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The Connection Algorithm: Take Risks, Defy the Status Quo, and Live Your Passions
The Connection Algorithm: Take Risks, Defy the Status Quo, and Live Your Passions
Price: CDN$ 5.53

5.0 out of 5 stars How to develop a mindset that will help you and others to accelerate personal growth and professional development, Aug. 4 2015
To what does the title refer? According to Jesse Warren Tevelow, the connection algorithm is a mindset, one that almost anyone can develop that will "enable you to live the life you want to live, and to be in control. The goal is to eliminate the things that make you unhappy...[and will] naturally lead you to forge relationships with highly connected people. It will also open your eyes to a new lifestyle, freeing you from the shackles of a desk job."

Tevelow is convinced that success depends upon four HUGE "ifs":

o If a person decides to achieve personal growth and professional development,
o If they are totally committed to doing that,
o If they offer something to create substantial value (e.g. changing people's lives for the better), and
o If they build a network of Connectors (i.e. those who can be most helpful to achieving the given objectives).

Note: I presume to add a fifth "C": courage. The other four won't happen without it.

Whenever young people asked Rod Steiger (a great actor on stage and screen) for career advice, he always looked them in the eye and asked, "Do you want to be an actor or do you HAVE TO BE an actor." As he explained, "The longer it took them to answer that question, the less likely it was that they would succeed." That is what Tevelow means by commitment. It is important to keep in mind that, while building a network of influential allies, you will become a Connector who can help others to develop their own connection algorithm.

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

o The Point of It All (Pages 8-10)
o The Power of Connectors (16-18)
o The Four Cs: Choose, Commit, Create, and Connect (21-25)
o Act Today, Not Tomorrow (33-34)
o Why It's So Easy to Feel Off Track (35-40)
o Your Passion Is a Product (49-54)
o Connect the Dots Later (54-58)
o You Get Out What You Put In...Sort Of (69-73)
o Learn to Love Experiments (74-76)
o Don't Get a New Cage (86-87)
o Tim Ferriss and the Two Ps: The Pareto Principle and Parkinson's Law (95-97)
o Time: 10,000 Hours to Become an Expert? (98-103)
o Productivity Hacks (104-114)
o Body: "Vehicle for Getting Things Done" (131-143)
o Mind (143-153)
o The Connection Algorithm Defined (159-169)
o The Path to Being Connected (169-175)
o Ask for Help (180-181)
o Personal Values and Habits (191-197)
o Connector Qualities (202-210)
o Being a Connector (211-214)

As I read and then re-read Tevelow's "Final Thoughts," I was again reminded of Ernest Becker's classic, Denial of Death, in which he acknowledges that no one can deny physical death but suggests there is another form of death that can be denied: That which occurs when we become totally preoccupied with fulfilling others' expectations of us. This "death" is what Alan Watts has in mind, in The Book, when observing, "We need a new experience -- a new feeling of what it is to be 'I.' The lowdown (which is, of course, the secret and profound view) on life is that our normal sensation of self is a hoax, or, at best, a temporary role that we are playing, or have been conned into playing -- with our own tacit consent, just as every hypnotized person is basically willing to be hypnotized. The most strongly enforced of all known taboos is the taboo against knowing who or what you really are behind the mask of your apparently separate, independent, and isolated ego."

Jesse Tevelow urges his reader to deny the "death" to which both Becker and Watts refer. "I've done it. I've discovered the secret to prolonged happiness. Yes, it's taken me thirty years and I still have to remind myself constantly, but I've figured it out. Ready? Here it is -- the secret to being happy: Do shit you like to do."

Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the abundance of information, insights, and counsel that are provided in this book but I hope I have at least indicated why I think so highly of it.

Beyond Engagement: A Brain-Based Approach That Blends the Engagement Managers Want with the Energy Employees Need
Beyond Engagement: A Brain-Based Approach That Blends the Engagement Managers Want with the Energy Employees Need
by Brady G. Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 22.69
10 used & new from CDN$ 14.96

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why executives should manage workforce energy rather than workforce engagement, Aug. 3 2015
Obviously Brady Wilson agrees with these observations by Tony Schwartz: "We're not meant to run at high speeds, continuously, for long periods of time. Science tells us we're at our best when we move rhythmically between spending and renewing energy -- a reality that companies must embrace to fuel sustainable engagement and high performance."

Wilson offers a "brain-based approach" to energy management. He shares everything he has learned (thus far) about how to nourish and strengthen both our own emotional and rational brains as well as the binary capabilities of those entrusted to our care. "Manage the whole person," but meanwhile manage the process by which each person can achieve personal growth and professional development. Organizational goals must be in proper alignment with individual workers' goals as well as those of customers.

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

o David Zinger's Foreword (Pages xi-xii)
o What's in This Book? (4-7)
o The Gas Guzzler (10-12)
o Engagement vs. Energy (15-17)
o How the Promise of Reward Short-Circuits Engagement (24-27)
o Delivering Experiences (27-28)
o What Matters Most? The Employee Experience (28-30)
o Four Times the Effort (35)
o Science Explains This (36-38)
Note: In this context, Wilson cites brain research that explains how and why our limbic system (emotional center of the brain) defines what we experience as reality.
o The Chemistry of Conversation (46-56)
o Cognitive Tension(66-68)
o Dimensions and Significance of Tension (70-78)
Note: I think that tension is comparable with destruction in that both can be either positive or negative, creative or lethal.
o The Binary Code of Responsibility (83-88)
o Parenting: It's in Our Roots (88-92)
o What Blocks Performance (110-112)
o Intelligent Energy (116-117)
o Five Driving Needs, and, Family of Needs (123-126)
o Unmet Needs Deplete Energy (126-128)
o Access Points to the Five Driving Needs (130-132)
o How Unmet Needs Can Serve Us, and, The Antidote (132-136)
Note: In this context, Wilson shares his concerns about the disruptive and damaging impact of three negative forces: narcissism, individualism, and consumerism.

o Stress: Demon or Demonized (140-143)

Wilson also provides ten "Case Stories" that feature real people in real-world situations as they struggle with the challenges and the opportunities of coordinating "the engagement that managers want with the energy that employees need."

Over several decades, I have been closely associated (either as a senior-level executive or as an independent consultant) with several hundred companies and few of them made effective use of the exit interview to obtain the information, insights, and counsel their business leaders needed to accelerate the personal growth and professional development of their employees in combination with achieving organizational goals and objectives. In all of the major research studies of employee satisfaction conducted by highly reputable firms such as Gallup and Towers Watson, "feeling appreciated" is always ranked among the three of what is of greatest importance to those who responded. I commend Brady Wilson on the brain-based approach that he recommends and commend him also on how well he presents it. With only minor modifications, it can be of substantial value to almost any organization, whatever its size and nature may be.

Those who have supervisory responsibility would be well-advised to keep in mind this observation by Maya Angelou: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Making Human Capital Analytics Work: Measuring the ROI of Human Capital Processes and Outcomes
Making Human Capital Analytics Work: Measuring the ROI of Human Capital Processes and Outcomes
by Jack Phillips
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 45.95
20 used & new from CDN$ 14.55

5.0 out of 5 stars How to connect HR to business, predict the value of HR initiatives, and optimize the value of human capital, July 29 2015
Up front, I want acknowledgement my agreement with comments by Rodd Wagner in his latest book, Widgets: The 12 New Rules for Managing Your Employees As If They're Real People: "Your people are not your greatest assets. They're not yours, and they're not assets. They are someone's son or daughter, brother or sister, mom or dad. They're people -- people for whom you have a crucial stewardship and with whom you are building a personal legacy that will last long after you have retired. Do right by them, make them happy, and they will be the major force behind the success you share with them, and the best part of being privileged to be a leader."

Obviously, Patricia Phillips and Jack Phillips mean no disrespect when referring to a workforce as "human capital." They would be the first to point out that it is no coincidence that most of the companies annual ranked among those that are most highly respected and best to work for are also annually ranked among those that are most profitable and have the greatest cap value within their industry. What is their "secret sauce"? Years ago, then chairman and CEO, Herb Kelleher, explained the secret of Southwest Airlines' success: "We treat our people great, they treat our customers great, and our customers treat our shareholders great." Of all the capital or assets an organization can possess, none is more precious than its people.

The Phillipses wrote this book primarily for HR executives, providing a wealth of information, insights, and counsel that would enable them to "place monetary value on the hard-to-value measures, such as employee engagement, job satisfaction, conflict, stress, and teamwork. In addition, it is helpful to understand relationships between [and among] different variables, taking the mystery out of what is causing low productivity, inadequate quality, delayed processes, and excessive costs."

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of the Phillipses' coverage during the first five chapters:

o The Expanded Role of Human Capital (Pages 3-4)
o Struggles of the Human Resource Function (4-6)
o Human Capital Analytics: A Briefing (8-16)
o Types of Analytics Projects (16-28)
o The Development of the Human Capital Analytics Model (28-31)
o Benefits of Human Capital Analytics (31-33)
o Source of Problem or Opportunity (36-44)
o Define the Specific Business Measures (44-50)
o Table 2-5: Stakeholders for Typical Projects and Programs (52-53)
o Table 3-2: Typical Impact Measures for Projects and Programs (59-62)
o Searching/Locating Databases (66-67)
o Importance of Business Alignment (76-85)
o Figure 5-1: Objectives of Business Impact Coaching (92)
o Figure 5-2: Completed Data Collection Plan (94-96)
o Communication Plan (97-102)

In the remaining seven chapters, the Phillipses develop in much greater depth how to connect HR to business, predict the value of HR initiatives, and optimize the value of human capital. For example:

In Chapter 6, they explore "various data collection methods, including classic processes such as surveys, questionnaires, tests, interviews, focus groups, observation, and performance monitoring."

In 7, they describe "several isolation methods, ranging from classic experimental versus control group, trend-line analysis and analytical processes, to estimates from a variety of sources."

In 8, they explain "how to select solutions from various scenarios, modify a particular solution to deliver the value needed, and develop specific objectives for all five levels" of data. (See Figure 1-3, Pages 14-16)

In 9, they explore "the techniques, challenges, and opportunities for converting data to money." (See Pages 192-193)

In 10, they explain how to forecast, predict, test, optimize. (See Pages 249-253)

In 11, they share their thoughts about how to report results with a seven-step process and drive improvement.

And in Chapter 12, they offer practical recommendations about how to overcome and manage barriers to the analytics practice and sustain it. Presumably the Phillipses agree with Jim O'Toole who suggests (in his classic, Leading Change) that most resistance is cultural in nature, the result of what he so aptly characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom." My own rather extensive experience with change initiatives suggests that those who defend the current status quo were probably among those who worked so hard (and so well) to replace the previous status quo.

I commend them on their masterful use of reader-friendly devices throughout their lively and eloquent narrative. For example, they provide a brief but precise introduction to each of the 15 chapters, followed by an "Opening Story" to create a real-world context, as well as a "Final Thoughts" section at their conclusion. Also, dozens of Figures and Tables was well as checklists and bullet point clusters.

Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine can do full justice to the wealth of material that Patricia Phillips and Jack Phillips provide but I hope I have at least indicated why I think so highly of them and their book. The healthiest organizations are those in which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive. It is imperative, therefore, to be able to measure that growth and development. How? Almost everything business leaders need to know is provided in this volume. Bravo!

HBR's 10 Must Reads on Emotional Intelligence (with featured article "What Makes a Leader?" by Daniel Goleman)(HBR's 10 Must Reads)
HBR's 10 Must Reads on Emotional Intelligence (with featured article "What Makes a Leader?" by Daniel Goleman)(HBR's 10 Must Reads)
by Harvard Business Review
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 23.25
31 used & new from CDN$ 16.75

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why the most effective leaders "have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence", July 22 2015
This is one in a series of volumes that anthologizes what the editors of the Harvard Business Review consider to be "must reads" in a given business subject area, in this instance emotional intelligence. I have no quarrel with any of their selections, each of which is eminently deserving of inclusion. Were all of these ten article purchased separately as reprints, the total cost would be $60 and the practical value of any one of them exceeds that. Given the fact that Amazon now sells this one for only CDN $ 20.03, that's quite a bargain. The same is true of volumes in other series such as "HBR Guide to...,""Harvard Business Review on...," and "Harvard Business Essentials." I also think there is great benefit derived from the convenience of having a variety of perspectives and insights gathered in a single volume

In all of the volumes in the "HBR 10 Must Reads" series that I have read thus far, the authors and their HBR editors make skillful use of several reader-friendly devices that include "Idea in Brief" and "Idea in Action" sections, checklists with and without bullet points, boxed mini-commentaries (some of which are "guest" contributions from other sources), and graphic charts and diagrams that consolidate especially valuable information. These and other devices facilitate, indeed accelerate frequent review later of key points later.

Those who read this volume will gain valuable information, insights, and counsel that will help them to monitor and channel their moods and emotions; make smart (i.e. empathic, "people") decisions; manage conflict and regulate emotions within their team; react to tough situations with circumspection and resilience; better understand their strengths, weaknesses, needs, values, and goals; and develop emotional agility.

Although the first use of the term "emotional intelligence" is usually attributed to Wayne Payne's doctoral thesis, "A Study of Emotion: Developing Emotional Intelligence" (1985), Daniel Goleman is generally credited with doing more than anyone else has to establish and enrich emotional intelligence as a key element in terms of both personal growth and professional development. In an essay that serves as an introduction to the other material in this volume, "What Makes a Great Leader?" (HBR, June 1996), Goleman observes that "the most effective leaders are alike in one crucial; way: They all have a high degree of what has come to be known as [begin italics] emotional intelligence [end italics]...my research, along with recent studies, clearly shows that emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won't make a great leader."

In the other nine essays,

o Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee explain why primal leadership is the "hidden driver of great performance"
o Joel Brockner explains why it is so difficult to be "fair
o Andrew Campbell, Jo Whitehead, and Sydney Finkelstein explain why so many good leaders make such bad decisions
o Vanessa Urch Druskat and Steven B. Wolff explain how to build the emotional intelligence of groups
o Christine Porath and Christine Pearson examine the price of civility and explain why and how it hurts morale -- and the bottom line
o Diane L. Coutou explains how resiliency works
o Susan David and Christina Congleton discuss emotional agility: How effective leaders manage their negative thoughts and feelings
o Jay M. Jackman and Myra H. Strober explain fear of feedback and how to overcome it
o Kerry A. Bunker, Kathy E. Kram, and Sharon Ting on delaying promotions of fast trackers: "the young and the clueless"

Here are two other perspectives on emotional intelligence:

"Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. It is not the empath who is broken, it is society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. Those who are at times described as being a 'hot mess' or having 'too many issues' are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world. Never be ashamed to let your tears shine a light in this world." Anthon St. Maarten

"People who seek psychotherapy for psychological, behavioral or relationship problems tend to experience a wide range of bodily complaints...The body can express emotional issues a person may have difficulty processing consciously...I believe that the vast majority of people don't recognize what their bodies are really telling them. The way I see it, our emotions are music and our bodies are instruments that play the discordant tunes. But if we don't know how to read music, we just think the instrument is defective." Charlette Mikulka

I agree with Goleman that emotional intelligence can be learned. "The process is not easy. It takes time and, most of all, commitment. But the benefits that come from having a well-developedc emotional intelligence, for the individual and for the organization, make it worth the effort."

Those who wish to explore the subject in much greater depth are urged to check out two of Goleman's books: Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ (2003, co-authored with Boyatzis and McKee, and Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ (2005) as well as Emotional Intelligence 2.0 (2009), co-authored by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves.

Measuring The Success of Leadership Development: A Step-by-Step Guide for Measuring Impact and Calculating ROI
Measuring The Success of Leadership Development: A Step-by-Step Guide for Measuring Impact and Calculating ROI
by Patricia Pulliam Phillips
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 35.21
19 used & new from CDN$ 35.20

5.0 out of 5 stars How to quantify the effectiveness of almost any leadership development program, July 22 2015
All organizations need effective leadership at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. Developing leaders rather than hiring them away from other organizations is the best way to fill that need.

Given the importance of ROI, business leaders are under severe pressure to measure the progress - the success - of various organizational initiatives, including leadership development. In this volume, Patricia Pulliam Phillips, Jack J. Phillips, and Rebecca Ray explain how to do that. They offer a step-by-step guide: The ROI Methodology: A Credible Approach to Evaluating Your Leadership Development Programs. They collaborated on the first seven chapters, then:

Chapter 8: Phillips and Phillips
9: Lisa Parker and Caroline Hubble
10. Amy Happ and Kirk Smith
11. Patti Phillips
12. Jack Phillips
13. Hubble and Chris Kirchner

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 Top Executive View (Pages 3-5)
o Reasons for the Failures of Leadership Development Programs (8)
o High-Performance Culture and Measurement (13-14)
o The ROI Methodology (16-17)
o Selecting Programs for ROI Analysis (21-24)
o Achieving the Proper Alignment (27-35)
o Quantitative and Qualitative Inquiry (43-44)
o Isolating the Effects (61-67)
o Calculating the Return, and, Intangible Assets (72-77)
o The Joan Kravitz Story: Presenting the Results of an ROI Study to Senior Management (86-92)
o The Importance of Sustaining the ROI (97-98)
o Developing Roles and Responsibilities (99-101)
o Removing Obstacles (107-108)
o The Evaluation Approach (118-119)
o Evaluation Methodology (140-144)
o Evaluation Results (145-150)
o Program Description (181-182)
o The Evaluation Approach (183-184)
o Planning for Evaluation (206-209)
o Improving Response Rates (214)

I commend the co-authors and other contributors on how well they "set the table" (explaining the "what" and "why") in Part 1 for the material provided in Chapter II (Chapters 8-13): "Evaluation in Action Case Studies Describing the Evaluation of Leadership Development Programs." Readers have been well-prepared to absorb and digest the "how" of measuring leadership development in a variety of organizations. There are six mini-case studies of exemplars: Fashion Stores International, IAMGOLD Corporation, Global Manufacturing Company (GMC), Global Bank Inc., Global Engineering and Construction Company, and International Nonprofit Group.

However, obviously, as Patricia Pulliam Phillips, Jack J. Phillips, and Rebecca Ray would be the first to point out, it would be a fool's errand to attempt to apply all of insights and counsel in this material. It remains for each reader to determine which of the material provided in this volume is most relevant, not only to where the given organization is now (in terms of needs, resources, and strategic objectives) but also where it wishes to be in 18-24 months. The leaders being developed in weeks and months to come must be well-prepared to get the organization as is to what it must become in order to thrive in months and years to come.

Great Motivation Secrets of Great Leaders
Great Motivation Secrets of Great Leaders
by John Baldoni
Edition: Hardcover
22 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." John Quincy Adams, July 21 2015
Long ago I concluded that one person cannot motivate another person but it is possible to inspire another person to be self-motivated. This is not a matter of semantics; rather, of ownership. John Baldoni seems to be among those who agree. I read this book when it was first published (2005) and recently re-read it, curious to know how well John Baldoni's insights have held up since then. In my opinion, they are more valuable now than they were then, given the much greater importance that effective communication now has in a multi-cultural as well as multi-dimensional global marketplace.

These are the great leaders on whom Baldoni focuses, listed in alpha order:

Mary Kay Ash
Colleen Barrett
Crazy Horse
Colonel David Hackworth
Frances Hesselbein
Bob Hope
Earvin ("Magic") Johnson
Ronald Reagan
Paul Saginaw
Sir Ernest Shackleton
Pat Summit
Thich Nthat Hanh
Sam Walton
Ari Weinzweig

He shares a remarkably substantial amount of information about each. These are mini-profiles of exceptional substance. He matches each with an appropriate dimension of leadership (e.g. communication, innovation, inspiration, mindfulness, motivation) as its role model. In fact, most exemplify several. Hesselbein as a communicator, for example, or Johnson and Walton as an entrepreneur whose achievements can encourage others.

Clarification: If I understand Baldoni correctly (and I may not), the greatness of a leader is primarily based on what that person has inspired others to accomplish. That is precisely what Lao-tse has in mind in this passage from the Tao Te Ching:

"Learn from the people
Plan with the people
Begin with what they have
Build on what they know
Of the best leaders
When the task is accomplished
The people will remark
We have done it ourselves."

I have always admired John Baldoni's approach to the most important business challenges. He seems to possess what Ernest Hemingway once characterized as "a built-in-shock-proof crap detector." He has an insatiable curiosity to understand what works, what doesn't, and why. He is also determined (driven? obsessed?) to share what he learns with as many people as possible. To learn more about him and his work: http://www.johnbaldoni.com/.

Team Genius: The New Science of High-Performing Organizations
Team Genius: The New Science of High-Performing Organizations
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers CA
Price: CDN$ 17.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Not all teams can accomplish something great but they can be great, July 20 2015
One of Rich Karlgaard and Michael Malone's key insights is that work [begin italics] really gets done [end italics] by informal teams rather than by standing committees or groups assigned to formal projects of finite duration. Think in terms of high-impact collaboration that is often spontaneous and improvisational rather than initiated and supervised by senior management.

This is a mindset similar to what Roger Martin characterizes (in The Opposable Mind) as “integrative” thinking. Those who engage disciplined collaboration “take their organizations to higher levels of performance…know where the opportunities for collaboration exist and when to say no to lesser projects…avoid the trap of overestimating benefits and overcollaborating…tear down the barriers that separate their employees…set powerful and unifying goals and forge a value of teamwork…cultivate T-shaped management…help employees build nimble, not bloated, networks…look within themselves and work to change their own leadership styles…And in cultivating collaboration in the right way, they set their people free to achieve great things not possible when they are divided.”

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

o Apple (Pages 7-15 and 119-120)
o Hewlett-Packard (22-29)
o Diversity (65-91)
o Challenges of diversity (72-74)
o Leaders (92-100)
o Interdependance (94-98)
o Pairs (101-159)
o Darrell Anderson and the Bismarck High School cross country team (105-112)
o Magic Moment pairs (111-121)
o Chained-Together- by-Success pairs (121-124)
o Yin-and-Yang pairs (131-133)
o Remember-the-Force pairs (141-145)
o Distant-Idol pairs (143-149)
o Sword-and-Shield pairs (149-155)
o Andrew Grove (150-151 and 171-174)
o San Francisco 49ers and the West Coast offense (161-165)
o Controlled Randomness (162-164)
o Frank Chance and the Chicago Cubs (175-178)
o Creating and Managing trios (178-182)
o "Two Pizza" rule (188-189)
o George Washington (210-214 and (246-249)
o All Teams Have Life Cycles (215-235)
o "The Retirement and Death of Teams (236-250)

I wholeheartedly agree with Rich Karlgaard and Michael Malone's concluding remarks: "The teams in which we work, and the teams we lead, may not change the world. But they can make the world a better place, make our company (and everyone who depends on it) more successful and secure, and give ourselves and our teammates a more rewarding and fulfilling career. And most of all, we can increase the odds of our team's success. Given all of that, why shouldn't we want to apply the latest discoveries and experiences about teams to our own lives and careers? Why wouldn't we want to create and be part of a team of genius?"

It is no coincidence that most of the companies annually ranked among those that are most highly admired and best to work for are also annually ranked among those that are most profitable and have the greatest cap value in their industry. With rare exception, everyone involved in the given enterprise nourishes and strengthens a workplace culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive.

Each of the aforementioned companies, therefore, can be viewed as a team of organizational genius. If the same cannot be said about your workplace culture, you need to read this book and recruit as many other people as you can to read it, also. Then get together as a team and agree on what must be done.

If you doubt that much of value can be accomplished by these efforts, consider this observation by Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

MOXIE: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership
MOXIE: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership
by John Baldoni
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 27.99
19 used & new from CDN$ 21.49

5.0 out of 5 stars How to develop leadership qualities of being exceptionally mindful, opportunistic, innovative, empathic, and engaged, July 16 2015
As I began to work my way through John Baldoni's narrative, I was again reminded off a scene early in the Mary Tyler Moore Show series when Mary Richards (Moore) is being interviewed by Lou Grant (Ed Asner):

Grant: You know, Mary, you've got spunk.
Richards: Oh thank you, Mr. Grant.
Grant: I hate spunk!

Not everyone appreciates spunk or moxie but I agree with Baldoni that the most effectve leaders have it. The word may be derived from the brand name of a bitter, non-alcoholic drink, 1885; perhaps as far back as 1876 as the name of a patent medicine advertised to "build up your nerve." Baldoni interviewed a number of senior-level executives and shares much of what he learned from them in this book. As he explains, "Leaders with moxie are those who have competence to do their jobs, credibility to bring people together, and confidence to believe in themselves as well as in the strengths of others."

His focus is on an acronym: Mindfulness, Opportunity, X-factor, Innovation, and Engagement. Those leaders who put MOXIE into practice "are those who prepare themselves for the constancy of change and set an example for others to follow. Moxie then becomes a principle by which individuals can put their leadership selves into gear in order to accomplish a goal for themselves, their teams, and their organizations."

I presume to add that, whatever their size and nature may be, all organizations need effective leaders at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. Moreover, it is no coincidence that most of the companies annually ranked among the most highly admired and best to work for are also among the companies annually ranked as the most profitable with the greatest cap value in their industry.

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

o Mini-profile of Nelson Mandela (Pages 2-7)
o Self-Awareness, and, Self-Knowledge (7-11)
o State of Mindfulness (15-17)
o Mindful Leadership (18-19)
o Making the Most of Serendipity (26-27)
o Mini-profile of Ben Hogan (28-31)
o Facing Adversity, and, Leveraging Adversity (31-34)
o Making Things Happen: Three Case Studies (34-38)
o Mini-profile of Margaret Thatcher (53-56)
o Five Other Factors: Creativity, Intelligence, Compassion, Humor, and Ambition (60-71)
o Make the Most of a Challenge (78-80)
o Mini-profile of Sergio Marchionne (80-83)
o Obstacles to Innovation (83-85)
o Discipline of Innovation(87-88)
o Introverts Know How to Engage Others (100-102)
o Mini-profile of Dolly Parton (102-105)
o Engaging with Purpose (106-108)
o Engagement: The Leader's Responsibility (110-113)
o Mindful Engagement (115-116)
o Engage with Your Presence (119-120)
o Fostering Engagement (125-126)
o "Your Moxie Handbook: Making Moxie Work for You" (131-143)

In Leading with GRIT: Inspiring Action and Accountability with Generosity, Respect, Integrity, and Truth, Laurie Sudbrink explains that, in her research lab, she and her colleagues focus "on two traits that predict achievement: grit and self-control. Grit is the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals. Self-control is the voluntary regulation of behavioral, emotional, and attentional impulses in the presence of momentarily gratifying temptations or diversions. On average, individuals who are gritty are more self-controlled, but the correlation between these two traits is not perfect: Some individuals are paragons of grit but not self-control, and some exceptionally well-regulated individuals are not especially gritty." The same is true of moxie so beware of simplification and stereotyping.

Readers will appreciate Baldoni's skillful use of the "Closing Thought" section that appears at the conclusion of all five chapters. He also includes some formulae (e.g. "Innovation = Creativity + Application"), followed by "Leadership Questions" and "Leadership Directives" that serve two separate but related purposes: They facilitate the reader's interaction with key points, and, they facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of important material later.

Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the abundance of valuable information, insights, and counsel that Baldoni provides. However, I hope that I have at least indicated why I think so highly of this book.

One final point: You can't acquire moxie by reading a book but you can locate it within yourself and this book can help you do that. You already possess it. The challenge is to develop and enrich it. How? By sharing the experiences of high achievers whom John Baldoni interviewed, such as Donald Altman, Doug Conant, Chet Elton, Mark Goulston, Ryan Lance, and Rich Sheridan. They and other high achievers overcame all manner of problems with self-doubt, anxiety, and even terror. Most human limits are self-imposed. That is probably what Henry Ford had in mind when suggesting, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're probably right."

The choice is yours. It always has been.

The Mindful Marketer: How to Stay Present and Profitable in a Data-Driven World
The Mindful Marketer: How to Stay Present and Profitable in a Data-Driven World
by L. Nirell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 38.97
20 used & new from CDN$ 29.13

5.0 out of 5 stars How to create or increase demand by being totally engaged in a data-driven process of mindful service,, July 14 2015
Since the markets in ancient Athens and then Rome, there has been ferocious competition between and among merchants to attract and retain customers by creating or increasing demand for whatever is offered. I cannot recall a prior time when the competition was greater than it is today. Marketing has become both an art and a science.

Two forces are of special interest to me: customer-centrism that Barbara Bund introduced in The Outside-In Corporation: How to Build a Customer-Centric Organization for Breakthrough Results (2005) and data-driven marketing initiatives based on analytics that have the greatest appeal to the given demographic segment. (To learn much more about this, I suggest you check out two books by Tom Davenport: Analytics at Work: Smarter Decisions, Better Results, co-authored with Jeanne G. Harris, and Big Data at Work: Dispelling the Myths, Uncovering the Opportunities.) We have only begun to understand and appreciate the nature and extent of impact that these and other forces will have. They will indeed pose unique and formidable leadership challenges to marketers.

I agree with Lisa Nirrell: "In spite of the need for senior marketing leaders to become more tech savvy, data-driven, and strategic, many still feel as if they are playing second string in customer circles and the C-suite." Many feel that way because that really is how they are viewed. I especially agree with her as she observes, "We need empowered, energized CMOs [Chief Marketing Officers] to tap into their innate talents and teach stakeholders the power of building customer-centric communities...Every one of us who fulfills a marketing leadership role needs to find our [begin italics] Inner Marketing Guru [end italics] (IMG)."

Nirrell wrote this book primarily for those who are or aspire to become a marketing leader, if not a CMO. She correctly realizes that C-level executives are under tremendous pressure to determine the ROI of all organizational initiatives, including marketing. She explains how to make and then leverage that determination. (See her specific recommendations on Pages 140-143.) Much of the material in this book will also be valuable to CEOs, many (most?) of whom do not understand, much less appreciate, what the new marketing opportunities are, and, how best to take full advantage of them.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Nirell's coverage in the first 11 chapters:

o Trends and predators to monitor (Pages 3-10)
o Attention-grabbing strategies (14-15)
o Five indicators that leaders are headed to a Digital Intrusion Movement (20-23)
o Real-world examples of marketing initiatives that are inspiring (23-24)
o Three major obstacles marketing initiatives (28-30)
o Big data initiatives that can help improve customer experience (32-33)
o "How Vision Critical Helped NASCAR Ignite a Bigger Fan Footprint" (34)
o Some inherent limitations of big data-driven marketing initiatives (38-39)
o Four reasons for reducing multitasking from a logical perspective (53-54)
o Additional adjustments to reduce multitasking (56-57)
o How Buddhist precepts can be applied to a marketing mission (63-65)
o Three ideas to improve decision-making (66-67)
o Several body-centered awareness exercises to achieve mindfulness (70-73)
o Approaches to creating systems to mitigate remote field forces (92-93)
o Strategies to model "lights-on" behavior with other marketers (93-94)

I agree with Nirell that the future of marketing includes several trends that could have a profound impact. She identifies six (Pages 195-202):

1. Actionable data (i.e. the right data), not big data, will win.
2. The emergence of the "community economy"
3. It's no longer about you.
4. Agile goes viral.
5. Mind-sets get a front row seat on the marketing strategy stage.
6. Unplugged moments matter.

Lisa Nirrell then adds, "I remain nonattached to these 6 predictions. I really don't care how many people reading these insights agree with me. I simply encourage you to pursue the ones that make sense and discard the ones that do not. Somewhere within these insights lies your gold statue, your Inner Marketing Guru."

My own opinion is that the best decisions are based on the best information available, of course, but also in terms of what is most appropriate to the current realities and the given strategic objectives to be achieved. Here's a key question: "Insofar as creating or increasing demand for what we offer is concerned, what works, what doesn't, and - especially -- WHY?" If this book doesn't help to answer that question for your organization, there are other sources. For individuals as well as organizations, it is impossible to control everything that happens but it is possible control how one responds, hence the importance of preparation.

This is probably what Sun Tzu had in mind when suggesting in The Art of War that every battle is won or lost before it is fought. The same is now true of most marketing initiatives.

Great Communication Secrets of Great Leaders
Great Communication Secrets of Great Leaders
by John Baldoni
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 23.95
33 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." George Bernard Shaw, July 13 2015
I read this book when it was first published (2003) and recently re-read it, curious to know how well John Baldoni's insights have held up since then. In my opinion, they are more valuable now than they were then, given the much greater importance effective communication now has in a multi-cultural as well as multi-dimensional global marketplace.

These are the great communicators on whom Baldoni focuses, listed in alpha order:

Winston Churchill
Peter Drucker
Rudy Giuliani
Katherine Graham
Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Shelly Lazarus
Vince Lombardi
George C. Marshall
Harvey Penick
Colin Powell
Mother Teresa
Bill Veeck
Jack Welch
Oprah Winfrey

In Chapters 1-8 and 11-12, he devotes a separate chapter to one great communicator. He discusses two in Chapter 9 (Mother Teresa and Marshall) and in Chapter 10 (Lombardi and Penick). Yes, these are indeed odd couples and serve to illustrate one of Baldoni's key points: just as great leaders such as these 14 come in all shapes and sizes, each also has a unique communication style.

Just for fun, I came up with my own list of 14 other great communicators who were also leaders. They include Corazon Aquino, Mary Kay Ash, Warren Buffett, Walt Disney, Mohandas Gandhi, Billy Graham, Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King, Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Thatcher, Sam Walton, and John Wooden. Once again, they offer a wide variety of shapes and sizes in terms of personality and communication style. And they have mastered most of the skills examined and explained in this book.

That said, I agree with Baldoni that there are general lessons to be learned from those he discusses that can be of substantial value to leaders in almost any organization, whatever its size and nature may be. For example:

o Make it crystal clear what will be achieved and why it is important to everyone involved.
o Engage people's hearts and minds. Recruit cooperation and collaboration by asking the right questions and then listening carefully to what people share. Whenever possible, use only first-person plural pronouns.
o Effective leadership depends on accomplishing results through others' efforts. People need resources but they also need understanding to believe the given objective is worth their involvement. Always.
o Level with people. They deserve to know what the realities are.
o What you say and what you do should be seamless.
o Care and let others know it. If you don't care, why should they?

John Baldoni offers an abundance of information, insights, and counsel that can help almost any leader, indeed almost anyone, to become a much more effective communicator, not only in a business context but in almost any other situation in which there is a message to delivered. The 14 real-world examples invest the material with human relevance. It remains for each reader to read and (if possible) re-read the material, then select whatever is most relevant to the given circumstances and get to work mastering the skills needed.

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