o Grit as Everyday Courage (165-170)
o Team Chemistry (174-186)

I commend Susan Packard on the high quality of the information, insights, and counsel that she provides in this volume. Although the material is primarily intended for women, especially in mid- and upper-management, I think it will also be of substantial value to the men who supervise them. That said, I cannot recall a prior time when it was more important to establish and then constantly nourish a workplace culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive.

With all respect to the importance of gamesmanship, however, it is important to keep in mind that teams built around teamwork improve whereas teams built around talent wear out. There are important lessons to be learned from about gender equality in a meritocracy from companies such as Ernst & Young, General Mills, IBM, Marriott, Procter & Gamble, and State Farm. Teams of men and women must achieve together the long-delayed improvement of workplace terms and conditions that have been long-denied to women. I think this book will help them to win that "game" and do so sooner than perhaps they now believe possible.

Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader
Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader
by Herminia Ibarra
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 23.51
34 used & new from CDN$ 23.48

5.0 out of 5 stars What outsight is, how to develop it, and why leaders who possess it have much greater impact, Jan. 30 2015
Herminia Ibarra notes that research on how adults learn "shows that the logical sequence -- think, then act -- is actually reversed in personal change processes such as those involved in becoming a better leader. Paradoxically, we only increase our awareness in the process of making changes. We try something new and then observe the results -- how it feels to us, how others around us react -- and only later reflect on and perhaps internalize what our experience taught us. In other words, we act like a leader and then think like a leader (thus the title of the book)...This cycle of acting like a leader and then thinking like a leader -- of change from the outside in -- creates what I call outsight."

Outsight is the core concept of this book. As Ibarra explains, the process of leadership development should be empirical and pragmatic. In essence, learn what works, what doesn't, and why by involvement in action and experimentation. No doubt Yogi Berra had this in mind when he observed, "In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."
Ibarra makes skillful use of several reader-friendly devices, notably a Summary at the conclusion of each of Chapters 1-5 and self-assessments (on Pages 20-21 146-147, and 180-181) that enrich a reader's interaction with the material provided. The "Getting Started" sections (on Pages 68, 113, and 155) engage the reader in activities that also enrich experiential learning. I view these devices as being analogous to calisthenics that help to prepare the reader for plunging into new projects and activities at work and elsewhere, interacting with very different kinds of people, and experimenting with unfamiliar ways of getting things done. "Those freshly challenging experiences and their outcomes will transform the habitual actions and thoughts that currently define your limits. In times of transition and uncertainty, thinking and introspection should follow action and introspection -- not vice versa."

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Ibarra’s coverage:

o How Outsight Works (Pages 11-19)
o Avoid the Competency Trap (29-36)
o Understand What Leaders Really Do (36-58)
o Elements of a Good Story (63)
o We're All Narcissistic and Lazy (73-78)
o Mindsets That Set Network Traps (78-84)
o The BCDs (Breadth, Connectivity, and Dynamism)
o Networking Advantage (87-103)
o How to Network Out and Across (103-112)
o Chameleons and True-to-Selfers (121-129)
o The Trouble with Authenticity (129-132)
o Stretch Beyond Your Current Self-Concept (145-154)
o Process, Not Outcome (162-164)
o A Predictable Process 166-174)
o The Big Questions (177)
o Connecting the Dots (190)

As I worked my way through Ibarra's lively and eloquent narrative, I was again reminded of an observation by Søren Kierkegaard: "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Not everyone wants to become a leader. Not every aspirant can. Throughout history, the greatest leaders have been results-driven. They saw what must be done and set about to do it. If assistance was needed, they secured it. They demonstrate a trial by error process, learning so much more from their setbacks than from their triumphs. They are -- and are perceived to be -- leaders because they "do leadership."

I share Herminia Ibarra's hope that those who read her book will develop -- over time -- a more central and enduring identity as a leader. "Sometimes the journey leads to a major career shift; other times, the transition is internal: you've changed the way you see your work and yourself. It's worth it. Start now. Act now." To which I presume to add, "Bon voyage!"

The Scorecard Solution: Measure What Matters and Drive Sustainable Growth
The Scorecard Solution: Measure What Matters and Drive Sustainable Growth
by Dan E. King
Edition: Hardcover
20 used & new from CDN$ 24.91

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why the Organizational Prowess Scorecard produces data that will reveal what to act on and how to prioritize actions, Jan. 29 2015
Just about everything I know about the balanced scorecard was learned from two "classics" co-authored by Robert Kaplan and David Norton: The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action (1996) and The Strategy-Focused Organization: How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Business Environment (2000. However, there have been several other excellent books published in recent years, including Dan E. King's The Scorecard Solution: Measure What Matters and Drives Growth. The subtitle of King's book correctly refers to two separate but interdependent initiatives. Otherwise, business leaders of the given enterprise would fail to measure whatever is of greatest importance and/or have the information needed to achieve sustainable growth.

I agree with King: "Organizations are complex communities. A CEO can't know everything. Without a robust measurement tool, a culture of candor, a business dashboard, and frequent strategy reviews, performances can slip and corrective action comes too late. Also, in order to sustain grow and recover quickly from down turns, there must be perpetual appetite for top talent as well as an execution framework that delivers important milestones within acceptable time frames."

Without these critical capabilities, decision-makers in any organization, whatever its size may be, decision-makers will resemble those who are trying to fly a Boeing 787 or an Airbus A 380 without having any visibility, any instrumentation (compass as well as fuel, speed, height, and air pressure gauges), or communication system. Imagine that you have been seated behind the steering wheel of a vehicle and then blindfolded. You have everything pilots lack except sight. What you need to know, what you need to complete your journey, is readily available but you cannot see it on the dashboard or through the windows. What you and the pilots need includes (a) correct and sufficient knowledge of what to, (b) the ability to use that knowledge effectively, and (c) sufficient resources (people, time, funds, etc.) need to reach the given destination.

According to King, "The Organizational Process Scorecard serves two very significant purposes. First, it provides a numerical score that serves as a baseline. Learning this score is a call to action for the leadership team." In this context, I highly recommend Guy Kawasaki's Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition, and, Gary Hamel's What Matters Now: How to Win in a World of Relentless Change, Ferocious Competition, and Unstoppable Innovation. Kawasaki and Hamel provide in these volumes a wealth of information, insights, and counsel that set the platinum standard for the art and science of "gut check."

King continues, "The second significant output of the scorecard delivers is clarity regarding areas of the business that you need to address and strengthen. This is the rifle-shot approach [rather than the carpet bombing approach] -- precise and efficient. While few leaders are reluctant to invest in their business, the challenge is deciding where to place the bets." In this context, I am reminded of two other volumes: Jeremy Hope and Steve Player's Beyond Performance Management: Why, When, and How to Use 40 Tools and Best Practices for Superior Business Performance, and, Enterprise Architecture As Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution, co-authored by Jeanne W. Ross, Peter Weill, and David Robertson. These two volumes provide just about everything a management team needs to know about create a workplace culture within which to deriver maximum benefit from The Organizational Process Scorecard.

o Leveraging Data (Pages 11-14)
o Plan the Future (21-28)
o Understanding Leading Indicators (29-31)
o The Elements of the Scorecard (39-48)
o Scorecard Component Details (51-58)
o The Data Behind the Numerical Scoring of Strategy Execution (61-66)
o Strategy Planning + Execution Framework = Success (68-81)
o The Offsite Work Session (90-103)
o Guiding Principles of Execution (107-122)
o What Is an "A" Player Anyway? (128-137)
o Make Talent Management a Business Priority (137-145)
o Attracting the Best (151-155)
o Seek Out Internal Threats (164-167)
o Leveraging the Scorecard to Sustain Growth (175-190)
o Fortifying the Senior Team (195-199)
o Execution Framework (207-212)
o Culture Affects Performance (214-216)
o Defining a High-Performance Culture (218-222)
o Sustaining a High-Performance Cultural Prowess Scorecard (235-238)
o Apply the Scorecard to Business (238-240)

Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine can do full justice to the scope and depth of invaluable material that Dan E. King provides in The Scorecard Solution. However, I hope I have at least indicated why I think so highly of it. Leaders in all organizations need both a scorecard and a playbook to achieve and then sustain superior performance. In my opinion, none are better than those he offers, accompanied by a complete operations manual.

I conclude with two hopes: That this book proves to be as valuable to you and your colleagues as I think it will be. Also, that you and your colleagues read it and then take appropriate action before your competition does.

Small Move, Big Change: Using Microresolutions to Transform Your Life Permanently
Small Move, Big Change: Using Microresolutions to Transform Your Life Permanently
by Caroline L. Arnold
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 20.65
46 used & new from CDN$ 3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." Aristotle, Jan. 22 2015
I selected the observation by Aristotle to serve as the title of my review because I learned long ago, after spending still another January helping to pave the road to hell, that my habits had again defeated my New Year's resolutions. Caroline Arnold wrote this book in response to a question many people continue to ask: "Why is it so difficult keep commitments, to follow through on resolutions, to make the changes that we know will achieve our personal growth and professional development?"

Years ago, after numerous struggles and frustrations, Arnold tried something different: "I assigned myself a small but meaningful behavioral change - a [begin italics] microresolution [end italics] - and I succeeded in changing myself immediately. Yet it was only after succeeding at several microresolutions modeled on the first that I realized I had stumbled onto a method for making targeted mini-commitments that succeeded virtually every time." She had established a new pattern of behavior, a habit.

As I began to work my way through Arnold's brilliant book, I was reminded of another, The small BIG, in which Steve Martin, Noah Goldstein, and Robert Cialdini explain how and why small changes can spark big influence" in relationships with others. As they explain, their goal "has been to provide a collection of small BIGs that you could add to your persuasion toolkit. Small changes, informed by recent persuasion science that anyone...can employ to make a big difference when persuading and communicating with others." One key point is that small BIGs must be used strategically. My way of describing is that a sniper's mindset is needed rather than a carpet bomber's approach.

So, we ask, why do resolutions fail? Arnold suggests five reasons, none of which is a head-snapper:

1. We make the wrong resolutions whereas microresolutions focus on doing, not being. Being different follows, rather than precedes, deliberate action.

2. We depend solely on willpower to succeed whereas a microresolution is designed to reform a precise autopilot activity and requires little willpower to succeed.

3. We're too impatient whereas, when completing microresolutions, the key to lasting transformation is not speed or force but nurture.

4. We underestimate our mental and emotional resistance to change whereas microresolutions foster self-awareness and expose the hidden attitudes that thwart success.

5. We expect to fail whereas microresolutions are easy to keep.

Just as it is so easy to make a list of resolutions, it is just as easy to make a list of reasons and key points. It is important to note that, in her Introduction and first few chapters, Arnold identifies the WHAT and then devotes most of the material that follows to explaining HOW to use microresolutions to transform a life permanently.

Obviously, no brief commentary such as this can do full justice to the scope and depth of information, insights, and counsel that Caroline Arnold provides. However, I hope I have indicated why I think so highly of her book. Ultimately, its value to those who read it will depend almost entirely on the nature and extent of each reader's commitment to making and then keeping a sequence of microresolutions that achieve and then sustain habitual success.

Mindfulness at Work: How to Avoid Stress, Achieve More and Enjoy Life!
Mindfulness at Work: How to Avoid Stress, Achieve More and Enjoy Life!
by Stephen McKenzie
Edition: Paperback
14 used & new from CDN$ 3.17

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why awareness and acceptance are essential to personal growth and professional development, Jan. 22 2015
What is mindfulness? Opinions vary. Here is one that is generally accepted: It is "the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one's attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment", which can be trained by meditational practices derived from Buddhist anapanasati. Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. It also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them--without believing, for instance, that there's a "right" or "wrong" way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we're sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.

I share all this by way of an introduction to Stephen McKenzie's latest book in which he provides a wealth of information, insights, and counsel with regard to how to avoid stress, achieve more, and meanwhile enjoy life. As he explains, "Practicing mindfulness actually often involves, especially at first, simply being more frequently mindful of our mindlessness, more aware of our lack of awareness, and more accepting of our non-acceptance, and less frequently judging our judging. If we can even occasionally be conscious of our unconsciousness, then we are making huge progress on our journey to greater happiness and usefulness."

Oscar Wilde once advised, "Be yourself. Everyone else is taken." To a significant extent, the goal of mindfulness is to accept who you are -- warts and all -- so that you can be more accepting of others. Greater appreciation of who and others are is a direct benefit of an acceptance of who we and they aren't. With all due respect to Wilde's insight, McKenzie would hasten to add, Acceptance of who we are now does not preclude becoming a happier, healthier, more fully developed person. Awareness and acceptance of one's imperfections by no means condones them but there can be no improvement without them. That is why mindfulness is essential to that immensely difficult process.

He offers and discusses in-depth seven general mindfulness working principles, each accompanied by an appropriate quotation:

1. Self-knowledge: "This above all: to thine own self be true/And it must follow, as the night the day/Thou canst not then be false to any man," Polonius in Shakespeare's play, Hamlet.

2. Utility: "No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main." John Donne

3. Truth: "In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same." Albert Einstein

4. Awareness: "Do not dwell on the past. Do not dream of the future. Concentrate the mind on the present moment" Gautama the Buddha

5. Service: "Would you like anything else?" The (hypothetical) General Sales Manual

Note: I found McKenzie's selection of the quotation and subsequent comments about service on Pages 29-30 (at best) mediocre.

6. Reason: "Reason is the ability to discern the transient from the eternal, the changing from the unchanging." Shankara

7. Wonder: "From wonder into wonder, existence opens." Lao Tzu

"These general mindfulness working principles can help us do everything in our lives more peacefully, happily, and productively -- even our work. If we put these principles into practical practice, then we can better understand whether our working situation is the best expression of who really are and, if it isn't, how to improve it." Or replace it.

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out these: Clayton Christensen's How Will You Measure Your Life?, Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture, Ken Robinson's The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, and Alan Watts's The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are.

The Little Book of Thinking Big
The Little Book of Thinking Big
by Richard Newton
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.72
26 used & new from CDN$ 6.25

5.0 out of 5 stars This book offers a mental journey with the energy, pace, and impact of a Cirque du Soleil performance., Jan. 16 2015
As I sometimes do, I read this book in combination with another, published in 1959: David J. Schwartz's The Magic of Thinking Big: Set Your Goals High...and Then Exceed Them. There are differences between them, of course. (How could there not be?) However, both stress the great importance of personal accountability, of taking ownership of the consequences of one's decision. I agree that we cannot control everything that happens to us but we can control how we respond to whatever happens to us. Also, both David Schwartz and Newton are convinced -- as am I -- that most human limits are self-imposed. This is what Henry Ford had in mind many years ago when observing, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're probably right."

Newton has the significant advantage of calling upon extensive research in neuroscience that was not available to Schwartz 55 years ago. (However, there have been two updated editions of the Schwartz book but the key insights and recommendations remain the same, as has human nature.) Aristotle observed long ago, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." Perhaps Newton had that thought in mind when developing these "Nine Habits of Thinking Big," accompanied by my annotations:

1. Swim Don't Float [or Sink]: Keep moving (especially in rough water) and in the right direction. Not all change is progress but no change, no movement, is stagnation. Newton also warns against being carried along by what others think and do.

2. Clear Some (Head) Space: Mental clutter accumulates fast and obstructs and/or distracts focused thinking. F. Scott Fitzgerald once suggested that "the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." That's two ideas, not several dozen. Whenever I need to clear my mind, I take a brisk walk or listen to Glenn Gould's performance Bach's Goldberg Variations.

3. Feed Your Mind: The human mind really does have a sponge-like capacity that can be increased substantially. I "feed" mine with what I learn from others' minds but, daily, I also concentrate on strengthening certain cognitive skills. Each human life is a work-in-progress, with attitudes and behavior guided by habits. Many people are mentally and/or spiritually anorexic.

4. Notice Things: We tend to see so much but notice so much less. Yogi Berra: "You can observe a lot by just watching."

5. Change Reality (...Don't Deny It): In other words, replace an unacceptable reality with one that is worthy of what you value, perhaps even cherish.

6. Have a Big Ego and a Small Ego: This is a paradox. Newton's comments remind me of Socrates' response when told that he was the wisest man in the world. "If so, it is because all I know is that I know nothing." Only someone with both a big ego and small ego could say that.

7. Know Your Weapon: The term "weapon" has several meanings. Newton's point is that we need to be able to attack but also to defend. Perhaps it is having highly developed inductive and deductive skills or it could be a refusal to remain silent during a moral crisis.

8. Travel Light: No excess mental "baggage." There is much to be said for following lean thinking principles that include constant pruning. What Ernest Hemingway once characterized as "a built-in, shock-proof crap detector" will also come in handy. You get the idea.

9. Twang: Somewhat similar to a "Eureka!" moment. Newton characterizes it as a "click." During more than 20 years of classroom teaching, I could see it in the eyes of certain students: they "got it" when others didn't.

Richard Newton provides in this "little book" an abundance of invaluable information, insights, and counsel (his and others') that can help many of those who read the book to "aim higher and go further than [they] ever thought possible." Yes, the material is remarkably informative but also very entertaining. I read it and then re-read it twice before embarking on the composition of this brief commentary. Each time I either learned something new or understood something better. Bravo!

The Magic Of Thinking Big
The Magic Of Thinking Big
by David Schwartz
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.71
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5.0 out of 5 stars Attitude is altitude: How high is your limit?, Jan. 16 2015
Ce commentaire est de: The Magic Of Thinking Big (Paperback)
I read this book when it was first published in 1959 and recently re-read it in combination with Richard Newton's The Little Book of Thinking Big, published 55 years later. There are differences between them, of course. (How could there not be?) However, they both stress the great importance of personal accountability, of taking ownership of the consequences of one's decision. I agree that we cannot control everything that happens to us but we can control how we respond to whatever happens to us. Also, both David Schwartz and Newton are convinced -- as am I -- that most human limits are self-imposed. This is what Henry Ford had in mind many years ago when observing, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're probably right."

To that last point, the title of Chapter 1 in The Magic of Thinking Big is "Believe You Can Succeed and You Will." As we all know, the fact that we are certain that we will succeed does not ensure that we will. It is true, however, that we are more likely to succeed with a positive rather than with negative attitude. Schwartz urges his reader to think big and it all starts with self-image: "You're bigger than you think. So, fit your thinking to your true size."

So, how to think big? Schwartz offers five suggestions:

1. Don't sell yourself short: If you don't believe in you and what you can accomplish, why should anyone else?

2. Use the big thinker's vocabulary: It really is possible to talk yourself into or out of success. Which do you prefer, success or failure?

3. Stretch your vision: Whatever it may be, double or triple its scale. So what if your goal had been earning $10,000 a month and you're "only" earning $7,500? What if the goal had been to earn $5,000 a month?

4. Get the big view of your job: If you think small, you will be small. The same is true of jobs. Think of your current job as a bridge to a much better position. How strong is your bridge?

5. Think about trivial things: Don't let them drag you down. Focus on big objectives and take care of details that help you to achieve.

I presume to add one more: Avoid losers. You know who they are. They have more "crutches" than the International Red Cross. They see themselves as victims and refuse to assume any responsibility for their failures and inadequacies. Their negativity and self-pity can be contagious.

Although some of Schwartz's material may seem dated, even quaint, his core insights and practical advice are still relevant and can help almost anyone to avoid or overcome self-defeating attitudes and behaviors.

To repeat, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're probably right." The choice is yours.

Strategic Connections: The New Face of Networking in a Collaborative World
Strategic Connections: The New Face of Networking in a Collaborative World
Price: CDN$ 15.22

5.0 out of 5 stars How to network with a new purpose, collaborate in ways you never have before, with a significant impact within your organization, Jan. 15 2015
Long ago, I concluded that strategies are “hammers” that drive “nails” (tactics). Therefore, to forge strategic alliances, you need tactics that will achieve them and one of the best is to create a network of connections with the organizations and individuals that, in mutually beneficial collaboration, can be of substantial importance to the success of the given enterprise.

The co-authors of this book -- Anne Baber, Lynn Waymon, André Alphonso, and Jim Wylde -- introduce what they characterize as "the new face of networking in a collaborative world." They explain how and why each workplace culture should be network-oriented and discuss the eight competencies that will establish, then expand and strengthen such a culture. For example, Competency #4: Develop Trusting Relationships. That is, "view relationship development in six stages and manage the trust-building process by teach character and competence." It is important to keep in mind that these competencies would be highly desirable in almost any organization, whatever its size and nature may be. Also, that the network orientation involves relationships between and among members of a workplace culture, of course, but also their relationships with others such as customers, service providers (e.g. legal and accounting) and vendors.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of this book’s coverage:

o The Eight Must-Have Skills for Strategic Connections
o The Nine Biggest Misconceptions About Networking (12-15)
o Put Some Purpose in Your Small Talk (33-38)
o Connect After Joining the Right Groups (43-49)
o Make the Most of Your Memberships (51-54)
o Your "Nets": Work, Organization, Professional, and Personal (63- 72)
o How to Teach People to Trust You (84-88)
o Move Through the Six Stages of Trust (88-93)
o Next Steps: Consider the Risk and Value (97-105)
o 11 Tips for Avoiding Awkward Moments (119-122)
o Talk: Get into Dialogues That Build and Sustain Relationships (135-140)
o Listen: Pay Attention to the Three Things That Are Important (145-147)
o Eight Reachback Strategies [to Reactivate Dormant Relationships] That Work (154-156)
o Why Storytelling Works (170-175)
o Clarifying Collaboration (181-183)
o Reinforce the Collaborative Culture (194-196)
o The Need for a Network-Oriented Workplace
o Foster Collaboration (221-229)

Near the conclusion of their book, the co-authors cite one of my favorite passages in Douglas McGregor's classic, The Human Side of Enterprise (1960): "Fads will come and go. The fundamental fact of man's capacity to collaborate with his fellows in the face-to-face group will survive the fads and one day be recognized. Then, and only then, will management discover how seriously it has underestimated the true potential of its human resources."

For me, the single most valuable insight in Strategic Connections is that networking in a collaborative world, especially in today's global marketplace, requires a different mindset, strategies, tactics, and resources than did networking prior to the establishment of the worldwide web (in 1993) and the subsequent emergence of electronic communication devices and proliferation of social media.

Business leaders must understand that forging and then nourishing strategic connections is not a single project; it is an on-going, never-ending process. Here in a single volume, Anne Baber, Lynn Waymon, André Alphonso, and Jim Wylde provide just about everything business leaders need to know about that process. Most human limits are self-imposed. Those who read this book and then, hopefully, re-read it will be well-prepared to unleash the full potential of their organization's human resources.

Coach to Coach: Emotional Intelligence and Leadership for Winning Coaches
Coach to Coach: Emotional Intelligence and Leadership for Winning Coaches
Price: CDN$ 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great coaches have a "green thumb" to "grow people, Jan. 14 2015
I have known Sara Smith for several years and consider her to be among the most effective executive coaches because she has a unique and abundant combination of intelligence, integrity, street smarts, decency, real-world experience, and highly-developed emotional intelligence. She is passionately committed to helping individuals as well as teams to maximize their personal growth and professional intelligence.

What we have in this volume is a wealth of information, insights, and counsel that will be of special interest and value to those who manage business teams, and, to those who aspire to do so. Leadership must not be limited to the inhabitants of the C-suite. Healthy organizations have effective leaders at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. Knowledge transfers occur constantly because they must. Everyone knows more than any one person does.

Sharing information (e.g. dos and don'ts) is one issue. Explaining the "how" and "why" is quite another and it is then that coaching is essential. So what I am suggesting is that, yes, Coach to Coach has two very important purposes: To help coaches coach more effectively, and, while doing so, help those they coach to become more effective when sharing - and explaining -knowledge.

Sara immediately establishes a direct, personal, almost conversational rapport with her reader, then presents her material within ten brief but substantial chapters, following a clever "Pre-Game Warm Up" to prepare the reader for what awaits. The details of each chapter are best revealed within the narrative, in context, but I do wish make three points:

1. Not everyone has the temperament needed to be an effective coach either in the sports world or in business. For almost 20 years, I coached varsity football and varsity basketball at two boarding schools in New England and attended dozens of clinics at which Hall of Fame coaches such as Vince Lombardi and John Wooden referred to themselves as teachers and confided that they preferred practices to games. Peter Drucker hated the term "guru" and always referred to himself as a "student" or "observer." Great coaches love to teach...and to learn.

2. Also, all great coaches care deeply about those entrusted to their care. Like Sara, they have highly developed emotional intelligence and are happiest when helping people "get it" (whatever that may be). In our society today, there is a great deal of pleasure but much less joy. Coaches see learning opportunities as gardens and cherish opportunities to help people grow.

3. Finally, I commend Sara on her superb use of reader-friendly devices such as sports nomenclature (e.g. Pre-Game, Post-Game) and - in each chapter -- "Practice Drills" to apply key points covered and "journal pages" on which to record notes as well as dozens of real-world examples that illustrate major insights. I presume to suggest highlighting key passages with an optic yellow (wide) Sharpie.

As indicated earlier, I think Sara's book will prove invaluable to those who now coach. I also suggest that, after reading and then re-reading this book at least once, they include among their New Year's resolutions a commitment to helping prepare as many people as they can to become a coach.

The Georgetown Set: Friends and Rivals in Cold War Washington
The Georgetown Set: Friends and Rivals in Cold War Washington
by Gregg Herken
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 21.94
33 used & new from CDN$ 21.94

5.0 out of 5 stars "The hand that mixes the Georgetown martini is time and again the hand that guides the destiny of the Western world.", Jan. 14 2015
Note: The observation that serves as the subject of this review was provided by Henry Kissinger.

As I began to work my way through this book, I was reminded of two others written by Neil Sheehan: A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon (2009) and A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam (1989). Many of the same people appear again in Gregg Herken's lively account of "friends and rivals in Cold War Washington" during roughly the same period of time, from 1947 when President Truman announced a doctrine to contain Soviet expansion until -- let's say -- 1991 when the USSR was declared officially dissolved on 25 December.

Throughout those years in Georgetown, prominent leaders in and out of uniform gathered on Sunday evening and the dinner parties hosted by Joe Alsop emerged as a combination of think tank, focus group, pulpit, court, and town meeting. He seems to have been the gravitational center, the self-appointed sociopolitical ringmaster, of a raucous and sometimes rancorous convergence of power brokers. They included -- at various times -- Phil and Kay Graham, Stewart Alsop, George Kennan, Paul Nitze, Frank George Wisner, Henry Kissinger, and Charles (Chip) Bohlen. Feuds and rivalries emerged, then subsided. Meanwhile, the Alsops co-authored a syndicated column ("Matter of Fact") and were eagerly "taking on the world" (in Robert W. Merry's words") as "guardians of the American Century."

Frankly, I am unqualified to suggest to what extent (if any) Herken shapes the historical material to accommodate his assumptions and prejudices about the Alsops and the world in which they achieved and then sustained so much prominence and influence. I defer to Merry and Edwin Yoder Jr. who have written brilliant accounts of various intrigues and machinations following World War Two during the administrations of Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson. In his review of The Georgetown Set for The New York Times ("Cold War Cockpit," Sunday, November 30, 2014), Jeffrey Frank observes, "Both Alsops were brave if sometimes misguided reporters (and, it must be said, occasional CIA assets), and were capable of mortal outrage, notably in 'We Accuse,' their spirited 1954 defense of J. Robert Oppenheimer in Harper's Magazine."

I found this to be an especially entertaining as well as informative read. As does Sheehan, Greg Herken makes skillful use of the basic elements of a great story: an appealing setting, colorful characters, compelling conflicts, sometimes riveting plot developments, increasing tension, a plausible (perhaps inevitable) climax, and then a satisfying conclusion As the book ends, the Alsop brothers have died, the Berlin Wall has fallen, the Soviet Union has imploded, and a treasure trove of former secrets (the CIA's so-called "Family Jewels") has been declassified, and Katharine Graham was firmly in command of the Washington Post Company (including the newspaper), sharing with her friend Polly Wisner, the sense "that we have outlived our times." Later, Joe Alsop's widow observed, "We're all so old or dead." But what interesting times they had shared for so many years....

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