Saturday, November 10, 2007

5 Books on Leadership

BUSH-ISMS: President George Herbert Walker Bush, in his own words
Compiled by the editors of The New Republic
(Workman Publishing, 1992)

THE NATURE OF LEADERSHIP: Reptiles, mammals, and the challenge of becoming a great leader
By B. Joseph White with Yaron Prymes
(Amacom, 2007)

Harvard Business Review on THE TESTS OF A LEADER
Harvard Business School Press, 2007)

LEAD LIKE JESUS: Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time
By Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges
(W Publishing Group, 2005)

NANOCOSM: Nanotechnology and the big changes coming from the inconceivably small.
By William Illsey Atkinson
(Amacom, 2005)

Here are some quotes from former President Bush and you will know from whom the current President Bush got his communication flair.

“We’re enjoying sluggish times, and not enjoying them very much.”

“Thank you all very much. And let me just say this, on a personal basis. I’ve screwed up a couple of times here and I’m very grateful for your assistance in straightening it out. God, I’d hate to have had some of those answers stand.” (8/8/90)

“I think that in politics there are certain moral values. I’m one who—we believe strong in separation of church and state, but when you get into some questions, there are some moral overtones. Murder, that kind of thing, and I feel a little, I will say, uncomfortable with the elevation of the religion thing.” (Bush explains his position on church-state issues this way, “We don’t believe in denominationally moving in.” 9/16/84)

“I saw a story yesterday that I went a little ballistic—which is only part true—semi-ballistic.” (12/16/88)

“I’m for Mr. Reagan—blindly.” (11/1/84)

“I know what I’ve told you I’m going to say, I’m going to say. And what else I say, well, I’ll take some time to figure that out—figure that out.” (at a joint press conference with Uruguay President Louis Alberto Lacalde, on the message he was planning to deliver to Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz. Later, asked if there were room for a face-saving measure, Bush was adamant: “I don’t care about face! He doesn’t need any face!” 12/4/90)

“Fluency in English is something that I’m often not accused of.” (at a White House dinner. Despite his lack of fluency, however, the president insists on controlling the content of his speeches. “inarticulate as though I may be.” 6/6/89)

“You cannot be president of the United States if you don’t have faith. Remember Lincoln, going to his knees in times of trial and the Civil War and all that stuff. You can’t be. And we are blessed. So don’t feel sorry for—don’t cry for me, Argentina.” (1/15/92)

“The democrats want to ram it down my ear in a political victory.” (10/31/91)

”It has been said by some cynic, maybe it was a former president, ‘If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.’ We took them literally—that advice—as you know. But I didn’t need that, because I have Barbara Bush.” (3/30/89)

“All I was doing was appealing for an endorsement, not suggesting that you endorse it.” (2/3/92)

“I was shot down, and I was floating around in a little yellow raft, setting a record for paddling. I though of my family, my mom and dad, and the strength I got from them. I thought of my faith, the separation of church and state.” (12/5/87)

Hahahahahahahahaha Who says that Americans, and their Yale alumnus President, speak good English?

When I met Bob Pike and his lovely wife in Taipei, Taiwan, last September, he was all praises for their new leadership program Lead Like Jesus with Ken Blanchard. And as he promised, he sent me a copy of the book.

Author Blanchard writes:
The term leader is mentioned only six times in the King James Version of the Bible, while the term servant is mentioned more than nine hundred times. That fact highlights the third distinction between a self-serving leader and a servant leader: who leads and who follows? Self-serving leaders think they should lead and others should follow. Servant leaders, on the other hand, seek to respect the wishes of those who have entrusted them with a season of influence and responsibility.

Throughout His life and leadership, Jesus affirmed that God is not looking for leaders but for servants who will let Him be the Leader and who will focus first on the Kingdom of God. When God came to Abraham, God had the plan and Abraham was instructed to carry it out according to God’s promise. When God came to Mary, she surrendered to God’s will and undertook the role of servant leader with her infant son. When God came to Paul, God had a plan that this passionate man spent the rest of his life fulfilling through his leadership and witness to the Gentiles. When God was the leader and these faithful people were the servants, His plan was effectively accomplished.

On the other hand, whenever we become the leader and try to make God the servant, things don’t work out. Why? Because our EGO gets in the way, and we Edge God Out! If you want your life to be significant, then you have to recognize that it’s all about God, not about you. As the old Yiddish saying goes, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

We are negotiating to bring the duo of Pike and Blanchard here to do their Lead Like Jesus Program. Abangan!

The executive summary of the article “What to Ask the Person in the Mirror” of this HBR book on leadership reads:

Every leader gets off track from time to time. But as leaders rise through the ranks, they have fewer and fewer opportunities for honest and direct feedback. Their bosses are no longer monitoring their actions, and by the time management missteps have a negative impact on business results, it’s usually too late to make course corrections that will set things right. Therefore, it is wise to go through a self-assessment, to periodically step back from the bustle of running a business and ask some key questions of yourself.

Author Robert S. Kaplan, who during his 22-year career at Goldman Sachs chaired the firm’s senior leadership training efforts and co-chaired its partnership committee, identifies seven areas for self-reflection: vision and priorities, managing time, feedback, succession planning, evaluation and alignment, leading under pressure, and staying true to yourself. The author sets out a series of questions in each of the areas, illustrating the impact of self-assessment through vivid accounts of real executives.

Although the questions sound simple, people are often shocked—even horrified—by their own answers. Executives are aware that they should be focusing on their most important priorities, for instance, but without stepping back to reflect, few actually know where they are allocating their time. Kaplan advocates writing down what you do every working hour for a week and checking how well your actions match up with your intentions. As for feedback, managers should ask themselves whether they’re getting truthful evaluations from their subordinates (in all likelihood, they aren’t). It takes time and discipline to persuade your employees to tell you about your failings.

This HBR collection has other instructional articles like Becoming the Boss, Courage as a Skill, The CEO’s Second Act, Moments of Truth: Global Executives Talk about the Challenges that Shaped Them as Leaders, How Leaders Create and Use Networks, When a New Manager Takes Charges and Leading Change. Go get a copy.

Nanotechnology has always intrigued and amazed me no end. Rick Smally write in his Foreword:

Real nanotechnology isn’t about physical immortality, or killer nanobots, or waking up dear dead Auntie Flo from her long nap in the freezer. Real nanotechnology is more amazing than any pipe dream. It is closing in on structural materials stronger than anything we’ve know; on computers the size of molecules; on complete diagnostic laboratories smaller than your thumbnail; on ways to painlessly cook cancer cells to death; on buildings that stay up despite storms, earthquakes and attacks. Set pulp fiction aside. The genuine nanocosm has sci-fi beat six ways to Sunday.

Author Atkinson writes:

Nanoscience has recently made such staggering gains that it is undeniably on the bring of a true nanotechnology. We have now mapped enough of the nanocosm to let us make educated guesses about the type of world it will soon support. These estimates range from the merely surprising to the wig-flipping outrageous. Some very big changes in business and leisure are about to come to us by way of the very small.

The world is shrinking and lots of things are becoming portable and affordable—thanks to nanotechnology. Remember those monstrous computers that required whole buildings to house them and two-ton battery pack for cell phones of years ago? Now, computers and cell phones are getting smaller and smaller and smaller—thanks to nanotech. Tomorrow, we might not even need to carry them, we could implant them somewhere in our body. Think of a camera implanted at the tip of your index finger—now you can take pictures of anything, anywhere. Scary, but exciting!

What are the implications of nanotechnology for future leaders? Smaller leaders? Hahahahahahahaha

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

3 Books + RD on Branding

(Reader’s Digest Asia)

(Superbrands Publications Philippines)

(Summit Books)

By Len Weinreich
(Kogan Page)

CNBC’s Erwin Wladawsky-Berger writes in his online column, “If your company has a strong internal culture and set of values, that will be manifest in its external image or brand - that is, the "symbolic embodiment of all the information connected to a company, product or service." Every enterprise, institution – or individual, for that matter – has a brand – that is, is seen by the world in a definable way. If that image is not in harmony with the culture and values that person or organization espouses – in other words, if the brand is not truly values-driven – then the gap can be damaging, even fatal.”

“This is particularly the case in today's increasingly transparent world, where people who think a company's behavior is not consistent with the brand image it projects can take it to task over the Internet, using social networking tools like blogs. Every so often, one such disgruntled blog starts circulating over the Internet, gathering more and more readers and significantly damaging the image of the company being criticized. Walking the talk - that is, living by the values you espouse - is more important than ever for companies, especially global companies with a strong brand.”

That said I reread the book, Superbrands, and checked out the list of the country’s strongest brands as judged by a “well-educated and lifestyle-conscious population.” To the question “what makes a superbrand?” some of the answers of the members of the Superbrand Council were:
· Stasch Radswanki (president of Academy Consultants Manila): When brands reach Superbrands status they have become trusted friends of the consumer. The psyche is the home of the Superbrand and to be invite(d) into this domain is the greatest compliment that can be awarded to a brand.
· Mike O’Connor (chairman of MS2 Inc) A superbrand is always top-of-the-mind. It is the brand I won’t exchange for another (even) if it is not available.
· Jose Jesus Roces (professor at Asian Institute of Management): Brands drive businesses in the sense that the battle for shares of the mind is as intense as the battle for shares of the market. The strongest branding is emotional branding, or going beyond rationality as the criteria for choosing one brand over another.
· George Balagtas (chairman of Scope): Its brand name must be ubiquitous and virtually synonymous with the product or service it offers. It should have been in the market for at least 7 years, registered a minimum 5-year sales growth and have major market share of at least 30 percent.
· Karl Mclean (general manager of Superbrands Publication Phils): Think bread think Gardenia, think peanuts, thing Growers, think beer, think San Miguel, think petrol, think Petron, for example. The Superbrand status stands for quality and success.

Some of the identified homegrown superbrands in 2004 are: The Manila Times, Max’s Restaurant, French Baker, Goldilocks, Asia Brewery, Boysen, Casino Filipino, Chinatrust, Gardenia, Globe Telecom, Smart, Greenwich, LBC Bank, Lemon Square, Mang Tomas, Manila Bulletin, Marca Piña, Petron, PLDT, Red Bull, Rusty Lopez, Selecta, These brands could remain in the exclusive firmament of Superbrands or they could fall off cloud 9 and stumble into oblivion. They need to heed the counsel of aforementioned brand experts.

Do you notice that branding is mostly a result of leadership and sound people management practices? Find out more by attending the 44th PMAP Annual Conference this September 26-28, 2007 in Cebu. Indeed, people deliver if you know how to tap into their inner strengths!

The May 2007 issue of the Reader’s Digest has a supplement containing the result of RD Asia’s Trusted Brand Survey. The most trusted brands 100% voted for by consumers are: Ajinomoto, Citibank, Crown Asia, GE Appliances, Metrobank, Boysen, Coca-cola, Emperador, Honda and Nokia. While those 100% voted for by consumers are: Panda, Petron, PhilamLife, Pilot, PNB, San Miguel Beer, Sony, St. Luke’s and Purfoods Tender Juicy Hotdogs.

RD explains, “The core attribute of a Trusted Bran is longevity. A Trusted Brand bank must be financially sound, reliable, and thus have stood the test of time. It should also have an eye on the future, as banking is a very competitive industry.”

Some companies become super brands on the personality and competences of its founders/owners/management. The “bookazine,” Success Secrets, paid tribute to 50 superb individuals whose names have become popular brands, regardless of what business they go into.

Some started off poor, but they used life’s adversities to achieve big dreams. They are Alvin Carranza (Café Lupe), Filemon Barbasa (Filbar’s), Les Reyes (Reyes Haircutters), Alexander Crisostomo (Biocare Inc) and Victor Tan (Bobson). Some are bold, successful and rich and they’re not even 40: Jonathan Jay Aldeguer (Islands Souvenirs), Steve Benitez (Bo’s Café), The Jose brothers—Quito, Martin and Daniel (Brothers Burger) Cheese Ledesma (The Big Chill Inc) and many others.

Still others preside over multimillion-peso ventures and many aspiring entrepreneurs idolize them for their extraordinary feats in business. They are: Tony Tan Caktiong, George Yang, Socorro Ramos, Rolando Hortaleza and Pacita Juan.

The rest can identify an opportunity when they see one, and have a knack for turning a business into an overnight success. They are: Tess Ngan Tian (Lot’s Pizza), Roberto Gandionco (Julie’s Bakeshop), Michael Trillana (Go Nuts Donuts), Ricardo Cuna (Fiorgelato Ice Cream) and Ben Colayco (Level Up!). And the taipans: John Gokongwei Jr., Henry Sy, Sr., Lucio Tan, Andrew Tan and Ben Chan.

I notice, though, that generations of family entrepreneurs, albeit brands—the Lopezes, the Ayalas, the Concepcions and many others—were not profiled.

What made them successful brands? Jaclyn Lutangco-Chua writes:
· They consider their businesses as their “baby,” even likens it to “raising a teen-age daughter.”
· Entrepreneurship entails hard work; during the start up, they do everything themselves. They acted as cashier and bookkeeper, handled the telephones, did the delivering, mopped and swept the floor, and 100 other myriad roles and functions until they were capable to hire the right people.
· Entrepreneurs are hungry for information affecting their business. They constantly improve themselves and are always on the lookout for new ideas and techniques.
· Successful entrepreneurs persevere, overcome fears, and take risks.
· They are sensitive to their markets, spot opportunities where others see none and waste no time in going after them.
· The taipans, in particular, are not averse to crisis, they make success happen and take control of their future.

Beauty is more than skin deep. Branding is very much rooted in the leadership, quality of people, internal processes and many other goings-on inside an organization over a long period of time. However, some brands become successful through proper positioning and conscious image building. The saga of Surf and Lumen lingers in the mind.

Author Weinreich has 50 propositions to those developing great brands through advertising campaigns. The first 20 are:
1. Never trust anyone who can articulate logically after professing to have been profoundly moved.
2. Buying a campaign requires faith rather than rationality.
3. Faith in a brand equal faith in its myth.
4. Myths defy logic
5. Belief plus passion equals faith.
6. Knock on wood.
7. Brands are strong medicine and carry powerful ju-ju (all the emotions connected with it).
8. Fame isn’t everything.
9. Friendly is not necessarily good for business.
10. The first lesson an author has to learn is that he cannot please everybody.
11. Advertising with ideas is better remembered than advertising without ideas.
12. The communication where you work out the meaning is the communication you remember.
13. The communication you remember is the one that gets acted upon.
14. If you’re constructing the perfect mousetrap, it is vital that you leave room for the mouse.
15. Don’t ever be deluded into believing in your own infalliability. You might have been right every single time up until now; but sooner or later you’re going to be wrong.
16. Stay as far as possible from Caveman’s Conventional.
17. Nobody counts the amount of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make.
18. Uninspired mediocrity is invisible.
19. Haemorrhoids are a pain in the neck.
20. To ensure consistency, young brand managers must be kept in line.

And the last two: Pomposity in advertising breeds blandness. Research can trap you into the past.

Very sound advice indeed. These proposition applies in branding a business unit—your HR organization (how are you really perceived by your employees) and a person—you!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

3 Books on Management Tools

Delivering excellent business results to grow a flourishing company or to turnaround a failing business may seem daunting even to seasoned executives. But they need not reinvent the wheel because there are now ready tools that business leaders could use to further improve a going concern or resuscitate deteriorating business conditions without sweating the big and small stuff.

Harry Onsman enumerated and illustrated many of them in his book. For managing the organization, some powertools are: determining strategic intent (vision, mission and values statement); strategic positioning (Porter’s Five Forces Analysis and Generic Strategies); Measuring Performance (KPIs and the Balanced Scorecard); conceiving the future (Scenario Planning); changing culture (Competing Value Framework); growing a diversified business (Product Portfolio Analysis); marketing the business (the marketing Ps; Understanding customers; Improving processes (Process mapping and management) and solving problems using the Pareto analysis.

For managing people, Onsman recommends these powertools: managing performance (goal setting); enabling others (empowerment); developing self-awareness (360-degree feedback); selecting people (behavioral interviewing); controlling tasks and projects (project management techniques); leading people (situation leadership); involving employees through problem solving teams; developing people through coaching; developing teams; and managing time.

Let’s take understanding customers using SERVQUAL customer surveys, the preeminent instrument for measuring the delivery of quality service to customers. It was developed by Valerie Zeithaml, A. Parasuraman and Leonard Berry and first appeared in their groundbreaking book, Delivering Service Quality: Balancing customer perceptions and expectations, a product of their five-year research on measuring customer satisfaction. It has become the instrument of choice for researchers, consultants and practitioners trying to understand the perceptions and expectations of customers based on five perceptual dimensions of service: tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy. Zeithaml, et al, identified different of gaps as follows:
• the gap between the customers’ expectations and management’s perception of customer expectations
• the gap between management’s perception of customer expectations and what was supposed to be delivered to its customers.
• the gap between what was supposed to be delivered and what was actually delivered
• the gap between what was actually delivered and what customers were told would be delivered
• the gap between what customers expected and what they perceived they actually received

Onsman included the three-part SERVQUAL instrument in his book plus all the instruments for the management powertools discussed in his 284-paged book.

One other powerful instrument for upgrading quality, productivity and results is Six Sigma. It was invented by Motorola, but was made famous by Jack Welch of GE. “While GE used Six Sigma to strengthen an already thriving business, for Motorola it was an answer to the question: How do we stay in business.

“What Six Sigma offered Motorola—though it involves much more today—was a simple, consistent way to track and compare performance to customer requirements (the Sigma measure) and an ambitious target of practically-perfect quality (the Six Sigma goal). The results were: five-fold growth in sales, with profits climbing nearly 20 percent per year, cumulative savings based on Six Sigma efforts pegged at $14 billion and Motorola stock price gains compounded to an annual rate of 21.3 percent.

“For GE, the financial ‘big picture’ is just a reflection of the many individual success; for example:

• A Six Sigma team at GE’s Lighting unit repaired problems in its billing to one of its top customers—Wal-Mart—cutting invoice defects and disputes by 98 percent, speeding payment, and creating better productivity for both companies.
• A group led by staff attorney—A Six Sigma team leader—at one of GE Capital’s service businesses streamlined the contract review process, leading to faster completion of deals and annual savings of &1 million.
• GE Power Systems group addressed a major irritant with its utility company customers, simply by developing better understanding of their requirements and improving the documentation provided along with new power equipment.
• The Medical Systems business (GEMS) used Six Sigma design techniques to create a breakthrough in medical scanning technology. Patients can now get a full-body scan in half a minute, versus three minutes or more with previous technology. Hospitals can increase their usage of the equipment and achieve a lower cost per scan, as well.
• GE Capital Mortgage analyzed the processes at one of its top performing branches and, expanding these ‘best practices’ across its other 42 branches, improved the rate of a caller reaching a ‘live’ GE person from 76 to 99 percent. Beyond the much greater convenience and responsiveness to customers, the improved process is translating into millions of dollars in new business.

The final word is reserved for the guru of all gurus, Mr. Peter Drucker. What struck me in his book is the chapter on “What Business Can Learn from Nonprofits.”

“The Girl Scouts, the Red Cross, the pastoral churches—our nonprofit organizations—are becoming America’s management leaders. In two areas, strategy and effectiveness of the board, they are practicing what most American businesses only preach. And in the most crucial area—the motivation and productivity of knowledge workers—they are truly pioneers, working out the policies and practices that business will have to learn tomorrow.

“Few people are aware that the nonprofit sector is by far America’s largest employer. Every other adult, a total of 80 million plus people, works as a volunteer, giving, on average, nearly five hours each week to one or several nonprofit organizations. This is equal to 10 million full-time jobs. If volunteers were paid, their wages, even at minimum rate, would amount to some &150 billion or 5 percent of GNP. More and more volunteers are becoming ‘unpaid staff’ taking over the professional and managerial tasks in their organizations. ‘Volunteers must get far greater satisfaction from their accomplishments and make a greater contribution precisely because they do not get a paycheck.’

“Not all nonprofits have been doing well, of course. A good many community hospitals are in dire straits. Churches are steadily losing members. Yet in its productivity, in the scope of its work, and in its contribution to American society, the nonprofit sector has grown tremendously in the last two decades.

“Underlying their program and many other effective nonprofit endeavors is a commitment to management. They realize that good intentions are no substitute for organization and leadership, for accountability, performance and results. Those require management and that, in turn, begins with the organization’s mission.

“The best nonprofits devote a great deal of thought to defining their organization’s mission. They avoid sweeping statements full of good intentions and focus, instead, on objectives that have clear-cut implications for the work their members perform. The Salvation Army’s goal is to turn society’s rejects—alcoholics, criminals, derelicts—into citizens. The Girl Scouts help youngsters become confident, capable young women who respect themselves and other people. The Nature Conservancy preserves the diversity of nature’s fauna and flora. Non-profits also start with the environment, the community, the ‘customers’ to be; they do not, as American businesses tend to do, start with the inside, that is, with the organization or with financial returns. Flourishing nonprofits have learned to define clearly what changes outside the organization constitute ‘results’ and to focus on them. They start with the mission rather than with their own rewards and with what they have to make happen outside themselves, in the marketplace, to deserve a reward.

“As a rule, nonprofits are more-money conscious than business enterprises are. They talk and worry about money much of the time because it is so hard to raise and because they always have so much less of it than they need. But nonprofits do not base their strategy on money, nor do they make it the center of their plans, as so many corporate executives do. The nonprofits start with the performance of their mission. It focuses the organization on action. It defines the specific strategies needed to attain the crucial goals. It creates a disciplined organization. It alone can prevent the most common degenerative disease of organizations, especially the large ones: splintering their always limited resources on things that are ‘interesting’ or look ‘profitable’ rather than concentrating them on a very small number of productive efforts. The best nonprofits devote a great deal of thought to defining their organization’s mission.

“Many nonprofits now have what is still the exception in business—a functioning board. They also have something even rarer—a CEO who is clearly accountable to the board and whose performance is reviewed annually by a board committee. And they have what is rarer still—a board whose performance is reviewed annually against preset performance objectives. The key to making the board effective is not to talk about its function but to organize its work. Precisely because the nonprofit board is so committed and active, its relationship with the CEO tends to be highly contentious and full of potential for friction. This has forced an increasing number of nonprofits to realize that neither board nor CEO is ‘the boss.’ They are colleagues, working for the same goal but each having a different task. And they have learned that it is the CEO’s responsibility to define the tasks of each, the board’s and his or her own. To restore management’s ability to manage we will have to make boards effective again—and that should be considered a responsibility of the CEO.”

“Nonprofits are forging new bonds of community, a new commitment to active citizenship, to social responsibility, to values. This development also carries a clear lesson for business. Nonprofits are showing us how to manage knowledge workers for productivity. It requires a clear mission, careful placement and continuous learning and teaching, management by objectives and self-control, high demands but corresponding responsibility, and accountability for performance and results.”

The most successful and oldest (2007 years old this year) nonprofit is the Catholic Church and it is still blooming. It had its ups and downs, a fair share of scandals and an intriguing past. Yet it is here, prosperous and triumphant, so let’s learn from it.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

"Polishing" My Favorite Books

While the website is up-to-date, i.e. all reviews have been posted here, we still have to "polish" the site. Specifically, we're adding more links and more labels so that you can more easily navigate the site, as well as easily find links to how you can obtain your very own copies of books we've reviewed. Until that time, peace to everyone!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

2 Books on Labor Relations


By Sid Kemp

(McGRaw-Hill, 2005)


By Dave Ulrich and Wayne Brockbank

(Harvard Business School Press, 2005)

When we think of labor relations, we think of unions, NLRC, labor case, litigation, arbitration, mediation, strikes, lock-out and the like. In the center of all labor cases is the manager or supervisor. In her foreword, Kristin Robertson reminds corporate leaders that, indeed, the leader casts a long shadow—and that shadow influences the effectiveness of the group. “The leader creates the tone or environment of a group. Your attitude and approach to people are contagious—they cascade throughout your team. Your mood and emotions set the pace for the whole group. Stories confirm the maxim that employees join companies but leave managers. Sharpening your managerial and interpersonal skills benefits you, your team and your company. The examples and wisdom in Perfect Solutions will help you become a better manager, make better contributions to the organizations, and advance your career.”

Author Sid Kemp cites cases and proposes solutions in situations such as when an employee must be laid off, an office romance gets out of hand, your star performer is hurting team morale, an employee calls in sick but is not really sick, Friday flu, a rule is ignored or forgotten until it becomes a problem, and many other messy situations.

Here are a few examples:

  • Sometimes, we have to let people go. It is particularly difficult if we chose who was to be laid off. Start with the company needs to lay off. Then add a reason that makes it clear it is not personal. Be prepared to explain the details of departure date and final pay. If several people are being laid off, talk with each separately, but have one goodbye party for all. It is equally important to talk to the team members who remain. Focus on what the team can do and promise to keep everyone informed regularly. Then do keep people informed, even if it’s just to call everyone together and say there is no news.
  • Sometimes, something about a person’s physical appearance or smell is offensive to other team members. This situation is fraught with complications. If possible work with the other team members rather than the person they say has the problem. Talk with them about inoffensive actions they can take or changes to the way work can be done that might eliminate their discomfort. When you do approach the team member concerned, be circumspect. Ask if the team member is aware of the issue and how it affects others. Describe the experience other team members are having. Be sure to thank the team member for being willing to talk about it and to take whatever steps there might be toward a solution.
  • When a new employee arrives, the manager is responsible for something called orientation. Because the employee is disoriented on arrival. A new employee if kind of like Michael Jordan switching from basketball to baseball. Even if the employee is good at what she does, she just doesn’t know the rules at this ball field. And it is your job to bring her into the game.
  • When disaster strikes or war is declared or peace is declared, our roles as people in society and as citizens are more important than our jobs with the company. And having the team members together to support one another is healthy for everyone and for the team. At the same time, we need to be cautious about obsessions and distractions. Help people refocus and be aware of anyone with special needs.

Prevention is always the best solution to problems. While it is good to know what to do to stave off certain problematic situations, there is nothing like planning for the bigger picture and defining the context within which managers and supervisors could lead. Authors Ulrich and Brockbank suggest building an HR strategy that is aligned with business realities and strategy. They cited the case of Motorola:

“Motorola has been riding a roller coaster for two decades. Through the 1980s, the company’s market share was up. Profitability was excellent. In the early 1990s, the world of consumer electronics changed dramatically, as people began spending more and more time out of the office—working from home, on planes, in hotel rooms. They demanded faster, smaller, more integrated and energy-efficient electronics. At the same time, competition for their business grew more and more intense. Major competitors sprang up in Europe and Asia, radically increasing the churn rate in product styling, feature integration, and speed of innovation. The crowded competitive space forced prices down and mandated operating efficiencies, just as the investment community increased its demands for consistent earnings growth.

“It was under these conditions that the Motorola HR leadership team set out to create a more powerful strategy. Their goals:

  • Link HR practices to customer and shareholder requirements
  • Help drive business unit strategy while promoting coordination strong enough to have a multiplier effect on Motorola’s value.
  • Position Motorola as a more effective competitor.
  • Make Motorola’s culture capabilities with its desired marketplace brand identity.
  • Engage the enthusiasm and support of management and employees.

“Motorola provides a vivid case. Its experience illustrates the logic and process for developing a powerful HR strategy based on the concepts and best practices described. The company built a line of sight from investors and customers to its management and employees through more powerful HR practices. Working closely with senior line management, the HR leadership team identified the culture that the increasingly competitive environment required. Through this means, the HR leadership provided a powerful agenda for integrating staffing, performance management, training and development, structure, and communications with common business focus and direction.”

This book is not only for HR professionals but also for corporate leaders. It tackles HR practices that add value, process of building an HR strategy, the HR organization, roles for HR professionals, HR competencies that make a difference, developing HR professionals and implications for the transformation of HR. This book is a must for people who work with people and for people.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Website Up-To-Date

We're glad to announce that this website is now up-to-date. We have reviews of over 70 books, with the latest reviews (January and February 2007) also included. We hope you enjoy the reviews, and the books as well. We'll post a list of all 70+ reviewed books soon.

The latest book reviews are in the "Recent Posts" section on the right. Earlier book reviews can be found in the "Archives" section, also on the right.

Note that some reviews have a "Bookshelf" section at the end. These are other, related books we recommend for future or further reading, and at the time posting, have no reviews yet from this website.

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Ran out of books and book reviews to read? Head on over to the P&PC Library & Bookstore to browse for new books, or to go to for more books and more other stuff! Or, read articles on Learning & Innovation.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

3 Books on the Heart and Soul of Management

By William A. Guillory, Ph.D
(Innovations International, Inc)

By Beverly Langford

By Jack Canfield and Jacqueline Miller

To get started on developing your heart and soul as you manage, test your Courtesy Quotient (CQ) by Beverly Langford in her book, The Etiquette Edge.

The answer key is somewhere in this newsletter. Some situations may depend more on good judgment than on a widely accepted rule. Choose the one answer with which you would feel most comfortable. You may wish to retake the quiz after reading the book to see if you have changed your mind about any of your answers.

1. You are in the office on the telephone, and another call comes in. You should: (a) ask the person if you can put him on her on hold while you answer the call; (b) let voice mail take it.

2. You call a colleague and put your phone on speakerphone. Another coworker is in the room. You should: (a) mention neither the speaker phone nor the other person in the room; (b) tell the person on the phone that you wish to use the speakerphone, mention the other person in the room, and ask the person on the phone if this is okay. (c) Tell the person on the phone that you are using the speakerphone but don’t mention the other person in the room.

3. You have exchanged a couple of angry emails with a coworker who, in your opinion, is being unreasonable. It’s getting out of hand. You should: (a) stop the communication and let things cool off; (b) send one more blistering email, summarizing the situation and how upset you are with that person’s behavior, and cc the recipient’s boss; (c) change the medium. Call the person on the telephone or go sit down face-to-face.

4. You’re presenting to a potential client. Suddenly his/her body language turns very negative. You should: (a) try to engage the person in some interaction; (b) stop in the middle of the presentation and ask that person what is wrong; (c) ask questions to determine what you said that was upsetting and attempt to rectify the situation; (d) ignore the reaction and finish your presentation as planned.

5. You’re delivering an important presentation that you don’t want interrupted with questions. You should: (a) refuse to answer the first question that someone asks, the rest of the audience will get the message. (b) tell the audience beforehand that you prefer to answer all questions at the end of the presentation; (c) answer questions as they are asked, even though you prefer not to.

6. When communicating across language barriers, putting things in writing (a) should be avoided, it can insult the international visitor’s intelligence; (b) can be helpful, it is usually easier to read English than to hear it; (c) can be confusing, it is usually easier to head English than to read it.

7. Learning to speak a few words of the language of clients, customers, or coworkers whose first language is different from yours is (a) generally a good idea, as the effort communicates respect for the other culture; (b) generally not a good idea because they may feel patronized; (c) generally not a good idea because they might be offended if you make a mistake in vocabulary or pronunciation.

8. If you meet someone whose body language is much more outgoing and expressive than yours, you should: (a) attempt to match it; (b) not attempt to match it.

9. If you meet someone whose body language is much more restrained than yours, you should: (a) attempt to match it; (b) not attempt to match it.

10. True or false: A smile is an almost universal way of communicating goodwill and cheerfulness.

11. When answering a business phone, always answer: (a) with a simple hello, it sounds more approachable and less pretentious; (b) with your name; (c) with your name, department, title, and a greeting.

12. When others are close by, for example in an elevator, it is okay to use your cell phone: (a) for extremely private conversation, after all it’s your business; (b) for lengthy conversations, so you don’t get tied up at the office; (c) for short conversations of a non-sensitive or non-confidential nature.

13. When you reach a doorway at the same time as a person of the opposite sex, the following rules apply: (a) whoever arrives first should open it and hold it for those who are following; (b) men should open doors for women; (c) women should open doors for men to prove they are no longer oppressed; (d) always open and hold the door for someone of either sex if that person has his or her hands full.

14. When exiting an elevator and a more senior person is toward the back, always (a) step aside to let that person exit first; (b) exit first if you are closes to the door.

15. When writing a business letter, the inside address should (a) always contain a courtesy title (Mr., Mrs., Dr.); (b) never use a courtesy title. That’s passé.

16. When having a business lunch, who pays? (a) a business lunch is always “dutch treat;” (b) you always pay for a client’s lunch; (c) you never pay for a client’s lunch, it’s insulting; (c) whoever invited the other person to lunch pays.

17. On a dress-down day, which item(s) of clothing is/are generally considered inappropriate? (a) khaki slacks; (b) solid t-shirts; (c) sweatpants; (d) baseball caps; (e) polo-type shirts; (f) loafers without socks; (h) thong sandals; ((h) jeans.

18. You are in a meeting with a client and several of your colleagues, and you realize your boss’s fly is unzipped. You should: (a) make a joke about it, and put everyone at ease; (b) tell him immediately, even if you don’t know him well; (c) ask someone who knows him better to mention it.

19. You have just head a coworker in the cubicle next to yours speak rudely to a client on the telephone. You should: (a) wait until the call is finished, then tell the person that the behavior is unacceptable; (b) tell your boss; (c) respect your coworker’s privacy and refrain from commenting.

20. If you are managing a meeting when an adversarial relationship is present, try to make sure that: (a) people sit with those with whom they agree; (b) the seating is mixed to encourage open dialogue and discourage an adversarial environment.

In his essay, Rub Somebody the Right Way, in the book Heart at Work, Bob Nelson writes about people that “rub us the wrong way.” “People whose personalities, mannerism or attitudes about life don’t agree with our own and who as a result we choose not to associate with. I think, it’s time we stated calling attention to others who ‘rub us the right way.’ A good place to start is by appreciating others. Practice praisings ASAP.”

As soon: Timing is very important when praising. To be the most effective, the thank you should come as soon as possible after the achievement or desired activity has occurred.

As sincere: Words alone can fall flat; you need to praise because you are truly appreciative and excited about the other person’s success.

As specific: Avoid generalities in favor of details of the achievement because specifics give credibility to your praising.

As personal: Praise the person face-to-face to show that the gesture is important enough for you to put aside everything else you have to do and just focus on the other person.

As positive: Concentrate on the praise and save the corrective feedback for the next similar assignment. The “but” becomes a verbal erasure of all that came before it.

As proactive: Praise toward desired goals.

Canfield and Miller collected about 85 essays managing for self-esteem, caring and acknowledging by known writers such as Ken Blanchard and Art Buchwald that will surely warm your heart not only this February, but always. This might as well be your comfort book.

On the other hand, Dr. Guillory answered a lot of frequently asked questions about spirituality and the workplace.

What is spirituality? Spirituality is our inner consciousness. It is the source of inspiration, creativity, and wisdom. Each of us has a spiritual center or inner core self, which is our connection to this source of inner knowing.

What does the word spiritual mean? That which is spiritual comes from within—beyond our programmed beliefs and values; beyond the survival instincts of the mind. It benefits self and others and creates alignment of others. It comes from surety, creates inner meaning and motivation about work, creates inner peach in one’s self, is a natural desire to help others grow, learn and succeed and respects and values individual and group dignity.

Is there a difference between spirituality and religion? Yes. Spirituality is “essence” and religion is “form.”

What is the relationship between spirituality and work life? Work life has become so demanding, fast-paced, stressful, ambiguous, and chaotic that we are forced to seek values-based answers and ways of achieving personal stability from within. The only source that will sustain our adaptation and stability in the long is our inner wisdom.

In order to compensate for the loss of job security and the continuing need for high-performing employees, today’s productive and profitable workplaces require organizational cultures that integrate humanistic core values with core business policies, decisions, functions, and behaviors; cultures that support the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of its employees.

What is the role of leadership in promoting spirituality? Define how spirituality plays out in your organization, including an appropriate definition of spirituality in your workplace. Define how spirituality is integrated into your strategic plan. Do a spirituality survey. Make certain your performance surveys include an evaluation of how effectively your organizational core values are practiced. Create an environment of trust—where employees feel safe to question, learn and contribute. Require personal development seminars, including values clarification and expected humanistic behaviors.

Aside from direct answers to questions, Dr. Guillory also included in his book a Spiritual Survey and how to be a spiritual leader in your own organization by integrating humanistic values with sound business practices.

Answers to CQ Survey:
1. b
2. b
3. c
4. a,c
5. b
6. b
7. a
8. b
9. a
10. True
11. b
12. c
13. a, d
14. b
15. a
16. d
17. c, d, g, h
18. c
19. c
20. b

18-20 You could write this book.
15-17 You usually know how to handle yourself.
12-14 It would not hurt to brush up
Below 12 You may need to do some damage control.

Bobbie: 02.15.07

Monday, February 12, 2007

Welcome back!

More than 20 book reviews have been posted now (all dated prior to Feb 2007, as they first appeared in their respective publications).

Each post/article contains a review of at least 2 books, with the 2 or more books having a common theme. For example, read reviews of books about marketing, innovation, leadership, corporate social responsibility, and so on.

Check out the Recent Posts, or check out the early book reviews in Archives.

P.S. Read articles by Moje Ramos-Aquino from her Learning & Innovation column at The Manila Times, Business Times Section here.

For the meantime also, check out The P&PC BookStore! Don't forget to have your credit card ready... ;-) Click here to visit The BookStore!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


Welcome to the P&PC Book Reviews page!

More than 40 book reviews and recommendations shall be posted soon! Please visit us again!

For the meantime, check out The P&PC BookStore! Don't forget to have your credit card ready... ;-)

Click here to visit The BookStore!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

4 Books on Going Out-of-the-Box for Results

By Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson

By 55 Top Business Leaders
With an introduction from William J. O’Neil
Founder of Investor’s Business Daily

The Book of NO
By Susan Newman, Ph.D

By Richard Bayan

Every time I go to the USA, I am drawn to the theme parks of Walt Disney Company. Disney, indeed, explores beyond and delivers results. There is always something new in their facilities or they seem to be always new. So there is always a sea of young and young-once moving in a pattern around the park.

“Peter Drucker once said, ‘When you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.’ Those who have prospered despite a pathway of obstacles have done so with an inner compass that steers their course: deeply held values that have crystallized and led them to achieve tangible results. Walt Disney, the great storyteller and innovator, had such a compass that defined his enviable empire. His four steps were simple:

1. Dream beyond the boundaries of today.
2. Believe in sound values.
3. Dare to make a difference.
4. And then just go out and do it: Dream, Believe, Date, Do.

“Walt Disney explained his success this way: I dream, I test my dream against my beliefs, I dare to take risks, and I execute my vision to make those dreams come true.

“Dream, Believe, Dare, Do. These words reverberates across the decades of Disney achievement. Everything Walt did—every choice he made, every strategy he pursued—evolved from these four principles.”

In subsequent pages of this paperback, the authors shared the details of Walt’s four steps. Easy read and usable ideas.. Last word from him: “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

Among the top business leaders who shared their success in this book are: media innovator Oprah Winfrey (staying positive helped her climb to the top); publisher Katharine Graham (built her career on persistence and integrity; Paychex’s Thomas Galisano (built business by hiring for guts instead of know-how); Barney creator Sheryl Leach (relied on common sense to help her build a purple empire); aviation pioneer William Boeing (in building his empire, he bowed to just one authority); Nvidia’s Jen-Hsun Huang (his laserlike focus helps keep his company on top); IGT’s Charles Mathewson (relationship-building helped him win big); Nokia’s Jorma Ollila (with innovation and insight, he made his company no. 1 and Starbuck’s Howard Schultz (kept his passion as fresh as the morning coffee).

Let’s focus on 99 Cents Only Stores’ David Gold and how he ignored status quo to break new retailing ground. “Gold’s success story reads something like those of other retailers. He works hard, finds and sells products with good value and focuses on serving customers. But the parallels stop there.”

He was sure that he needs dedicated, loyal employees to grow his company in the healthiest way. So Gold decided award options to every member of his stores. “The one thing that gratifies our family the most is that every single employee gets stock options after six months whether they’re part time or full time. The firm granted options worth 985,444 shares to employees in 1999 alone. No options went to Gold, his two sons, Howard and Jeff, or the president and Gold’s son-in-law, Eric Schiffer. The options hold the potential to enrich each employee, and they also inspire a company-wide drive to succeed.”

On the other hand, Intel co-founder Robert Noyce thought the best way to make a leap forward was to give talented people the tools they needed and then get out of the way. He saw his job as: “People come here because of their abilities. My job is to remove all impediments to progress and give them as much freedom as possible. Optimism is an essential ingredient for innovation. How else can the individual welcome change over security, adventure over staying in safe places?”

Very engaging and inspiring read.

To move forward, we need to say NO!, mean it and stop pleasing people forever so says Dr. Newman. Let’s examine these examples, The Scenario 1: “I have another question. Do you have a minute?” What’s going on here: It’s not yet noon and the guy in the next cubicle has been in yours four times with different questions on the same problem. As this point you want to say, “Just leave it on my desk and I’ll do it.” Don’t!

Response: “Work with the information you have and we’ll talk later.”

Alert: You have to take a strong stand in order to get your own work done and not be manipulated into doing someone else’s work.

The Scenario 2: You boss says, “A new client, a rush job. Can you take it on? What’s going on here? You can feel the weight of the job as soon as the question hits your ears. You can’t imagine squeezing in one more client, and a rush job to boot. Before answering think about what’s on your plate already and if this new client may or may not move you in the direction of your goals.

Response: “Not me, not unless you take me off several projects.”

Alert: When you carry a full load, doing more doesn’t necessarily equate to increased job security. It will, however, greatly add to your anxiety and exhaustion.

Sounds familiar? Dr. Newman has 248 other examples of how to say no with friends, family, really difficult persons and at work. Read the examples, try them and live and work in peace.

Many times the reason we couldn’t move ahead is the negative words in our vocabulary that condition our minds to act and think negative. Author Bayan put together more than 6,000 words and phrases to help you promote your products, services and ideas.

For example, instead of the usual new/advanced, use just published, just released, now available, fresh, sleek new, shiny new, newly minted, amazing new, bold new, innovative, ultramodern,, starling, futuristic, revolutionary, groundbreaking, breakthrough, the next generation of and many others. Hmmm, cutting edge!

For the word suitable, you could use a perfect match, ideally sized, it’s the real you, mirrors your, a welcome addition to your collection, designed to suit your needs, the ultimate in versatility, etc. Try feisty, gutsy, scrappy, sharp, astute, shrewd, potent, daring, forceful, goes the distance, commanding and masterful to mean competitive.

Wow, amazing words that make perceiving and thinking easy. This book is handy reference for when you are stuck with a word and kept repeating it monotonously in the same page.