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How The World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination
How The World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination
by Sally Hogshead
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 23.19
35 used & new from CDN$ 18.64

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why this volume can serve both as a mirror and as a window to one’s humanity, for better or worse, July 25 2014
In this book, Sally Hogshead develops several of the concepts and insights she provided in a previously published book, Fascinate, that she characterizes as “the science of fascination.” However, there is more – much more – in this later book as she continues to share all that she has learned (thus far) about three separate but related, indeed interdependent dimensions of human interaction: how we may think others see us, how in fact they do, and – if there is a significant difference -- what is needed to achieve the desired perceptions. She is convinced – and I agreed with her – that people can improve and enhance their impact on others, especially in terms of appearance/presence as well as body language and tone of voice.

The key is to identify one’s highest value. That is, “The pinnacle of who you already are; what makes you exceptional. How you are different: Your specialized ability to deliver above and beyond what’s expected.”

The Japanese term “kaizen” usually refers to an organization's continuous improvement but it can also refer to an individual's. Once you identify your highest value (whatever it is, however high it is), you can then focus on increasing it because, Hogshead observes, "When you live according to your highest distinct value, you become your most fascinating -- and most valuable self."

She makes an excellent point about the power of focus: "Ever watch a 3-D movie without 3-D glasses? It's a distorted jumble of information. You're more likely to feel confused than impressed. But then, when you put on those plastic 3-D glasses, your vision whips into focus. Suddenly, the confusing jumble becomes clear. The scene has depth and meaning. You can grasp the information in front of you, and understanding everything that is happening."

Hogshead identifies and examines the Seven Advantages:

1. Power: lead with command and communicate with authority and confidence
2. Passion: connect with emotion (empathy) and build connections with your warmth and enthusiasm
3. Mystique: communicate with substance and impress with your analytical skills and thoughtful communication
4. Prestige: earn respect by setting and meeting higher standards
5. Alert: prevent problems and keep people and projects on track by managing the details
6. Innovation: "change the game" by pushing a company to innovate with creative ideas
7. Trust: build and sustain loyalty with a consistent and familiar presence

Think of each as a primary advantage, a defining advantage. Also, keep in mind that there is always room for improvement of each. Hogshead also identifies 49 Archetypes; seven per Advantage. For example, for Trust: Evolutionary (curious, adaptable, open-minded), Authentic (approachable, dependable, trustworthy), Gravitas (dignified, stable, hardworking), Diplomat (levelheaded, subtle, capable), Old Guard (predictable, safe, unmovable), Anchor (protective, purposeful, analytical), and Good Citizen (principle, prepared, conscientious). These are Hogshead's terms and descriptives. There is an appropriate synonym for each. The point is, that each of us has a primary, defining Advantage and the challenge is to increase its value, to bring it into sharper focus.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues in Part I ("How Does the World See You?") that were/are of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Hogshead’s coverage.

o The Art and Science of Fascination (Pages 7-9)
o The Threat of Distraction (25-29)
o The Threat of Competition (29-33)
o The Threat of Commoditization (33-37)
o Your Dimensional Personality (41-44)
o The Fascination Flow, and, The Science of Fascination (48-53)
o Stand Out, or Don't Bother (67-70)
o The Seven Fascination Advantages (81-91)
o The Power Advantage: Leading Through Authority (93-116)

Hogshead does an especially skillful job of framing key material with crisp but informative mini-introductions and then, later, with brief but inclusive "reviews" of key points. I also commend her on a formula she devised when discussing the 49 Archetypes within the seven categories of Advantages in Chapter 4, Pages 117-339. For example, "How the World Sees the Change Agent," "The Change Agent's Top 5 Adjectives," "'Highest and Best Value' of the Change Agent," "What Is Not the 'Highest and Best Value' of the Change Agent?" "How to Work with a Change Agent," "Archetypes That Can Optimize the Change Agent," "A Lesson That Everyone Can learn from the Change Agent," "One Minute Coaching to My Change Agents," "Famous Change Agents," "Example of an Anthem for the Change Agent," and "How the Change Agent Might Apply This Anthem."

With regard to the anthem, "It is a short phrase that describes how you are different, and what you do best. This makes it easy for people to understand why they should work with you. They can quickly 'get you, because they immediately grasp what you do best." Hogshead devotes Chapter 7 to explaining with which her readers can formulate a high-impact anthem for themselves. While reading this chapter, an interesting exercise occurred to me: Supervisors formulate an anthem for each of their direct reports before completing one for themselves. Hmmm.....

Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the scope and depth as well as the quality of the information, insights, and counsel that Sally Hogshead provides. However, I hope I have at least indicated why I think so highly of it.

One final point: I think it is ridiculous that a volume of 428 pages (including appendices) has no index. It is imperative that one be added if and when there is a second edition.

The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education
The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education
by Karl M. Kapp
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 57.60
28 used & new from CDN$ 47.09

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why the real value of the game-based mechanics "is to create meaningful learning experiences", July 24 2014
There are two key words in the title of my review, "how" and "why." Karl Kapp thoroughly explores both in this first of two books that examine "game-based methods and strategies for training and education." The second is a companion Fieldbook (published in 2014) in which Kapp and his co-authors, Lucas Blair and Rich Mesch, offer brilliant explanations of (a) why it is so important to focus on gaming, (b) "Basic Elements," and (c) "Design Considerations" that must be addressed. They also provide worksheets, examples, samples, tables, and instructions that can help readers create their own ILEs (i.e. interactive learning experience). "This book can be used as a primer or introductory text to introduce the topic of designing instructional games, gamification, and simulation, but it is primarily designed as a practical fieldbook to help teams in the midst of creating games, gamification, and simulation projects." The Fieldbook ("Ideas into Practice") devotes more attention to "how" and less to "why." Together, both books provide just about as much anyone needs to know in order to make a significance contribution to a rapidly expanding field of game-based training and education.

With regard to the earlier volume, I commend Kapp on brilliant use of 33 Figures (e.g. "Flow, the State Between Boredom and Anxiety") and six Tables (e.g. "Meta-Analysis Studies of Game-Based Learning") as well as three reader-friendly devices: "Chapter Questions" (heads up) at beginning of all chapters, "Implications and Importance to the Future of Learning and Instruction" (Chapters 1 and 2, only), and "Key Takeaways" at conclusion of all chapters. These devices help to facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of key material later.

As in the Fieldbook, this book features several special contributors; four of them provide a chapter (10-13) on a subject most relevant to their background, talents, and experience in game-based training and education. They and three other special contributors are certainly a diverse group and this is a key point: It correctly suggests that the limits to what can be accomplished with game-based training and education will probably be -- as in almost all other human enterprises -- self-imposed.

Kapp asks his reader to "think of the engaging elements of why people play games -- it's not just for the points -- its sense of engagement, immediate feedback, feeling of accomplishment, and success of striving against a challenge and overcoming it."

A personal note: These comments really hit home with me and my participation in scramble competition in golf for several decades. Four players comprise a team that competes against other teams. In terms of individual ability, each team has an A, B, C and D player. This is a game within a game with strict rules that are self-regulated. (There are reasons why FLOG spells GOLF backwards.) Lots of laughs amidst struggles to get a low score for the team. The "winners" play their best (such as it is) and have a great time.

Kapp explains, "This book has a heavy emphasis on creating games for learning and not incentivizing people through external rewards. The real value of the game-based mechanics is to create meaningful learning experiences." They are:

o System (architecture of the game)
o Players
o Abstract (context of reality or "game space")
o Challenge (achieve goals and outcomes)
o Rules (do's and don'ts)
o Interactivity (between/among teammates and with opponent/s)
o Feedback (measurements of success, failure, and progress)
o Quantifiable Outcome (final "score" or result that is definitive)
o Emotional Reaction ("the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat," etc.)

As Kapp points out, "Together these disparate elements combine to make an event [i.e. an interactive learning experience] that is larger than the individual elements. A player gets caught up in playing a game because the instant feedback and constant interaction are related to the challenge of the game, which is defined by the rules, which all work within the system to provoke an emotional reaction and, finally, result in a quantifiable outcome within an abstract version of a larger system [or reality]."

If I understand the meaning and significance of this paragraph (and I may not), Kapp is suggesting that a game can be a simulation of a reality or combination of realities, and, simultaneously, also be a reality or combination of realities. Playing Monopoly, for example, resembles trying to complete as series of transactions in real estate and enables competition that takes on a life of its own. Valuable lessons can be learned in either dimension.

To ways and an extent that a commentary such as mine cannot suggest, Karl Kapp provides just about all the information, insights, and counsel anyone needs in order to proceed to effective application of whatever material in this book is most relevant to the needs, interests, goals, resources, concerns, and strategic objectives of the given enterprise. I presume to add that applying any of the material in this book must (repeat MUST) be a collaborative effort that involves an organization's best and brightest.

Massively Open: How Massive Open Online Courses Changed the World
Massively Open: How Massive Open Online Courses Changed the World
Price: CDN$ 13.17

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How and why MOOCs could "completely revolutionize what it means to be an educator and what it means to be a student", July 24 2014
This book's subtitle is premature. However, I am convinced that, in time, Massive Open Online courses (MOOCs) will indeed change the world in ways and to an extent that cannot be determined now. The same was true of the printing press, the Internet, and then the World Wide Web. That said, there is a great need now to begin the difficult process of identifying potentialities, to be sure, but also identify at least fundamental terms and conditions to consider as well as concerns to be addressed. This book makes a modest but valuable contribution to that process as does Michael Nanfito's MOOCs: Opportunities, Impacts, and Challenges: Massive Open Online Courses in Colleges and Universities.

As explained in the Introduction, "By the time the first MOOC appeared, online education had been evolving slowly for nearly two decades." It is important to keep in mind that in 1993, Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist then associated with CERN (the European Particle Physics Laboratory), introduced the World Wide Web. The Introduction then points out that "MOOCs were first introduced through a University of Manitoba course called 'Connectivism and Connective Knowledge' and the term was coined by Canadian University of Prince Edward Island's Dave Cormier. Widespread international interest in MOOCs began in 2011 when Stanford's Professor Sebastian Thrun's course 'Introduction to Artificial Intelligence' was offered in MOOC format through Stanford University. Anyone could take the class as long as they had an internet connection. Over 160,000 people enrolled in the free online class."

The co-authors are Jonan Donaldson, Eliane Agra, Mohammed Alshammari, Andrew Bailey, Daniel Bowdoin, Meghan Kendle, Lauren Nixon, and Lisa Wressel. They acknowledge their debt to Mary Bucy for her leadership, executive support, and fostering of information. The adjective "massively" is somewhat ironic when we take into full account what the nature and extent of potential increases of growth and enrollments in them worldwide during the next two decades. What is "massive" today will probably seem puny then.

I commend the collaborators on this book because, like all of the great explorers through history, they are attempting to give at least some definition to "territory" that was previously unexplored. Moreover, and this is an even greater challenge, they share their thoughts about possibilities and even probabilities in months and years to come. For obvious reasons, they suggest more questions than answers. These are among the issues that intrigue me.

What will be the nature and extent of MOOCs' impact on

o Secondary schools
o Community colleges
o Four-year colleges and universities
o Trade and professional schools
o Formal training (e.g. corporate sector)
o Self-directed learning
o Content development
o Performance assessment
o Incentives and rewards
o Recognition and authentication (i.e. diploma, degree, certification)
o Funding of education in various dimensions and sectors

It will also be especially interesting, indeed exciting to observe the impact of game-based learning and instruction within the MOOC landscape.

I wholly agree with the concluding remarks: "Anyone with an interest in education would do well to continue following the developments in this exciting area. It may turn out to be the innovation that allows education to become universally available to everyone regardless of location or financial situation. And if it does, it will completely revolutionize what it means to be an educator and what it means to be a student."

Stay tuned....

The Consummate Leader: A Holistic Guide to Inspiring Growth in Others ... and in Yourself
The Consummate Leader: A Holistic Guide to Inspiring Growth in Others ... and in Yourself
by Patricia Thompson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.26
5 used & new from CDN$ 15.16

5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant explanation of how to accelerate your personal growth and professional development and then help others to do so, July 23 2014
The last time I checked, Amazon US offers 113,746 books for sale in the general category of "leadership" and 45,153 books in the "business leadership" category. Why another? Albert Einstein provided the best answer years ago when chided by a Princeton colleague that he always asked the same questions on his final examinations. "Quite true. Each year, the answers are different."

What Patricia Thompson offers in her book is a cohesive, comprehensive, and resource-effective program by which to achieve two critically important strategic objectives, whatever the size and nature of the given organization may be: helping aspiring leaders to accelerate their personal growth and professional development, and, to prepare those leaders to help others to do so, including but by no means limited to their direct reports.

What is a consummate leader? Its etymology dates to the classic Latin word, "consummatus," meaning "perfected, complete." Back to Einstein's observation, for a moment: The nature and extent of consummate leadership in ancient Greece or Rome are quite different from what they have become since Abraham Lincoln served as the 16th president of the United States. So, in Thompson's opinion, what are the defining characteristics of a consummate leader today? She suggests seven:

o Self-Awareness
o Spirituality
o Self-Management
o Positivity
o Authenticity
o Effective Relationship Building
o Skillful Coaching and Developing

All of these are essential to what I characterize as "leadership for all seasons." Throughout history, all great leaders can be viewed as "gardeners" with a "green thumb" who "grew" other people. This perspective is also compatible with Thompson's covey of characteristics. She devotes a separate chapter to each. I should add, all that she says is wholly consistent with "perfected, complete" but as she would be the first to point out, those two terms are the destination of a never-ending process of development. The men and women almost universally regarded as consummate leaders (from Elizabeth I and Catherine the Great to Winston Churchill and Mohandas Gandhi) were seriously flawed human beings. To cherish them is not to deify them.

No brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the abundance of information, insights, and counsel that Patricia Thompson provides but I hope that I have at least indicated why I think so highly of this book. I strongly recommend it, especially to those now preparing for a career in business or who have only recently embarked on one and who aspire to become a leader. Also, to middle managers who need her help to understand and appreciate the fact that all organizations must have effective (consummate) leadership, not only in the C-Suite but at all levels and in all areas throughout the given enterprise.

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
by Nir Eyal
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 43.36
9 used & new from CDN$ 42.39

5.0 out of 5 stars How to manage consumers’ habits to your advantage, July 23 2014
Since the bazaars in antiquity, marketing's objective has remained the same: create or increase demand for whatever is offered. What Nir Eyal offers in this book is a four-phase process by which to design habit-forming products that will attract and then sustain a tight relationship with customers.

1. A Trigger attracts consumer attention and creates initial interest such as the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee.

2. Consumer takes Action to learn more about what is offered, often by clicking on a website link or calling a toll-free number.

3. The Variable Reward offers several possibilities to attract as many different people as possible (e.g. a state lottery).

4. The last phase, Investment, illustrates that people who assemble furniture (e.g. IKEA) attach greater value to it than they would if it were already assembled.

As in residential real estate and the chestnut that suggests "for every house there's a buyer," I am convinced that, for those in need of forming and then sustaining tight customer relationships, "for every book there's a reader." Who knows? For some who read this review, the "Hook Model" may be exactly what they need.

The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age
The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age
by Reid Hoffman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 17.56
37 used & new from CDN$ 14.94

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5.0 out of 5 stars How to cope with the "fundamental disconnect of modern employment", July 22 2014
What is the "fundamental disconnect" to which Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha, and Chris Yeh refer? They assert that the current employer-employee relationship is based on a dishonest conversation. How so? "Today, few companies offer guaranteed employment with a straight face; such assurances are perceived by employees as naive, disingenuous, or both...Many employees have responded by hedging their bets, jumping ship whenever as new opportunity presents itself, regardless of how much they profess their loyalty during the recruiting process or annual reviews. Both parties act in ways that blatantly contradict their official positions."

I agree with their observations, viewed as generalizations with wide application. More often than not, employers and employees really do view each other as adversaries rather than as collaborators. I also agree with them that there is another type of relationship that would be of much greater benefit to both employers and employees. "Our goal is to provide a framework for moving from a transactional to a relational approach. Think of employment as an alliance: a mutually beneficial deal, with explicit terms, between independent players. This employment alliance provides the framework managers and employees need for the trust and investment to build powerful businesses and careers."

They urge supervisors to promise their direct reports, "Help make our company more valuable, and we'll make you more valuable."

They urge direct reports to respond, "Help my grow and flourish, and I'll help the company grow and flourish."

So, what we have in this book is a cohesive, comprehensive, and cost-effective process or system by which to establish and then strengthen an employment relationship that is a mutually-beneficial partnership, an "alliance." So viewed, it is still possible to think in terms of a team (how people work together) and of a family (how people treat each other). Allies serve their own best interests by doing all they can to help each other produce more and better work and it is also in their best interests to treat each other with compassion, appreciation, and respect.

It is no coincidence that many (most?) of the companies on the Fortune's annual lists of those that are most highly admired and the best to work for or also on Fortune's annual lists of those that are most profitable and have the greatest cap value in their industry. I suspect that these same companies also have the lowest attrition rate of valued employees and the highest number of applicants per the position that does become available.

Here specifically are several of the business issues that Hoffman, Casnocha, and Yeh can help their reader to address:

o Building alliances with employees without guaranteeing lifetime employment
o Adjusting the alliance approach to different types and levels of employees
o Building alliances with entrepreneurial employees whose ultimate values and goals differ
o Determining the nature and extent of employee networking and personal branding while "on the job"
o Managing an effective corporate alumni network with limited resources

Recent data generated by major research studies conducted by Gallup and Towers Watson (among other prominent firms) indicate that, on average, less than 30% of employees in a U.S. workplace are actively and productively engaged; the others are either passively engaged (mailing it in) or actively undermining efforts to achieve the company's goals. The employment relationship that
Hoffman, Casnocha, and Yeh endorse offers, in my opinion, the best approach to increasing substantially the number of actively and productively engaged employees. It is in their best interests, their self-interests, to do everything possible to add value to the organization that employs them if they are convinced that their employer is doing everything possible to increase, perhaps even accelerate their personal growth and professional development.

Before concluding their book, Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha, and Chris Yeh observe: "Improving the microcosm of workplace relationships can have a major impact on society -- job by job, team by team, company by company. The alliance may seem like a small thing next to macroeconomic proposals like overhauling the education system or reforming our regulatory regime, but it's a small thing we can all adopt today that will generate big cumulative returns in the years to come."

These remarks remind me of the fact that, in 2004, led by Jørgen Vig Knudstorp and his leadership team, LEGO was transformed - "brick by brick" - into one of the world's most innovative as well as most profitable and fastest growing toy companies, in ways and to an extent once thought impossible. It seems to me that, leaders of other organizations that need to be transformed would be well-advised to consider a strategy of achieving that "alliance by alliance." Just a thought....

The Language of Leaders: How Top CEOs Communicate to Inspire, Influence and Achieve Results
The Language of Leaders: How Top CEOs Communicate to Inspire, Influence and Achieve Results
by Kevin Murray
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.87
32 used & new from CDN$ 12.92

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why your values-driven behavior speaks much louder than anything you say, however eloquently, July 19 2014
Kevin Murray shares what he learned during his interviews of 57 business leaders plus contributions by four others. Almost all have UK backgrounds and current affiliations and thus provide perspectives that I found of special interest. It came as no surprise, however, that what has helped them to influence others to achieve high-impact results is essentially no different from what has also proven effective f9r other leaders in the Americas, Europe, and Asia: effective communication.

In Chapter 3, he identifies and examines what he characterizes as "the 12 principles of effective communication" and none is a head-snapping revelation, nor does Murray make any such claim. They range from "Learn how to be yourself, better, if you aspire to be a better leader and communicator" to "Learn, rehearse, review, improve - always strive to be a better communicator." If you were to draw up a list of the greatest leaders throughout history, my guess is that - however different they may be in most respects - all were an effective communicator and most (if not all) were a master raconteur.

The title of this book refers to "language" in both verbal and non-verbal domains. In fact, as countless research studies have proven, body language and tone of voice determine at least 80-85% of impact during a face-to-face encounter, with the remainder of impact determined by what is actually said. Moreover, as Murray correctly points out, aspiring leaders must have credibility as well as communication skills. Bill George is among those who have much of great value to say about "authenticity" that develops while following a True North. James O'Toole asserts that all great leaders possess what he characterizes as a "moral compass." The point is, people will not believe the message if they do not trust the messenger.

Murray offers an especially crisp and concise description of inspiring leaders who make us want to achieve more. "They persuade us to their cause, win our active support, help us to work better together and make us feel proud to be part of the communities they create...If need be, great leaders [also] get us to face ugly reality, and then give us a new sense of direction and optimism. Along the way, they help us to see how what we do makes a difference. They listen to us and they respect us. We feel involved and committed. We watch them for cues, and we feel great when they recognize our efforts - and then we try even harder."

As I read this portion of the book's Introduction, I immediately thought of Winston Churchill's frank communications throughout the worst of the Battle of Britain during the summer and autumn of 1940. Yes, Churchill inspired people to fight on but he left no doubt as to the perils his nation and its people faced. "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering...You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs -- Victory in spite of all terror -- Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival."
Murray, those he interviewed, and others who also contributed to the process offer an abundance of information, insights, and wisdom that can help almost anyone to develop a fluency in "the language of leaders" but, that said, I hasten to emphasize once again what Murray stresses throughout the book: Trust is essential to leadership and people will only trust and respect those who are authentic.

Those who aspire to become great leaders, to engage others in the achievement of great results, must effectively communicate those values that guide and inform their behavior. Fluency without integrity is, at best, artifice and at worst, deceit...or as the example of Adolph Hitler suggests, evil. Leaders must be worthy of those whom they are privileged to serve.

Communicate to Inspire: A Guide for Leaders
Communicate to Inspire: A Guide for Leaders
Price: CDN$ 16.12

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why those with talent and character who aspire to become leaders must also be effective communicators, July 19 2014
Long ago, after making several mistakes with the best of intentions, I concluded that people cannot be motivated, except perhaps by terror. However, it is possible to inspire or at least ignite their self-motivation.

Kevin Murray is among the most thoughtful and thought-provoking business thinkers now publishing books and articles when not helping corporate clients to improve their communications and expedite leadership development. The nature and extent of how supervisors inspire their direct reports' self-motivation will determine how effective the supervisors are as communicators. He suggests:

"To be successful, leaders must inspire others to achieve great results. How ironic then that few leaders are taught the critical communication skills that enable them to be inspiring. The simple truth is this: How well you perform as a leader, will depend on how well as a leader you communicate. You can have the best plan, the best resources and the best people, but if you don't communicate well, you won't persuade people to your cause, and you will fail. It is that simple. Yet any leader can easily derive competitive advantage by learning how to be more inspiring. It is much easier than you might think." How? He wrote this book in response to that question.

That said, I agree with Murray about the importance of clear communication but, as he would be the first to point out, many toxic supervisors do not have a communication problem. On the contrary, their attitude, values, and behavior leave little (if any) doubt that they are unworthy of trust and respect. That comes across loud and clear. They have a credibility problem. That is, they are pathetic at best and contemptible at worst.

What we have in this volume is a wealth of information, insights, and counsel based on Murray's decades of real-world experience, including in-depth interviews and conversations with hundreds of C-level executives. These are among the dozens of challenges and opportunities that Murray examines in his book:

o How and why strategic conversations drive change and speed is the new currency
o How and why positive emotions drive better performance
o Why leadership is the "greatest intangible asset of them all"
o Why passion, conviction, and authenticity are essential to leadership that inspires
o How to think about purpose, values, and the future
o How to integrate "the outside" with your workforce to unleash "super performance"
o How and why powerful conversations drive culture so that it can achieve its strategic objectives
o How to connect with associates by focusing on their feelings
o When interacting with others, listen with total attention; communicate interest, curiosity, and appreciation

NOTE: This last point is critically important to effective leadership. We have two eyes, two ears, and only one mouth. We should spend 80% of our time observing and listening. Great leaders spend at least 90%.

o How and when to send the right signals
o How stories can help to drive action and shape/nourish culture
o How a "potent" point of view can empower leadership initiatives
o How to win in "the court of public opinion" with proper preparation of your "case"
o During face-to-face interaction, how and why body language and tone of voice determine at least 80% of impact
o Six reasons to be actively involved with social media

Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine can do full justice to the cope and depth of what Kevin Murray covers in this book. However, I hope I have indicated why I think so highly of it. I also highly recommend his previous published book, The Language of Leaders. Both can be an inspiration to those who now prepare for a career in business or have only recently embarked upon one.

Story-Based Selling: Create, Connect, and Close
Story-Based Selling: Create, Connect, and Close
by Jeff Bloomfield
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 14.06
25 used & new from CDN$ 14.05

5.0 out of 5 stars How to tell stories that influence others, "not for control or manipulation but for mutual benefit", July 19 2014
I agree with my dear friend, Dan Pink: "We are our stories. We compress years of experience, view, and emotion into a few compact narratives that we convey to others and tell to ourselves." Selling today requires a whole new mind, the title of the book from which I excerpted Dan's comments.

In this volume, Jeff Bloomfield shares his thoughts and feelings about the importance of story-based communication. The "selling" to which the book's title refers is, in fact, the skills one needs to explain with information, describe with vivid images, and (yes) convince with logic and/or evidence. During a three-year period, a carpenter from Nazareth used parables (framed as stories) to illustrate articles of faith. Almost two centuries later, a rail-splitter from Kentucky who later became an attorney and then president of the United States used anecdotes and aphorisms to explain fundamental values and political realities.

My own rather extensive experience, especially with my communication failures, has convinced of these three realities:

1. It is not a successful communication unless those who receive it "get" the [begin italics] intended [end italics] meaning.

2. During face-to-face interaction, no matter what is said, at least 80% of impact is determined by tone of voice and body language; during voice-to-voice interaction, at least 80% of impact is determined by tone of voice.

3. How much one [begin italics] cares about the given audience [end italics] is of much greater importance to that audience than what is actually said.

Bloomfield's purpose is to help each reader to "leverage the way the brain processes stories to establish a foundation of trust." Once earned, that trust must NEVER be violated. A story told may be authentic but if sharing it seems manipulative and self-serving, the storyteller has forfeited, wasted, a precious opportunity to achieve an objective of mutual benefit.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Bloomfield's coverage.

o How Great Leaders Communicate (Pages 8-12)
o The Secrets of the "Buying" Brain (18-22)
o The Limbic "Filter" (27-30)
o The Anxiety Highway (32-34)
o The Synchronization of Two Brains Communicating (39-48)
o Using Visual Aids or a Prop (52-59)
o Planning Your First Impression (68-73)
o Overcoming Objections with Story-Based Selling (77-87)
o Six Obstacles to Change (95-106)
o Four Myths About Effective Storytelling (123-125)

Bloomfield devotes Chapters 1-9 to helping his reader formulate or revise a "personal story" that is really an anthology of thoughts, feelings, experiences, and insights that serve as raw material for responses during interact ion with others that are most relevant to the given situation. The key skill is anchoring a message within a human context, one that consists of characters and plot developments, setting and conflicts, resolution and lessons learned from it. I agree with him that human interaction must be mutually beneficial, shared with mutual trust and respect, with emotional as well as rational engagement. Correctly, he stresses the importance of humility, vulnerability, and authenticity to earn and sustain another's trust.

In Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, Polonius admonishes his son Laertes, "To thine own self be true." Centuries later, Oscar Wilde suggests, "Be yourself. Everyone else is taken." Presumably Bloomfield agrees with me that the greater challenge to become the best person we can be. That is a process, not a destination.

The title of this book could have been -- perhaps should have been -- Story-Based Communication if, as I suspect, Jeff Bloomfield views "selling" as including but not limited to commercial transactions. Throughout human history, the greatest leaders offered visions that millions of others then "bought." (I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard someone say, "I'll buy that.") Positive and productive employee engagement involves "buying into" the values and objectives of the given enterprise. Who will derive the greatest benefit from this book? Those who interact with other people. In a word, everyone.

The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business
The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business
by Erin Meyer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 18.81
29 used & new from CDN$ 18.35

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why "a dialogue of sharing, learning, and ultimately understanding" can break through barriers to global enterprise, July 18 2014
As I began to read this book, I was again reminded of the challenges that the great explorers throughout history faced. Somehow they and their associates broke through what must have been for them invisible boundaries. Today, all manner of companies are struggling to navigate their way through different cultures, overcoming boundaries that had been previously invisible, barriers more numerous and daunting than any that Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, ‎Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, and Ferdinand Magellan had encountered.

According to Erin Meyer, "I provide a systematic step-by-step approach to understanding the most common business communication challenges that arise from cultural differences, and offer steps for dealing with them more effectively." She recommends and explains several strategies to increase her reader's effectiveness when addressing issues and resolving problems caused by cross-cultural misunderstandings, if not avoid them altogether.

Meyer shares her thoughts about how to achieve these strategic objectives:

o How to communicate effectively across cultures
o How to evaluate individual performance
o How to evaluate organizational performance (i.e. team, department, company)
o How to provide negative feedback
o How to be persuasive in a multicultural world
o Criteria for identifying good bosses and bad bosses: leadership, hierarchy, and uses/abuses of power
o Decision-making process: do's and don'ts
o How to develop (nourish and strengthen) two types of trust
o How to disagree productively
o How to manage scheduling and cross-cultural perceptions of time

Meyer provides an abundance of information, insights, and counsel that can help her reader to break through the invisible boundaries of global business, based on what her research has revealed about how people think, lead, and get work done. She is a results-driven realist and relentless empiricist, well aware that "cultural and individual differences are often wrapped up with differences among organizations, industries, professions, and other groups. But even in the most complex situations, understanding how cultural differences affect the mix may help you discover s new approach. [She thoroughly explains that appproach in this book.] Cultural patterns of behavior and belief frequently impact our perceptions (what we see), cognitions (what we think), and actions (what we do)."

Whatever their size and nature may be, all organizations need effective leadership and management at all levels and in all areas. More the marketplace within which they compete is global and competition for talent, customers, allies, sales, and profits is more ferocious than at any prior time that I can recall.

I agree with Erin Meyer: "What's new is the requirement for twenty-first century leaders to be prepared to understand a wider, richer array of work styles than ever before and to be able to determine what aspects of an interaction are simply a result of personality and which are a result of differences in cultural perspective." For many executives, especially inhabitants of the C-Suite, this may well prove to be the most important book they read this decade.

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