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Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas)

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Collaboration Begins with You: Be a Silo Buster
Collaboration Begins with You: Be a Silo Buster
by Ken Blanchard
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 20.65
35 used & new from CDN$ 19.35

5.0 étoiles sur 5 We have met the enemy and he is us.' Pogo the Possum, Nov. 16 2015
In Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Build Common Ground, and Reap Big Results, Morten Hansen asserts, "Bad collaboration is worse than no collaboration." Why? Here are two of several reasons. First, bad collaboration never reaps "big" or even favorable results; worse yet, bad collaboration makes good collaboration even more difficult to plan and then achieve. With regard to "traps," Hansen identifies six in the first chapter and then suggests that there are three steps to disciplined collaboration. That is, the "the leadership practice of properly assessing when to collaborate (and when not to) and instilling in people both the willingness and the ability to collaborate when required." These are the three steps: (1) evaluate opportunities, and when making a decision, asking "Will we gain a great upside by collaborating?"; (2) identify barriers to collaboration, next asking "What are the barriers blocking people from collaborating well?"; and (3) tailor solutions to tear down the barriers, keeping in mind that different barriers require different solutions.

Ken Blanchard, Jane Ripley, and Eunice Parisi-Carew use the business narrative (story format) to dramatize a number of key points. The details of the story are best revealed in the book, in context. These points include:

o Personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive in a culture of collaboration.
o Mutual trust and respect are essential to effective collaboration.
o There must be a shared commitment to the given objective(s) by everyone involved
o There must also be personal accountability.
o Communication and cooperation must be open and transparent if collaboration is to succeed.

Silos are containers that were created long ago to store grain. The word was appropriated (probably by a management consultant) to be used as an extended metaphor for hoarding information. Blanchard, Ripley, and Parisi-Carew have no quarrel with the agricultural use of silos but insist -- and I agree -- that silos in any human community cause all kinds of problems for those who reside in them as well as for those who are excluded. They explain how to "bust" a silo by changing an attitude, a mindset, and -- as is so often the case -- it begins with one's own. They include an especially valuable "Self Assessment: How Collaborative Do You Think You Are?" (Pages 137-148) so that those who read the book can look at themselves as a collaborative leader or individual contributor.

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out Hansen's aforementioned book as well as two others: Michael Lee Stallard's Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy, and Understanding at Work and Team Genius: The New Science of High-Performing Organizations co-authored by Rich Karlgaard and Michael S. Malone.

Zone to Win: Organizing to Compete in an Age of Disruption
Zone to Win: Organizing to Compete in an Age of Disruption
by Geoffrey a. Moore
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 34.50
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 How to thrive amidst perils and pitfalls in the global marketplace that are only visible through the 'lens of zone management", Nov. 13 2015
I have read and reviewed all of Geoffrey Moore's previous six books. In my opinion, Zone to Win is his most valuable (thus far) because I think it will have wider and deeper impact than have any of its predecessors. Its insights are relevant to almost any organization, whatever its size, nature, and history may be.

This is what Marc Benioff has in mind, in the Foreword, when explaining that zone management" is about dividing and conquering, establishing in dependent zones, each with what at Salesforce we call a V2MOM -- Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles, and Measures...Zone to Win is the playbook for building enterprises that reach escape velocity -- orienting to the future and avoiding the inertial pull of the past. It's the playbook for just surviving but succeeding in today's disruptive, connected, fast-paced world."

Moore makes clever use of an extended metaphor from the gridiron, offensive and defensive coordination. As he explains, "making the number on the back of the established lines of defense" is a painfully wasteful response to waves of new opportunity. "This brings us to the heart of the crisis of polarization: At the core you must deliver on two conflicting objectives. On the one hand, you must maintain your established franchises for the life of their respective business models, adjusting to declining revenue growth by optimizing for increasing earnings growth...At the same time, every decade or so you must get your company into one net new line of business that has exceptionally high revenue growth."

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

o Zone Offense and Zone Defense defined (Page 11)
o Crisis of prioritization (14-18, 22-23, and 30-32)
o Emerging categories (18-23, 41-42, and 91-92)
o Business model disruption (26-27)
o Zone management (30-31, 48-50, and 126-127
o Sustaining innovation versus disruptive innovation (36-38)
o Productivity zone initiatives (40-41)
o Performance zone and matrix (62-66)
o Best practices (67-68 and 87-89)
o Productivity zone (85-87)
o Incubation zone (100-103)
o Role of the CEO (106-108 and 122-123)
o Transportation zone (119-121)
o Incubation zone (100-103)
Note: Moore discusses each of the zones in much greater depth. These are page references to a brief overview.
o Zoning to Win at Salesforce and Microsoft: Two mini-case studies: (133-158)

Organizations that survive and thrive are well-prepared to attack whenever and whatever new opportunities develop but also to defend themselves against attacks whenever and wherever they occur in the given competitive marketplace. I invoke football nomenclature when stressing the importance of controlling the ball (i.e. "moving the chains") while scoring as many points as possible, then regaining possession of the ball as quickly as possible, thereby preventing an opponent from scoring. There really are valid correlations between the business world and the gridiron.

For C-level executives to organize to compete in the Age of Disruption, where to begin? "The strategic plan is as good a place to start as any, with a specific focus on how best to allocate resources across three investment horizons. Each horizon is defined in terms of when the return on that investment will be realized" during (1) the coming year, (2) in 2-3 years, and (3) in 3-5 years. "In this model, the only tangible returns come from Horizon 1."

With regard to the most common mistakes when organizing to compete in the Age of Disruption, Moore focuses on a series of steps to take: Fund the initiative out of only one zone, lock in the performance matrix, activate the productivity zone, fence off the incubation zone, determine the status of the transformation zone and proceed accordingly.

As Marc Bennioff's previously cited comments suggest, "Zone to Win is the playbook for building enterprises that reach escape velocity -- orienting to the future and avoiding the inertial pull of the past. It's the playbook for just surviving but succeeding in today's disruptive, connected, fast-paced world."

The Serpent observes in George Bernard Shaw's play, Back to Methuselah (1921): 'I hear you say 'Why?' Always 'Why?' You see things; and you say 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say 'Why not?'' In Zone to Win as in his previous work and will in other books yet to be written, Geoffrey Moore thoroughly explains HOW.

Rocket: Eight Lessons to Secure Infinite Growth
Rocket: Eight Lessons to Secure Infinite Growth
by Michael J. Silverstein
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 27.70
37 used & new from CDN$ 21.20

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Here are 16 mini-case studies that demonstrate the physics of accelerated commercial growth, Nov. 11 2015
I think this book's subtitle is a tad overcooked (promising 'infinite growth') but the eight lessons are eminently sound, based on the Boston Consulting Group's decades of real-world experience with hundreds of organizations. The abundance of information, insights, and counsel provided is 'dedicated to the proposition that mere mortals can create immortality. You can build a brand that lasts forever. You can grow faster than your rivals. To do this, however, you need to understand the theory that a very few people -- the very few focused consumers -- create most of the value in any business.' They are the 'fuel' on which the 'propulsion' of any organization depends.

Years ago, Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell co-authored a book in which they explain how to create what they characterize as 'customer evangelists. This is what Michael Silverstein, Dylan Bolden, Rune Jacobsen, and Rohan Sajdeh have in mind when observing that if you have loyal customers, 'and you turn them into your apostles, they will spread the word about you, and they will, propel you to growth.' That, in essence, is the physics of commercial growth. The equation is '2/20/80: 2 percent of your customers directly contribute 20 percent of your sales and drive 80 percent of the total volume by their recommendations.'

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

o The Interview: How Howard Schultz Applies the Eight Branding Rules at Starbucks (Pages xiv-xvii)
o Eight Branding Rules (xxi-xxv)
o Schismogenesis: Why Brands Fail (xxix-xxxii)
Note: From Gregory Bateson: "progressive differentiation through culture contact."
o Headline: Let Your Curiosity Rule -- And Then Reinvent (5-8)
o Lessons from Victoria's Secret (17-19)
o Headline: Fanatical Fans Create the Bedrock for a Successful Brand (23-24)
o Headline: The Lessons of Whole Foods Market (35-38)
o Search for What Really Drives Consumer Choice (50-51)
o Headline: The Loyalty Factor: Reward Converts with Experiences Worth Sharing (74-76)
Note: People are far more inclined to share memorable experiences (especially bad ones) than anything else.
o Headliner: Branding Doesn't Mean a Logo on Every Item (Unless It's a Swoosh], but Rather a Distinctive Look (86-88)
o The Disney Company (93-95)
o Zappos (105-107, 110-114, and 117-119)
o Headline: Happy Employees Create Happy Customers, and Fun at Work Makes the Difference in Attitude and Morale (108-110)
o Headline: Use a Common Phrase as the Point of Engagement and the Decision Point on What the Right Answer Is -- The Golden Rule
o Note: At the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, it is "We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen"
o Headline: Screen, Train, and Enable Your Team (123-126)
o Headline: The Digital World Is Real, Not Virtual (135-136)
o Headline: The Lessons of Amazon (140-142)
o Headline: Help Your Customers Dream, and Then Fulfill Their Dreams (148-149)

I share Silverstein, Bolden, Jacobsen, and Sajdeh's high regard for The Container Store and its foundation principles:

1. One great person equals three good people.
2. Communication is leadership.
3. Fill the other guy's basket to the brim ' making money becomes an easy proposition.
4.The best selection, service, and price.
5. Intuition does not come to the unprepared mind ' you need to train before it happens.
6. 'Man in the Desert' selling.

Note: According to The Container Store's co-founder and CEO, Kip Tindell, his people must be 'solution-based' rather than 'items-based.' Solve each customer's entire problem rather than an immediate need: A man in the desert needs more than a glass of water. He also needs 'a hat, an umbrella, some lotion, some slippers, a chair, an ice machine ' and maybe even a margarita!' '

Please see 'Headline: Build a Culture Your Customers and Employees Can Identify With, and Write Down and Write Down and Memorize a Set of Foundation Principles,' Pages 38-40. Also, check out Tindell's book, Uncontainable: How Passion, Commitment, and Conscious Capitalism Built a Business Where Everyone Thrives.

7. Generate an air of excitement with a 'memorable shopping experience' as well as 'a solution that is beautiful and functional.'

With only minor (if any) modification, these seven 'foundation principles' can serve as a 'launching pad' for marketing and sales initiatives that can be invaluable for almost any organization, whatever its size and nature may be.

I also commend the co-authors on their brilliant use of several reader-0friendcly devices that include 'The Chapter in a Box' and 'Chapter Overview' as well as boxed mini-commentaries, mini-interviews of CEOs, and mini-case studies; corporate profiles; and 'Some Key Action Points' at the conclusion of each chapter. These and other devices will help to facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of key material later.

Michael Silverstein, Dylan Bolden, Rune Jacobsen, and Rohan Sajdeh provide an abundance of information, insights, and counsel that can be of incalculable value to leaders in any organization, whatever its size and nature may be. However, that said, having a sufficient number of "apostles" among the workforce is at least as important as having apostles among one's customers. All organizations that achieve and then sustain profitable growth have both. Years ago, Southwest Airlines' then chairman and CEO, Herb Kelleher, was asked to explain the "secret sauce" of his company's success. He replied, "We take great care of our people. They take great care of our customers. And our customers then take great care of our shareholders."

With all due respect to the importance of the great leaders discussed in this book such as Jeff Bezos, Brunello Cucinelli, Tony Hsieh, John Mackey, Howard Schultz, Chip Tindell, and Les Wexner, it is also important to keep in mind this brief passage in Lao-tse's 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."

Inflection Point: How the Convergence of Cloud, Mobility, Apps, and Data Will Shape the Future of Business
Inflection Point: How the Convergence of Cloud, Mobility, Apps, and Data Will Shape the Future of Business
by Scott Stawski
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 58.99
19 used & new from CDN$ 48.78

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Strategic inflection point: "When a company's fundamentals are about to change significantly, for better or worse." Andy Grove, Nov. 10 2015
It was Andy Grove who introduced me to the inflection point, "an event or a series of interrelated events that result in the progress of a company, an individual, a section, an industry, or even a nation." It is a process of natural selection as Charles Darwin explains it. In The Evolution of Everything, Matt Ridley defines it as a change in human instructions, artifacts and habits that is incremental, inexorable, and inevitable. "It follows a narrative, going from one stage to the next; it creeps rather than jumps; it has its own spontaneous momentum, rather than being driven from outside; it has no goal or end in mind; and it largely happens by trial and error ' a version of natural selection." Inflection points bear some resemblance to what Michael Kami describes as "trigger points." They also have a role to play during what Joseph Schumpeter describes as "creative destruction." Perhaps the best correlation is with Thomas Kuhn's concept of "paradigmatic shift."

Of course, Scott Stawski is well-aware of this background to the abundance of information, mini-case studies, insights, and counsel he provided in this book while explaining how leaders can help their organizations to prepare for and benefit from "the convergence of cloud, mobility, apps, and data [that] will shape the future of business." In fact, that future has already arrived. Stawski examines several trends that are converging to create "a major storm -- or inflection point -- today...This inflection point requires ultimate business flexibility. In order to succeed, a company must be driven by its core competencies and powered by a continual transformation environment that allows it the flexibility to innovate and achieve competitive advantage in its dynamic environment"

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Stawski's coverage in Chapters 1-9:

o What Is the Difference between Trend and Inflection Point? (Pages 14-16)
o Disintermediation Will Continue and Accelerate (17-25)
o "How the New Style of IT Thwarts the Wrong Type of Disintermediation -- Counterfeiting" (33-37)
o Core Competency (44-46)
o Competitive Advantage (46-50)
o Continual Transformation Environment (50-53)
o The Three Foundation Principles Working Together (54-60)
o Newco Versus Oldco (74-75)
o Return on Invested Capital (75-78)
o "Divestiture Provides Del Monte Opportunity for Continual Transformation Environment" (81-86)
o What Is Cloud Computing? (93-94)
o Cloud Deployment Models (97-102)
o Cloud Computing Standards (104-106)
o "Who Coined the Term Cloud Computing?" (107-110)
o The Mobile Explosion (116-118)
o "City of Anaheim Develops Innovative Mobile Applications" (122-125)
o The Enterprise App Store (138-143)
o Big Data (145-150)
o Big Data and the Internet of Everything (150-152)
o Who Gets and Who Doesn't Get Big Data (154-157)

I agree with Stawski that there are three foundation principles working together: core competencies, cumulative advantage, and continued transformation environment. I also agree that disintermediation will continue and accelerate and that change at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise will be the only constant. The three foundation principles identify the WHAT. The greatest challenges for business leaders will be to determine the most appropriate HOW and meanwhile maximize workforce engagement with a compelling WHY.

Here in this one volume, Scott Stawski provides just about everything almost any C-level executive needs to know in order to help lead their organization through the perilous and disruptive months and years that lie ahead. Mike Nefkens' observations in the Foreword to serve as a conclusion to this brief commentary: "We are in the midst of a major market disruption. Cloud, mobility, big data, and security are converging, and how enterprises respond will determine success or failure. Turning game-changing ideas into value faster than competitors is no longer a nice goal to have -- it is the only way to survive and thrive."

Pope Francis Among the Wolves: The Inside Story of a Revolution
Pope Francis Among the Wolves: The Inside Story of a Revolution
by Marco Politi
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 24.87
38 used & new from CDN$ 21.97

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5.0 étoiles sur 5 A brilliant examination of Pope Francis' efforts to cleanse the Church of Rome despite subtle but substantial opposition, Nov. 9 2015
In this volume, translated by William McCuaig, Marco Politi provides what is described as an “inside story of a revolution" waged by an Argentine cardinal, Jose Mario Bergoglio, who was elected Pope of the Roman Catholic Church in March 2013. With regard to the book's title, Politi recalls a legend: "Saint Francis of Assisi once met a wolf, to which he addressed a mild sermon. Won over by the saint's words, the fierce animal grew gentle and submissive, lowered its head, and followed him. The adversaries of Pope Francis, however, are not so quick to yield."

In a homily dated 23 February 2014, Pope Francis observes: "A cardinal enters the Church of Rome, my brothers, not a royal court. May all of us avoid and help others to avoid, habits and ways of acting typical of a court; intrigue, gossip, cliques, favoritism, and partiality." By all accounts since then, Pope Francis has been actively engaged in eliminating or avoiding throughout and beyond the Vatican the "habits" and "ways" to which he referred.

Given the opposition to what some characterize as a "revolution," consider this brief excerpt from the book: "His objective is to involve bishops, clergy, and laity in his project for change. Yet it is difficult to reform the Catholic Church and even more difficult to change its long-standing mechanism of command. The opponents are tenacious, and behind the scenes their aggressiveness has provoked a growing campaign to make the pope look illegitimate. Their hope is that the Bergioglio pontificate will end soon."

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

o Pope Francis on poverty (Pages 5-6, 17-18, 112-114, and 153-154)
o Selection of Benedict XVI’s successor (11-19 and 38-40)
o Pope Francis' interaction with people (52-53, 66-70, and 74-77)
o Pope Francis' use of parables (72-73)
o Criticism of Pope Francis (76-77, 160-163, and 210-213)
o Communication style of Pope Francis (85-86, 1q01-102, and 113-114)
o Pope Francis on social justice (106-108 and 112-116)
o Roman Catholic Church in Argentina (117-122)
o Financial reforms of Pope Francis (140-145 and 148-156)
o Pope Francis' financial reforms (167-170, 199-200, and 214-217)
o Pope Francis' appointments (160-161, 210-211, and 225-226)
o Mafia excommunicated by Pope Francis (171-174)
o Reform of Roman Catholic Church in Argentina (193-196 and 235-236)
o Pope Francis on pedophile priests (217-220)

It should be noted that, according to Politi, the American cardinals were divided on whom to voter for, following Pope Benedict's resignation/retirement, but had a shared program that drew strong support from many cardinal electors. "They were demanding transparency and order in the financial affairs of the Vatican, a radical cleanup of the IOR [Institute for the Works of Religion], a slimmed-down curia with less bureaucracy, and lastly -- the other top priority of many episcopates -- a rebalancing of the relationship between the Holy See and the Episcopal Conferences. They expected the future pope to consult the bishops of the church more often and more regularly. This was the principle of collegiality adopted fifty years earlier by Vatican II but never realized."

Politi leaves no doubt that Pope Francis is opposed by "wolves" that have very sharp teeth. He also agrees with Jeffrey Krames, however, who in his own book acknowledges that opinions are divided - sometimes sharply divided - with regard to Pope Francis' leadership style. "During his first year as pope - as during his tenure in Argentina - Francis showed himself again and again to be a man of humility. However, we mustn't confuse his humble ways with those of a one-dimensional leader. Like all effective leaders, he has multiple agendas. In fact, according to the journalists who have covered Bergoglio for many years, he is nothing short of a 'political animal.' He is also a man of enormous intellect, which often gets obscured by his acts of humility."

According to one Argentine journalist, Elisabetta Piqué, "He was not an ingénue coming out into the world. He had almost a war with [one] section of the Roman Curia." Another journalist used the word "ruthless" to describe the way Francis operates. And Rolling Stone cover-story journalist Mark Binelli wrote, "Bergoglio has shown himself to be a stealth enforcer, capable of summoning that old authoritarian steel if it serves a higher purpose."

It will be interesting to see what does (and doesn't) happen in months and years to come as Pope Francis struggles to transform one of the world's largest organizations. These are among Marco Politi's concluding remarks: "If he succeeds in transforming the Synods of Bishops into a permanent instrument of coparticipation in papal government, in making them into little councils that assist the church to chart its course on the ocean of modernity -- involving the faithful, laymen, and lay-women -- the revolution of Jorge Mario Bergoglio will become irreversible...Francis has a vision, at which he hinted in the words he addressed to the cardinals a few days before the conclave: 'I have the impression that Jesus has been shut up inside the church and that he is knocking because he wants to get out.'"

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out two others I also hold in high regard: Krames's Lead with Humility: 12 Leadership Lessons from Pope Francis (September 2014) and Gerald Posner's God's Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican (September 2015). There one other, highly acclaimed, that I have not as yet read but will, soon: Gianluigi Nuzzi's Merchants in the Temple: Inside Pope Francis's Secret Battle Against Corruption in the Vatican (November 2015).

Simple Sabotage: A Modern Field Manual for Detecting and Rooting Out Everyday Behaviors That Undermine Your Workplace
Simple Sabotage: A Modern Field Manual for Detecting and Rooting Out Everyday Behaviors That Undermine Your Workplace
by Robert M. Galford
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 26.69
35 used & new from CDN$ 16.54

5.0 étoiles sur 5 How and why some of the most destructive sabotage within an organization is unintentional and therefore preventable, Nov. 7 2015
According to Robert Galford, Bob Frisch, and Cary Greene, the title refers to "the day-to-day routine interactions and processes we rely on as we work that are undermined by unintentional sabotage." They suggest a four-stage process (i.e. identify, calibrate, remediate, and inoculate) by which to prevent "the hundreds or even thousands of small, barely perceptible irritants -- the 'sand' that clogs the machinery" -- and thereby increase effectiveness, spur creativity, and improve working relationships. Whatever the given level or area, "we'll show you how to help your group become as productive as it can be."

In 1944, at the height of World War II, the United States' Office of Strategic Services (OSS) -- predecessor of the CIA -- published The Simple Sabotage Field Manual, a classified document to help various resistance movements in Europe destroy the Axis powers from within. These acts of sabotage were premeditated, intentional, often uncomplicated, and remarkably effective. Today, comparable acts of "simple," unintentional sabotage can also be remarkably effective. Galford, Frisch, and Greene focus on nine:

o Insist on doing everything "through channels" (e.g. lengthy and complicated approval process)
o Talk as frequently as possible and at great length (e.g. emails)
o Whenever possible, refer all matters to committees
o Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible
o Haggle over precise wordings of communications
o Refer back to decisions previously made and issues resolved
o Urge conferees to be "reasonable" and to avoid being "hasty"
o Be concerned about what is "proper" and politically correct
o Send updates and progress reports as frequently as possible, even to those peripherally involved ('Sabotage by CC')

Keep in mind that these and other acts of "simple sabotage" are taken for what are claimed to be sound reasons: "touching all bases," "keeping the lines open," "deferring to collective judgment," "not letting anything slip through the cracks," "connecting all the dots," "being empathetic to others' feelings," etc. etc. etc.

Galford, Frisch, and Greene explain how leaders in almost any organization, whatever its size and nature may be, can identify these and other mindsets, calibrate a range of tolerance (e.g. time frames, deadlines, and budget limits), eliminate damaging behaviors in a constructive way, and finally, "introduce tools, metrics, and process changes to prevent the sabotage from recurring (or from occurring in the first place) and help develop a low-sabotage culture."

In this context, I am again reminded of a GE annual meeting when its then chairman and CEO, Jack Welch, explained the reasons why he admired small companies:

'For one, they communicate better. Without the din and prattle of bureaucracy, people listen as well as talk; and since there are fewer of them they generally know and understand each other. Second, small companies move faster. They know the penalties for hesitation in the marketplace. Third, in small companies, with fewer layers and less camouflage, the leaders show up very clearly on the screen. Their performance and its impact are clear to everyone. And, finally, smaller companies waste less. They spend less time in endless reviews and approvals and politics and paper drills. They have fewer people; therefore they can only do the important things. Their people are free to direct their energy and attention toward the marketplace rather than fighting bureaucracy.'

I commend Robert Galford, Bob Frisch, and Cary Greene on the abundance of valuable information, insights, and counsel that they provide in this "modern field manual." This material can help to create and then strengthen a workplace culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive. Here are their concluding thoughts: "Where there are people working together, and where new organizational forms emerge, and technology advances, there will always be accidental, unwitting sabotage. Be vigilant!"

Why Should Anyone Work Here?: What It Takes to Create an Authentic Organization
Why Should Anyone Work Here?: What It Takes to Create an Authentic Organization
by Rob Goffee
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 33.37
34 used & new from CDN$ 25.82

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5.0 étoiles sur 5 “If you put fences around people, you get sheep. Give people the room they need.” William L. McKnight (1924), Nov. 3 2015
McKnight made that remark when he was chairman and CEO of 3M. I selected it to serve as the title of this brief commentary because it correctly stresses the importance of establishing and then nourishing a workplace culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive. 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. Presumably Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones had all that clearly in mind when selecting the abundance of valuable information, insights, and counsel they provide in this book.

Their primary objective is to prepare as many executives as possible to help their organization to become or remain “authentic.” More specifically, "In our research we found three characteristics that seem to consistently differentiate what we regard as authentic organizations: they possess a sense of identify; they obsessively live their values; and their leaders model the company's values." Over the years, it has been my pleasure as well as privilege to work closely with the leaders of several such organizations and I can personally attest to the authenticity of those three characteristics.

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Goffee and Jones’s coverage in Chapters 1-6:

o A New World of Work (Pages 4-8)
o Why Do People Work Here? (8-10)
o Challenges to Overcome (13-17)
o Differences -- Not Just Diversity (23-25)
o To Conform or Not to Conform? (30-36)
o Foster High Work Engagement and Commitment (38-40)
o Boost Creativity, Innovation, and Productivity (40-44)
o Build a Robust Leadership Pipeline (44-47)
o What Makes Honesty "Radical"? (53-56)
o Why Be Honest? (58-63)
o Valuing Value (77-79)
o What Is Value and How Is It Added? (80-87)
o Defining Authenticity (103-115)
o What Makes Work Meaningless?, and, What Makes Work Meaningful? (124-138)
o What people generally value most (151-162)

I commend Goffee and Jones on their skillful use of several reader-friendly devices, notably "Action Points for Leaders" and "What Organizations Can Do" sections in each of the first six chapters. This material serves three separate but interdependent functions: It stresses the most important take-away points; it creates an interactive relationship between the reader and the material; and finally, it facilitates, indeed expedites frequent review later of the material that each reader deems most relevant to the needs, resources, and objectives of the given organization. Goffee and Jones also include seven diagnostic exercises with regard to differentiation, radical honesty, adding value, standing for something real, meaning, simple rules, and authenticity. Shrewd readers will highlight key passages and will also have a lined notebook near at hand in which complete these assessments (or notes they evoke) as well as to record questions, comments, page references, and reminders.

Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine could possibly do full justice to the valuable insights and counsel that Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones provide in this book but I hope that I have at least indicated why I think so highly of it. Consider their concluding remarks: " Take a close look at your organization and ask the all-important question: Why should anyone work here?" If you are uncomfortable with your response, seize the opportunity to apply what you have learned from this book and enlist others to join you in collaborative efforts to make your organization one that you want to work for but also one that attracts others who can help make it even healthier. Channeling Hillel the Elder, I add my own questions to ponder: If not now, when? If not you, who?

One Second Ahead: Enhance Your Performance at Work with Mindfulness
One Second Ahead: Enhance Your Performance at Work with Mindfulness
by Rasmus Hougaard
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 30.30
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 How and why being constantly mindful can help accelerate personal growth and professional development, Nov. 3 2015
With Jacqueline Carter and Gillian Coutts, Rasmus Hougaard introduces a thought-provoking concept, PAID, an acronym for Pressure, Always on Information Overload, and Distracted. This is a harsh but subtle reality as most of us struggle to cope with severe stress, whatever the nature and extent of our workplace environment may be. Are we doomed to remain under such stress, relentless distractions, and an ever-increasing abundance of information often characterized as a tsunami or blizzard?

"Thankfully, the answer is no. It is actually possible to train the brain to respond differently to today's constant interruptions through the practice of mindfulness. Simply put, at its introductory level, mindfulness means trained attention. Based on thousands of practice, mindfulness techniques enable people to manage their attention, improve their awareness, and sharpen their focus and clarity."

In essence, here's the challenge and (yes) the opportunity: bridge mindfulness and every day tasks at work. Whatever the tasks, there is a process to their completion. This is what Mihály Csíkszentmihályi has in mind when explaining what he calls "flow," a state in which one is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does. Athletes call it "the zone." Tiger Woods sinks every putt, Michael Jordan makes every shot, Nadia Elena Com'neci is awarded a score of "10" on every gymnastic exercise in Olympic competition. According to Csikszentmihalyi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate experience in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning.

However, experiencing flow or being in a zone does not last forever whereas what Hougaard is talking about can be sustained. Mindfulness is highly developed awareness. He introduces 16 techniques, eight mental strategies, and several foundational practices that will guide and inform as well as nourish that development. I view the mind as being what the brain does so I think of mindfulness as a muscle that requires constant and rigorous exercise.

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

o Welcome to the Attention Economy (Pages 6-9)
o The Well-Trained Mind (9-12)
o The Foundation of Mindfulness, and, Two Rules of Mental Effectiveness (12-15)
o Seven Guidelines to Overcoming E-mail Addiction (19-26)
o Mindful Meetings (26-31)
o Action Addiction (41-46)
o Mindful Planning in the Present (47-49)
o Empathy and External Awareness (56-58)
o Two Sides to Effective communication (58-61)
o What Stops Us from Thinking Creatively? (63-65)
o Activating the Subconscious, and, Creativity in the Matrix (65-69)
o Understanding Resistance, and, Embracing Resistance (72-74)
o Optimizing the Change Management Process (74-76)
o Four Mindful Ways to Conserve Mental Energy (81)
o Three "Simple" Guidelines to Sleeping Better (86-89)
o Eating and Energy (93-97)
o Mindful Performance Breaks (103-105)
o The "How" of Mindful Commuting (108-109)
o Maintaining Emotional Balance (113-115)
o Understanding Work-Life Imbalance, and, Managing Imbalance (117-120)
o Work-Life Balance Strategies (121-122)

As I re-read this book prior to getting to work on this brief commentary, I was again reminded of how important it is to be mindful about mindfulness. The process of development to which I referred earlier must be taken seriously. In fact, mindfulness is itself an on-going process, not a destination. Hence the importance of the 16 techniques, eight mental strategies, and several foundational practices that will guide and inform as well as nourish the development of a source of joy and a sense of purpose as well as serenity and even fulfillment.

This is what Rasmus Hougaard has in mind when sharing these concluding thoughts: 'Mindfulness is within you ' if only you invite it. And if on your mindfulness journey, you have a story ton share, please let me know. Perhaps your story, like many in this book, will serve to inspire and motivate others on their mindfulness journey." He wishes each reader "all the best,' as do I.

The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge
The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge
by Matt Ridley
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 22.56
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Why 'evolution is far more common, and far more influential, than most people realize' Matt Ridley, Oct. 30 2015
I agreed with Ridley's comment previously quoted and regret that so many misconceptions remain concerning Charles Darwin's General Theory of Evolution is'and isn't. If evolution is a process, who can say with certainty that a divinity did or did not create it? Over centuries, the concept of creationism has evolved. In fact, all concepts evolve including articles of faith embraced by each of the world's largest religions. Moreover, the process of natural selection doers not preclude faith in a divinity. I am among those who believe it confirms such faith.

According to Ridley, 'evolution is happening all around us. It is the best way of understanding how the human world changes, as well as the natural world. Change in human instructions, artifacts and habits is incremental, inexorable, and inevitable. It follows a narrative, going from one stage to the next; it creeps rather than jumps; it has its own spontaneous momentum, rather than being driven from ouytsi8de; it has no goal or end in mind; and it largely happens by trial and error -- a version of natural selection."

Ridley then adds: "This truth continues to elude most intellectuals on the left as well as on the right, who remain in effect 'creationists.' The obsession with which those on the right resist Charles Darwin's insight -- that the complexity of nature does not imply a designer -- matches the obsession with which those on the left resist Adam Smith's insight -- that the complexity of society does not imply a planner. In the pages that follow, I shall take on this creationism in all its forms." And indeed he does.

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Ridley's coverage in the first six of 16 chapters:

o The Lucretian heresy (Pages 10-11)
o The puddle that fits its pothole, and, Thinking for ourselves (18-20)
o How morality emerges (25-27)
o Better angels (28-33)
o The evolution of law (33-36)
o The evolution of Darwin's ideas (37-39)
o Hume's swerve (39-42)
o Darwin on the eye (42-45)
o Astronomical improbability? (46-48)
o Doubting Darwin still (49-52)
o The lure of Lamarck (55-57)
o Culture-driven genetic evolution (57-58)
o All crane and no skyhook (62-64)
o On whose behalf? (65-68)
o Red Queen races (72-75)
o The evolution of language (79-82)
o The human revolution was actually an evolution (82-85)
o The evolution of cities (91-93)
o The evolution of institutions (94-95)

Whenever I encounter a staunch advocate of creationism, I am again reminded of a press conference in 1925 when the newly elected governor of Texas. Miriam Amanda Wallace ("Ma") Ferguson, was asked for her opinion about bilingual education. "If English is good enough for Jesus Christ, it's good enough for me." Apparently there are still people out and about who, when referring to the King James version of the Bible to support their faith in creationism, believe that Jesus spoke Elizabethan English.

I agree with Ridley that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection as outlined in 1859 should really be called the "special theory" of evolution to differentiate it from his "general theory." Why? Matt Ridley agrees with Richard Webb that "the flywheel of history is incremental change through trial and error, with innovation driven by recombination, and that this pertains in far more kinds of things than merely those that have genes. This is also the main way that change comes about" in all other areas of human initiative. "For far too long we have underestimated the power of spontaneous, organic and constructive change from above. Embrace the general theory of evolution. Admit that everything evolves."


The Brain: The Story of You
The Brain: The Story of You
by David Eagleman
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 23.79
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 How and why our lives shape our brains and our brains shape our lives, Oct. 27 2015
Those of us who watched the six-part PBS series based on this companion book are especially grateful to have it available so that we can continue to increase our understanding of what the human brain is and does'as well as of what it can do if properly nourished. With all due respect to the value of space exploration, it is also important to explore -- with David Eagleman's assistance --the "inner cosmos" where we learn "how we decide, how we perceive reality, who we are, how our lives are steered, why we need other people, and where we're headed as a species that's just beginning to grab its own reins."

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me in Chapters 1-4, also listed to suggest the scope of Eagleman's coverage:

o Livewiring (Page 7)
o Plasticity in adulthood (16-19)
o The fallibility of memory (24-26)
o I am sentient (30-33)
o The illusion of reality, and, Your experience of reality (37-40)
o Seeing requires more than eyes (43-44)
o Synchronizing the senses (47-49)
o Seeing our expectations (53-55)
o Believing what our brains tell us (60-61)
o Timewarp (61-66)
o Consciousness, and, The unconscious brain in action (69-76)
o Running on autopilot (81-84)
o The deep caverns of the unconscious (85-90)
o The feeling of free will (94-97)
o The sound of a decision (101-103)
o The brain is a machine built from conflict (104-110)
o States of the body help you decide (110-114)
o Traveling to the future (114-118)
o The power of now (118-120)
o Overcoming the power of now: the Ulysses contract 120-121)
o The invisible mechanisms of decision making (121-124)
o Decisions and society (124-129)

I want to praise the production values of this volume. They are outstanding. Most of the images are from the PBS series -- "The Brain with David Eagleman" -- and supplement the lively and eloquent narrative. The generously annotated "Endnotes" are also enlightening as is the "Glossary." Credit Blink Entertainment for much of the artwork. This is a visually stunning volume in which Eagleman provides an abundance of information, insights, and counsel with regard to what the brain is and does. (A case can be made that the mind is what the brain does. I am unqualified to agree or disagree.) Key concepts are illustrated (with photographs or reproductions) to the extent that scientific accuracy allows and a mini-commentary accompanies most of them.

Here is a brief excerpt from David Eagleman's concluding remarks: 'In the coming years we will discover more about the human brain than we can describe with our current theories and frameworks. At the moment we're surrounded by mysteries: many that we recognize and many we haven't yet registered. As a field, we have vast uncharted waters ahead of us. As always in science, the important thing is to run the experiments and assess the results. Mother Nature will then tell which approaches are blind alleys, and which move us further down the road of understanding the blueprints of our own mind.

The last time I checked, Amazon offers 112,150 books that discuss the human brain. Over the last two decades, I have probably read about 35-40 and reviewed many of them. Duly acknowledging that I am a tourist in the field of neuroscience, I know of no other book that offers more and better information than does this one [begin italics] in layman's terms [end italics], with its value enhanced even more by the aforementioned illustrations. This is a stunning achievement. Bravo!

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