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Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines
Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines
by Adam Toporek
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 24.95
12 used & new from CDN$ 17.89

5.0 étoiles sur 5 How to Create the Ultimate Customer Relationship, April 25 2015
I am amazed, frankly, that customer service today is worse than at any prior time I can remember. As a result, cordial as well as competent front liners - those who have direct and frequent contact with customers - are more important than ever before.

Major research conducted by highly reputable firms such as Gallup and Towers Watson reveal that when asked to rank what is most important to them, both employees and customers (in separate surveys) indicate that feeling appreciated is either #1 or #2 on their list. Moreover, in the same separate surveys, employees rank compensation and customers rank price somewhere between #7 and #12.

Years ago, Maya Angelou observed, "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." Presumably she did not have the aforementioned research in mind, but her comments eloquently emphasize the importance of being appreciated by those in need of your assistance, not only in the workplace but everywhere else as well.

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

o Be Proud, and Then Swallow Your Pride (Pages 15-17)
o Keep our Cool hen the Ball Comes at You (18-20)

Seven Customer Service Triggers to Avoid

o #1: Being Ignored (46)
o #2: Being Abandoned (47-49)
o How to Avoid Triggers #1 and #2 (50-54)
o #3: Being Hassled (55-57)
o #4: Being Faced with Incompetence (58-61)
o #5: Being Shuffled (62-65)
o #6: Being Powerless (66-67)
o #7: Being Disrespected (68-69)

o Team and Showtime Concept (78-79)
o Judge Not, Lest Ye Miss an Opportunity (109-111)
o Dealing with Upset Customers: "Let Them Punch Themselves Out" (174-177)
o Social Media (225-228)
o What Makes a Hero-Class Customer Experience? (229-232)
o Adopt the Mindset of a Hero (233-234)

What are the defining characteristics of Hero-Class Customer Mindset? In brief, "you have a desire to serve the customer and make her happy and you are willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen...Adopting a Hero-Class mindset also involves the ability to keep failure in perspective. As you begin integrating these tips and techniques into your customer care, you're going to fail on occasion. Either the technique won't work, or you'll fail to execute it properly. The key is not to let yourself get rattled when this happens, and not to let yourself lose faith in the techniques."

It would be a serious mistake to assume that the abundance of info0rmation, insights, and counsel provided by Adam Toporek will be of greatest value only to those who interact directly and frequently with customers or, if you prefer, clients. With all due respect to the great importance of front liners, this material (with only minor modification) can also be invaluable to communication, cooperation, and (especially) collaboration between and among those within the given enterprise. There are almost unlimited opportunities to provide what I characterize as "superior colleague service" or (if you prefer) "superior associate service."

In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill shares a simple but immensely important revelation. With introductions provided by Andrew Carnegie, Hill obtained lengthy interviews with 45 of the world's most successful businessmen at that time. They included Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell, and John D. Rockefeller. All agreed on one key to success. Here it is: "An important principle of success in all walks of life and in all occupations is a willingness to 'Go The Extra Mile,' which means the rendering of more and better service than that for which one is paid, and giving it in a positive mental attitude. Search wherever you will for a single sound argument against this principle and you will not find it, nor will you find a single instance of enduring success, which was not attained in part by its effective application."

Those who read this book will be well-prepared to go "Go The Extra Mile" for their customers in today's global marketplace but also for anyone else within and beyond their company. Adam Toporek provides everything they need. I urge them to develop the mindset, master the skills, and become a "Hero" before their competition does...and to keep in mind that there is always competition within as well as outside any organization.

The Road to Character
The Road to Character
by David Brooks
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 21.32
16 used & new from CDN$ 18.23

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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Here is a thoughtful and heartfelt affirmation of a "moral ecology" that can help all of us to cultivate stronger character, April 25 2015
This review is from: The Road to Character (Hardcover)
I have read and then reviewed most of David Brooks's previously published books and think this one is his most important, at least thus far, because it will have wider and deeper impact on the lives of more people than any of those previous books could.

He selected several dozen persons throughout mostly recent history who underwent a "journey of character development." He establishes a frame of reference within which to examine a tradition of moral realism, the "crooked timber" school of humanity, that began in biblical times. "This tradition, or worldview, put tremendous emphasis on sin and human weakness. This view was captured in the figure of Moses, the meekest of men who nonetheless led a people, and by biblical figures like David, who were great heroes, but deeply flawed."

Brooks makes brilliant use of two thematic metaphors: Adam I is wholly self-absorbed and self-serving, obsessed with gaining wealth, power, prestige, influence, etc.; Adam II experiences life as a moral drama who exemplifies Greenleaf's concept of a "servant leader," dedicated to making the world a better place by helping others.

In the Introduction, Brooks indicates that The Road to Character is about Adam II: "It's about how some people have cultivated strong character. It's about one mindset that people through the centuries have adopted to put iron in their core and to cultivate a wise heart." He then provides an arresting disclosure: I wrote it, to be honest, to save my soul."

For Bill George, Adam IIs follow their "True North," what Jim O'Toole characterizes as a "moral compass."

These are among the "journeys" that were of special interest and value to me:

o Frances Perkins (Pages) 33-43
o Dwight D. Eisenhower (48-73)
o Dorothy Day (74-104)
o George C. Marshall (105-129)
o A. Philip Randolph (130-152)
o Bayard Rustin (138-151)
o George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) 153-185
o Augustine of Hippo (Pages 203-206)
o Samuel Johnson (213-239)
o Miguel de Montaigne (228-234)

There are among the people "who have built a strong inner character, who have achieved a certain depth. In these people, at the end of this struggle, the climb to success has surrendered to the struggle to deepen the soul. After a life of seeking balance, Adam I bows down before Adam II. These are the people we are looking for."

And these are the people we should become. To those who share my high regard for this book, I recommend three others: David Whyte's The Heart Aroused, Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture, and Clayton M. Christensen's How Will You Measure Your Life?

Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World
Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World
by Donald Sull
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 21.94
27 used & new from CDN$ 17.66

5.0 étoiles sur 5 How and why simple rules help to accelerate personal growth and executive development, April 24 2015
First, I want to share two of my favorite quotations on the subject of simplicity. First, from Oliver Wendell Holmes: "I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity." And from Albert Einstein: "Make everything as simple as possible but no simpler."

Donald Sull and Kathleen Eisenhardt explain the power of simple rules in terms of several substantial benefits. Here are five.

1. They save resources, especially time and energy.
2. They can be adjusted the given circumstances.
3. They help to eliminate confusion and consequent hesitation.
4. They provide a framework within which to improvise.
5. They allow flexible collaboration, especially under duress.

I cannot recall a prior time that was more complicated and more stressful than it is today for people to meet all manner of obligations in all areas of their lives. Moreover, on average, each of us receives about 8,500 "messages" a day that compete for our attention. Sull and Eisenhardt cite Warren Weaver whose pioneer research in the field of complexity (much of it conducted at the Rockefeller Foundation) reveals several valuable insights. Sixty years ago, "Weaver argued that simple and uncertain problems have largely been solved, and that the greatest challenges of the future would be problems of complexity. He was right." I presume to add, in this context, that one of the greatest challenges now is to simplify the process by which to solve complex problems. This is what Jon Katzenbach has in mind when suggesting the most difficult challenges for change agents is to change how they think about change.

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

o The Discovery of Complexity (Pages 7-12)
o Simple Rules for a Complex World (12-17)
o Simple Rules Produce Better Decisions (32-38)
o Boundary Rules (50-57)
o Stopping Rules (62-70)
o How-To Rules (74-82)
Example How to Thrive in a Complex World
o Natural Selection (99-102)
o Distilling Scientific Knowledge (110-113)
o Studying Simple Rules in Action (121-124)
o Identify a Bottleneck (130-137)
o Craft the Simple Rules (137-144)
o Crafting Simple Rules That Work for You (151-155)
o Rules to Win Friends and Influence People (166-169)
Comment: If you are inauthentic, forget it. Phonies have nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.
o Crafting Better Simple Rules (173-180)
o How Simple Rules Improve (180-186)
o Changing the Vision, Changing the Rules (205-209)
o Changing the Bottlenecks, Rewriting the Rules (213-221)
o Overcoming the Barriers to Simplicity (224-227)

Those who read this book with appropriate care will soon realize that Sull and Eisenhardt are offering simple rules on how to formulate and then apply the simple rules needed to thrive in a complex world. I agree with them: "Fighting complexity is an ongoing battle that can wear us down. Disheartened, people tolerate complicated solutions that don't work, or cling to overly simplistic narratives ("Climate change is a myth," for example, or "Globalization is bad") that deny the interdependencies characterizing modern life. Simple rules can be a powerful weapon in this fight."

Whatever their size and nature may be, all organizations need to follow Einstein`s advice and make everything as simple as possible but no simpler. To achieve that worthy objective, organizations will need effective leadership at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. Donald Sull and Kathleen Eisenhardt wrote this book to open their eyes "to the myriad opportunities they have to tackle complexity with simplicity, and to provide concrete guidance on how to seize these opportunities." Almost all of the information, insights, and counsel they need are provided in this volume. Bravo!

The Power of Thanks: How Social Recognition Empowers Employees and Creates a Best Place to Work
The Power of Thanks: How Social Recognition Empowers Employees and Creates a Best Place to Work
by Eric Mosley
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 18.14
36 used & new from CDN$ 13.56

5.0 étoiles sur 5 How and why effective social recognition will help to accelerate personal growth and professional development, April 24 2015
Major research conducted by highly reputable firms such as Gallup and Towers Watson reveal that when asked to rank what is most important to them, both employees and customers (in separate surveys) indicate that feeling appreciated is either #1 or #2 on their list. Moreover, in the same separate surveys, employees rank compensation and customers rank price somewhere between #7 and #12. Years ago, Maya Angelou observed, "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." Presumably she did not have the aforementioned research in mind, but her comments eloquently emphasize the importance of recognition and appreciation, not only in the workplace but everywhere else as well.

Given the fact that, on average in a U.S. company, less than 30% of the workers are actively and productively engaged, social recognition is urgently needed to increase that percentage. Eric Mosley and Derek Irvine wrote The Power of Thanks to help leaders learn (a) how a "Positivity Dominated Workplace" creates and sustains a competitive advantage; also (b) that "a data-driven, proven and repeatable model for proactively managing culture." Their focus is on a system of practices and technologies they characterize as "Social Recognition®." In my opinion, this system (after only minor modifications) can be of substantial value to leaders in almost any organization, whatever its size and nature may be.

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

o Culture of recognition (Pages xi-xvi)
o Company culture (3-13)
o People-first workplace (15-25)
o How gratitude spreads value around (31-33)
o Employee engagement and appreciation (37-40)
o Culture and the Heroic Leader (45-47)
o Social Architecture (47-58)
o The Social Recognition Journey(60-81)
o "Social, Mobile, and 24/7" (83-102)
o "Building a Social Recognition Framework" (105-150)
o Designing a recognition program (112-117)
o "The Green Light List" (148-150)
o "Driving ROI and Business Results" (151-171)
o "Becoming a Best Place to Work " (155-157 and 160-161)
o "How Social Recognition Impacts HR" (173-184)

No brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to value of the info0rmation, insights, and counsel that Mosley and Irvine provide. However, I hope I have at least indicated why I hold their book in such high regard. In months and years to come, as the global marketplace rapidly expands and the workplace is redefined by multi-cultural values and aspirations, social recognition will be of even greater importance.

When sharing their thoughts about an uncertain future, Eric Mosley and Derek Irvine share these thoughts: Will predictive analytics ultimately make 100 percent accurate calls on who should work at what, where, and with whom in an organization? Human beings have a talent for defying predictions, and so `predict the future of prediction' is a dicey business. But creating a perfect crystal ball is impossible. People will always surprise you with their capacity to grow and change."

Hence the importance of establishing and then strengthening a system such as "Social Recognition®," one that combines stability and flexibility to ensure that business initiatives will be consistently innovative. In this context, I am reminded of Rodd Wagner's comments in his recently published book, Widgets: The 12 New Rules for Managing Your Employees As If They're Real People: "Your people are not your greatest asserts. 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 sharer with them, and the best part of being privileged to be a leader."

Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It
Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It
by Dorie Clark
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 19.44
26 used & new from CDN$ 16.36

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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Here's a practical game plan for breakthrough personal growth and professional development, April 21 2015
Frankly, Stand Out will probably be of little (if any) value to anyone who has no interest in accelerating the progress of their career, in spreading their own vision (if they have one), and in living the life they imagined...if indeed they can imagine a life other than the one they have now.

That said, if you are among those whose career is stalled or deteriorating, I think Dorie Clark has enough faith in what you can accomplish -- even if you don't -- to provide the information, insights, and counsel you need to achieve success, however you define it.

Clark wrote this book for people who are eager -- or at least willing to give a best effort -- to make a difference, to make a substantial contribution, and don't know how. She immediately challenges her reader: "You have something to say to the world. You have a contribution to make. Each of us has ideas that can reshape the world, in large ways and small...Whatever your issue, if you really want to make an impact, it's important for your voice to be heard...Few ever try -- and that is your competitive advantage. If you're willing to take the risk of sharing yourself and your ideas with the world, you're far ahead of the majority, who stay silent. You were meant to make an impact. Now is the time to start."

In my opinion, Clark does for individuals what Peter Drucker has done for organizations: Help them to identify and then fulfill potentialities in areas of greatest interest and value to them. Of course, Drucker worked with business executives, sharing his thoughts about how they could make better decisions as leaders and managers. And yes, the people that Clark works with, directly or indirectly, have a greater, more beneficial impact on their organizations than they otherwise would...or could. One man's opinion, I think Drucker thought in terms of institutions, primarily, such as an orchard, nursery, meadow, or garden; Clark seems more inclined to think, primarily, in terms of individual trees, bushes, plants, and flowers.

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

o Becoming a Recognized Expert (Pages 2-6)
o Making Thought Leadership Happen (10-13)
o What Assumptions Are We Making? (19-23)
o Your Niche: (34-49)
- Finding it
- Focusing on it
- Creating it
- Distinguishing Yourself in it
- Developing it
- Expanding it

Note: Clark's discussion of a person's niche reminds me of a portion of Cathy Guisewite's commencement speech at Michigan twenty years ago: "Take the classes, the friends, and the family that have inspired the most in you. Save them in your permanent memory and make a backup disk. When you remember what you love, you will remember who you are. If you remember who you are, you can do anything." I think it is also important to remember who you [begin italics] aren't [end italics].

o The Power of Research (52-57)
o Find the Hidden Story (57-61)
o Learning from Other Fields (69-73)
o Seeing Differently (76-80)
o Create an Overarching Network
o Creating Your Professional Development Group (102-105)
o Growing Your Network Through Interviews (106-113)
o Leveraging Your Affiliations (114-119)
o The Power of Blogging (124-131)
o Write a Book (140-146)
o Build a Connector (150-154)
o Create a Tribe (158-165)
Note: Seth Godin has a great deal of value to say about this in one of his bestselling books, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us (2008).
o Making Time for Reflection (176-179)
o Making the Effort (193-198)

This book is the result of all that Clark has learned from her wide and deep background. Keep in mind that she is the author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013) as well as Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It (Portfolio/Penguin, 2015). A former presidential campaign spokeswoman, she is a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Entrepreneur, and the World Economic Forum blog. Recognized as a "branding expert" by the Associated Press, Fortune, and Inc. magazine, Clark is a marketing strategy consultant and speaker for clients including Google, Microsoft, Yale University, Fidelity, and the World Bank.

She is an Adjunct Professor of Business Administration at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and a Visiting Professor for IE Business School in Madrid. She has guest lectured at Harvard Business School, the Harvard Kennedy School, Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, the Wharton School, the MIT Sloan School of Management, and more. She is a frequent guest on MSNBC and appears in worldwide media including NPR, the Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. You can follow her on Twitter @dorieclark and download her free 42-page Stand Out Self-Assessment Workbook.

I realized long ago that attitude is altitude: How high and far a person "flies" depends almost entirely on how determined they are to succeed, how willing they are to invest the time and effort as well as patience that are required. If that describes you, read and then re-read this book. Getting Dorie Clark involved in your life may be one of the best decisions you ever make.

Washington's Circle: The Creation of the President
Washington's Circle: The Creation of the President
by David S. Heidler
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 29.60
35 used & new from CDN$ 24.92

5.0 étoiles sur 5 How and why the creation of a new nation and of the leader it would need were not only related but interdependent., April 20 2015
As I worked my way through the first several chapters, I was again reminded of another president whose "circle" was as diversified and at times as volatile as George Washington's but at least our nation's 16th president had a governmental structure in place -- albeit threatened by secessionists -- and more options to consider and resources to work with. Abraham Lincoln's "team of rivals" struggled to preserve what Washington and his colleagues struggled to establish. David and Jeanne Heidler explain that Washington had a wide range of acquaintances but only some of them had a part "in the story of eight years in office and the making of the presidency beyond the man. As a consequence, the criteria for the circle should be obvious: These are the people who had close involvement in the nation's major events and who were intimately involved with Washington as a private and public figure during the opening years of the constitutional republic."

Two points need to be stressed. First, the leaders of the new nation had rejected a monarchy and had no prior experience any form of government headed by an elected leader. Also, neither George Washington nor anyone else was fully prepared to serve as that leader but he was clearly the best choice. He relied on his circle of advisors to help address the questions that needed to be answered and the problems that needed to be solved. That is the "story" the Heidlers tell and tell so well: how "an improbable Virginia farmer and his unlikely companions" saved the new nation from what seemed certain "crib death" to those elsewhere, "who required a crown and council for governance and prosperity, the people knowing their place as subjects, the imperium bound by the blood of royals, justified by a state-sanctioned church, and sustained by the sword."

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

o Tobias Lear (15-16, 182-183, and 222-223)
o John Adams (22-23, 254-255, 337-338, 395-396, and 419-420)
o Washington's appearance at the first inauguration (Pages 32-35)
o Discussion of James Madison (54-71)
o Alexander Hamilton (93-94, 147-148, and 341-342)
o Thomas Jefferson (56-57, 126-136, and 147-148)
o Henry Knox (164-169 and 422-423)
o Washington's tour of the South in 1791 (203-209)
o Edmund Randolph (231-233, 370371, and 428-429)
o George Mason 249-250 and 247-248)
o John Jay (314-316 and 345-346)
o Benedict Arnold's treachery (353-361 and 359-363)
o Marquis de Lafayette (356-363 and 427-428)
o Washington's character and personality (371-372 and 387-388)
o Opposition to Jay's Treaty (378-380)
o Washington's retirement and death (404-413)

By all accounts, George Washington was an exhausted man when he retired from public service for the third time. He was indeed, as Henry Lee III suggests in his eulogy, "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen." As for his circle, the Epilogue provides brief explanations of what happened to its most prominent members Washington's death on December 14, 1799, at Mount Vernon.

Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the abundance of information and insights that David Heidler and Jeanne Heidler provide in this volume. However, I hope I have at least indicated why I hold it in such high regard. They create a context, a frame-of-reference, within which to understand and appreciate a warrior/statesman whose "sense of duty was highly developed and his manner cordial but detached [and whose] contrasting elements of his temperament marked a special quality in George Washington, one that made his seemingly incongruous parts into a harmonious whole. Her was obsessed with exerting control but careful to avoid abusing the power that came with it." At least to me, the creation of a new nation and of the leader it would need were not only related but interdependent.

The Four Intelligences of the Business Mind: How to Rewire Your Brain and Your Business for Success
The Four Intelligences of the Business Mind: How to Rewire Your Brain and Your Business for Success
by Valeh Nazemoff
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 44.12
15 used & new from CDN$ 24.88

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Four areas in which business leaders need to declutter, simplify, collaborate, communicate, and strategize better, April 20 2015
In Tales from Both Sides of the Brain: A Life in Neuroscience, Michael S. Gazzaniga shares and explains the results of major research in cognitive neuroscience in recent years. I was especially interested in these key points: Both sides of the brain constantly interact while retaining their separate unique functions, the brain is prewired in many different ways, and -- according to Gazzaniga -- "the processes of underlying behavior, cognition, and even consciousness itself are highly modular and work in parallel." If the mind is what the brain does, then the human brain has even more and more significant capabilities than once believed. Consider Howard Gardner's concept of multiple intelligences.

With Erik Hille, Valeh Nazemoff has created what amounts to a primer for business executives on how to rewire their brain and, in process, rewire the business enterprise with which they are associated. She focuses on fore core areas where Transformation Intelligence has the greatest impact:

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

o The Four Essential Transformational Intelligences for Businesses (Pages 3-4)
o he Executive Function of the Brain (5-8)
o The Four Essential Transformational Intelligences for Change (14-16)
o Neuroeconomics (17-24)
o Financial Intelligence (25-29)
o Re-Purpose Customer Intelligence (30-31)
o Customer Intelligence (38-39)
o Habits (43-45)
o Behavior and Predictive Analytics (45-47)
o How the Brain Perceives Visual Information (54-58)
o Opening Mind (73-77)
o Window of Possibilities, and, Recognizing Patterns (84-87)
o Delta of Possibilities (91-92)
o Strategy Mapping, and, Ingredients of a Strategy Map (96-106)
o The Output of a Strategy Map (111-113)

In m y opinion, what we have in this volume is a 113-page primer on the basics of organizational and individual transformation. Obviously, need to have highly developed intelligence (both cognitive skills and reliable information) in four separate but related areas: finance, customer relationships, data, and what she characterizes as "mastermind" (on innovation) within a workplace culture in which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive.

To those in need of much greater development of these basic concepts, I highly recommend these three sources:

Management Rewired: Why Feedback Doesn't Work and Other Surprising Lessons from the Latest Brain Science
Charles Jacobs

Beyond Performance Management: Why, When, and How to Use 40 Tools and Best Practices for Superior Business Performance
Jeremy Hope and Steve Player

Beyond Performance: How Great Organizations Build Ultimate Competitive Advantage
Scott Keller and Colin Price

Getting There: A Book of Mentors
Getting There: A Book of Mentors
by Gillian Zoe Segal
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 17.61
28 used & new from CDN$ 16.49

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5.0 étoiles sur 5 "When you remember what you love, you will remember who you are [and then] you can do anything." Cathy Guisewite, April 15 2015
I checked the etymology of the word "mentor" from a few reliable sources. Here is what I learned: "wise advisor," 1750, from Greek Mentor, friend of Odysseus and adviser of Telemachus (but often actually Athene in disguise) in the Odyssey; perhaps ultimately meaning "adviser," because the name appears to be an agent noun of mentos "intent, purpose, spirit, passion" from Proto-Indo-European lexicon (PIE) mon-eyo- (cognates: Sanskrit man-tar- "one who thinks," Latin mon-i-tor "one who admonishes." The classic definition, then, combines several of the functions of what we would today call a teacher, coach, mentor, and supervisor.

Gillian Zoe Segal has gathered contributions from thirty prominent persons -- including Warren Buffett, Anderson Cooper, Wendy Kopp, J. Craig Venter, Helene Gayle, and Michael Bloomberg -- who, channeling a 12th century French monk, Bernard of Chartres -- generously share their thoughts and feelings about the "giants" on whose shoulders they have stood. As Segal well realizes, these same contributors are themselves giants who now provide their shoulders to countless others. I commend her on her organization and presentation of an abundance of information, insights, and counsel. It is a brilliant achievement.

Segal makes brilliant use of a reader-friendly device at the conclusion of each chapter: insertion of a few "Pearls." Here in Dallas near the downtown area, there is a Farmer's Market at which merchants offer slices of fresh fruit as samples of their wares. In that spirit, I now present a few brief "pearls" of wisdom from the "necklace" co-created by the 30 contributors throughout the book's lively narrative.

"Reputation is very important. I ask the managers of my companies to judge every action that they take not just by legal standards (which, of course, is the first test) but also by what I call the 'newspaper test.' How would they feel about every given action if they knew it would show up the next day in their local paper, written by a smart but kind of unfriendly reporter and read by their families, friends, and neighbors? If it passes that test, it's okay. If anything is close to the line, it's out." Warren Buffett (Page 20)

"I tell journalism students there are three main steps to take: First, figure out what gets your adrenalin going. Next, figure out a way to make a career out of your passion. And finally, outwork everyone around you. (Come in earlier, leave later, and volunteer for everything that others don't want to do. Don't wait to be asked to do something. Take it upon yourself and do it.) But you're only going to be able to outwork others if you're genuinely passionate about what you are doing. Otherwise, it's going to feel like, 'Why do I want to stay late when I could go out with my friends?' When you're much more interested in what you're doing than going out for a drink with friends, you've found your bliss." Anderson Cooper (Page 43)

"Understanding your strengths and weaknesses can take a long time and can even be a painful process, but it's one of the most important things to do in life. I feel fortunate to have found a career that I am passionate about and am thankful that I allowed myself to switch course and dedicate myself to this new path. But the lesson to take away from my story is not to change paths the moment you discover something's difficult for you. [Note: Many young people have no interest in anything that isn't "fun."] If you give up at first blush, you'll never succeed at anything because nothing worth doing is easy. Give whatever you do your full effort, but at the same time keep your eyes open. If you discover, even by accident, what you're truly spectacular at and can pursue it, I recommend doing so." Nitin Nohria (Page 107)

"It's essential to strike the right balance between confidence and humility. If you don't have enough confidence in the rightness of your pursuit, you'll give up too easily. But you must also have enough humility to recognize your own limitations and be receptive to learning from others. When I started Teach For America, I knew I didn't have any experience in what I was setting out to accomplish so I had a very open mind and looked for help and advice from all quarters. You have to have an ethic of continuous improvement. It's almost impossible to get everything perfectly right out of the gate." Wendy Kopp (Page 128)

With all due respect to the importance of self-help, here is a wealth of practical wisdom provided by a variety and diversity of sources. What they share can be of incalculable value, especially to school, college, and university students who now prepare for a career or to others who have only recently embarked upon one.

Gillian Zoe Segal also stresses another, equally important point, one to which the title of one of Marshall Goldsmith's recent books refers: "What got you here won't get you there." I presume to add that whatever got you here won't even let you remain here in months and years to come. That applies to individuals as well as to organizations. Getting there, wherever and whatever ""there" may be, obviously requires a determination to sustain continuous improvement, guided and informed by the knowledge and wisdom provided in this volume.

If you are in need of an appropriate gift for a school, college, or university student or recent graduate, look no further.

Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone
Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone
by Mark Goulston
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 15.64
29 used & new from CDN$ 12.88

5.0 étoiles sur 5 "There is a significant difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak." Simon Sinek, April 14 2015
Note: This review is of the paperbound edition, published in March 2015.

The communication process that Mark Goulston introduces in this book (first published in 2010) can help almost anyone get to almost anyone else who would be otherwise inaccessible. Dorothy and her friends were advised to follow the yellow brick road. Goulston advises his reader to follow the five-step 'persuasion cycle.' There won't be any flying monkeys to worry about but there may be distractions so focus on the basic nine rules he identifies and master the twelve 'quick techniques' he recommends.

In essence, this is how the process should go: Convert the given person(s) from (1) resisting to listening, (2) from listening to considering, (3) from considering to willing to do, (4) from willing to do to doing it, and (5) from doing it to being glad they did'and will continue to do so.

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

o The Persuasion Cycle (Pages 7-10)
o The Secret: Getting Through Is Simple (10-13)
o Amygdala Hijack and the Death of Rational Thought (16-17)
o Mirror Neurons (19-23)
Note: You may wish to check out Gregory Hickock's The Myth of Mirror Neurons: The Real Neuroscience of Communication and Cognition.
o How Well Do You Know the People You Know? (41-43)
o Why Does "Feeling Felt" Change People? (48-51)
o The "Interesting" Jackass (57-59)
o Don't Just Act Interested -- Be Interested (59-63)
o Moving a Person Away from Distress (70-71)
o The Perils of Corporate Dissonance (83-85)
o Show Them Your Neck (89-93)
o Needy People (95-98)
o Bullies (99-102)
o Narcissists, and, Psychopaths (103-106)
o The Empathy Jolt: How It Works, and, When to Employ It (126-129)
o The Comeback Kid (153-154)
o Negotiating Versus Relating (156-159)
o The Never Again Tool (173-174)
o "Thank You" Versus the Power Thank You (181-183)
o Three Stages: Visibility, Credibility, and Profitability (201-203)
o The Six-Step Pause (213-214)
o Reach the Gatekeepers (218-220)

Goulston is a keen student of human nature. His insatiable curiosity drives him to understand what works, what doesn't, and why in especially complicated human relationships. (He also wrote two books to help people get out of their own way.) In Section I, he includes a remarkably substantial briefing on what can be learned from research in neuroscience that helps to explain how to convert people from 'No' to 'Yes.' He introduces and discusses each of the aforementioned nine 'rules' in Section II, then shifts his attention in Section III to 12 'Easy-to-Use Tools for Achieving Buy-In and Getting Through.' For those involved with a change management team, the material; in this section (all by itself) is worth far more than the cost of buying a copy of Just Listen for every member of the team.

Much of the material in the fourth and final section will probably have much wider relevance than the others do because Goulston shares his thoughts about how to manage effectively seven especially challenging situations. Almost all of those who read this book will have encountered each of them at least once and perhaps several times. For example, 'the team from hell' in Chapter 24 and 'the narcissist at the table.' I also highly recommend Chapter 29, 'Getting Through to Yourself' which, in my opinion, should be added to the Foreword or at least relocated into Section I.

I now presume to offer these suggestions.

1. Read 'Getting Through to Yourself' first (Pages 209-214), then proceed through the narrative.

2. Highlight key passages during a second reading and review those passages later in combination to the 'Usable Insight' and 'Action Step' devices with which ark Goulston concludes each chapter in Sections II-IV.

3. Keep a lined notebook near at hand. My preference is the MEAD 'marble' but any other will do. Be sure to record comments, questions, and suggestions as you read. Your notes will be far more reliable than your memory.

4. Continue to record notes when you begin to apply what you have learned from the book.

5. After about 3-5 months, re-read the book and then what you have recorded in your notebook.

Then contact Mark Goulston at the e-mail address provided on Page 234. Provide an update on whatever is of greatest interest to you. For example: the material in the book that has proven most valuable to you'and why; the biggest challenges you have encountered when applying what you learned from the book'and how you responded to those challenges; and perhaps, what you haze learned about yourself since reading/re-reading the book and then putting at least some of the material to work. Trust me, he will be delighted to hear from you.

Widgets: The 12 New Rules for Managing Your Employees as if They're Real People
Widgets: The 12 New Rules for Managing Your Employees as if They're Real People
by Rodd Wagner
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 23.91
17 used & new from CDN$ 21.71

5.0 étoiles sur 5 How to create “the ultimate employee experience”, April 14 2015
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."

Brenda Kowske was the principal researcher on the "New Rules" studies in 2013 and 2014. The information and insights those studies generated reveal the best metric s for determining what she characterizes as "the ultimate employee experience." Rodd Wagner wrote this book based on what he learned from these and other research studies. Of special interest and value to him are the New Rules of Engagement℠ and the New Rules Index (BI Worldwide). As he explains, "Call them the New Rules of Engagement. They address issues of individualization, fearlessness, pay, well-being, and enjoyment of time on the job." They reflect what leaders and managers need to know about transparency, meaning, employees' perceptions of their future, and recognition. They distinguish real collaboration from platitudes about teamwork, and democratization from the old suggestion box. They show how critical it is for employees to have the chance to do something incredible. They inoculate against widgetry. They are the company investments that create employee intensity."

Wagner and his research team associates identified the continuous range of New Rules levels in four groups: Demoralized, Frustrated, Encouraged, and Energized. (The defining characteristics of each are best revealed within Wagner’s narrative, in context.) Wagner offers this book as a guide to better understanding human nature on the job and to understanding each of the New Rules that emerged from the team's extensive and intensive research. It's a guide for ferreting out and fixing all the ways your company treats its people like widgets" rather than as human beings.

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

o The Widget worldview (Pages 1-9, 76-79, and 165-167)
o Burnout (4-5, 31-32, and 69-73)
o Reciprocal employees and mutual trust (14-15, 20-21, and 30-31)
o Competition for talent (16-17, 41-42, and 60-65)
o Great Recession (17-21, 48-50, and 227-228)
o Good health (67-79 and 225-226)
o Coolness (81-94)
o BI Worldwide (91-94)
o Meaningful work (109-122)
o Future orientation (123-135 and 227-228)
o Employee recognition and appreciation (137-114)
o Collaboration (149-162)
o Participatory work environment (163-174)
o Extreme activities (175-188)
o Employee engagement (191-192)
o Happiness (203-210)
o Methodology for the New Rules (212-233)

With regard to the 12 New Rules, they are best revealed within the narrative, in context. However, I want to devote some attention now to a few of Wagner's key points. Just as BMW endeavors to build "the ultimate driving machine," he and his colleagues set out to build a survey instrument that measured the ultimate employee experience. He believes that organizational surveys "are the most cost-effective and accessible method [among several] for learning the levels and drivers of employee engagement." The research team completed this four-step process:

1. Create Survey Statements with which respondents agree or disagree using a relative scale.
2. Choosing Survey Respondents (see Pages 215-217)
3. Collecting Information
4. Analyzing the Data

The 12 New Rules are based on responses from approximately 7,000 employees in the US, UK, Canada, Brazil, Latin America, China, and India.

Obviously, no brief commentary of mine could possibly do full justice to the nature and extent of information, insights, and counsel that Rodd Wagner provides. However, I hope I have at least indicated why I think so highly of this book. Whatever their size and nature they may be, all organizations need to establish and then nourish a culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive. In other words, one that offers "the ultimate employee experience." I wholly agree with his concluding comments that also serve as the conclusion of this review:

"Your people are not your greatest asserts. 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 sharer with them, and the best part of being privileged to be a leader."

I also highly recommend an earlier work, 12: The Elements of Great Managing, that Rodd co-authored with Jim Harter, published by Gallup Press (2006).

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