Steve Jobs; The 3rd Alternative; Dozens More – Keep Learning with our 15 Minute Business Book Synopses
These synopses are now available at our companion site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com.
Click on the Book Cover Image to order our synopsis, with handout and audio, of the book. (This will take you to our home page — scroll to the bottom of the page to see the image).
Problem: So many books, so little time.
I have dozens and dozens of “samples” loaded into my iPad Kindle app. I love the “samples” feature. It gives me a feel for the content of so many books. And my friend and blogging colleague Bob Morris shares quite a few books with me. It is wonderful.
But, now, the stack on my shelf, the stack on my little reading table, the “stack” in my iPad is sort of like The Blob (The Blob: An alien lifeform consumes everything in its path as it grows and grows), always advancing, growing larger by the minute. I’m about to be consumed by this blob of books….Aaghhhh…
You can’t help me, but I can offer a little help to you. Since April, 1998, Karl Krayer and I have presented synopses of best-selling, useful, important business books at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas. We record these presentations, and many of our synopses are available for your purchase at our companion site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com. Each synopsis comes with a handout, and the audio of our 15 minute presentation. (OK – many of them go about 17 minutes, with an occasional 18-20 minute presentation).
Many coaches are now playing these recordings for their clients. They have discovered that they are extremely useful in tackling a specific issue, and jumpstarting important conversations.
Listening to one of our synopses, while following along with the handout is, or course, not as good as reading the book. But, it is really, genuinely helpful.
Right now, you can purchase our synopses of recent presentations, including: Steve Jobs, The 3rd Alternative, Great by Choice. The home page of our site always lists, at the bottom of the page, the most recent additions. And the catalogue will give you our entire collection.
NOTE/WARNING: IF YOU HAVE NEVER ORDERED FROM US, please read the FAQs. Some of the recordings are a little old, and though they are understandable, they are not as “easy” to understand as the newer recordings from the last 2-3 years of presentations.
I promise you, these presentations will help you in your quest to keep learning; they will give you enough of the key content of the books that you can begin thinking about the “what do I do now with what I have just learned?” question; and they will help you know which books will be most valuable for you to read in their entirety.
Click here to read the FAQs.
Click here to browse through the catalogue (yes, you can search for a title).
And click here for the home page (the newest additions are always listed at the bottom).
Women don’t ask. They don’t ask for raises and promotions and better job opportunities. They don’t ask for recognition for the good work they do. They don’t ask for more help at home. In other words, women are much less likely than men to use negotiation to get what they want.
Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever: Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide
Karl Krayer and I have both presented synopses of books by the “Women Don’t Ask,” duo, Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever. I presented Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide, and Karl presented Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want. These are good books, built on solid research. And, it looks like their findings are changing the behaviors of women in the workplace. Women are learning to be more proactive in asking for promotions and raises and opportunities. So, this behavior should be producing the desired results and outcomes, right?
In For women in business, the squeaky wheel doesn’t get the grease, Nancy Carter and Christine Silva reveal that even as women have begun asking, it has not yet changed the outcomes. Here’s their summary finding:
If women are asking, but are still not advancing as quickly, maybe we need to frame things differently. Perhaps it’s not that women don’t ask—but that men don’t have to.
And, here are a few key paragraphs from their article:
Our recent Catalyst report, The Myth of the Ideal Worker, reveals that women do ask for raises and promotions. They just don’t get as much in return.
Women who initiated such conversations and changed jobs post MBA experienced slower compensation growth than the women who stayed put. For men, on the other hand, it paid off to change jobs and negotiate for higher salaries—they earned more than men who stayed did. And we saw that as both men’s and women’s careers progress, the gender gap in level and pay gets even wider.
Our findings run counter to media coverage of the so-called phenomenon that “women don’t ask.” Instead the problem may be, as some other research has shown, that people routinely take a tougher stance against women in negotiations than they take against men—for example quoting higher starting prices when trying to sell women cars or making less generous offers when dividing a sum of money. Catalyst research has shown a number of ways that talent-management systems can also be vulnerable to unintentional gender biases and stereotypes.
Are men being rewarded without even having to ask? Do women have to raise their hands and seek recognition to an even greater extent than men do, just to receive the same outcomes? Do women have to ask for the same thing multiple times before they get what they’re requesting? Do managers think women will accept a lower salary, while men will walk?
Catalyst’s research on high potentials in the workplace reinforces one core finding: gender gap can’t be explained away by women’s preferences or actions. It’s time for companies to find, and fix, bias in the system.
What is the solution? The authors write this: ”It’s time for companies to find, and fix, bias in the system.” It sounds like we need a generation of leaders who will simply become obsessive about being genuinely fair in regards to the salaries and promotions and opportunities for the women who work in their companies and organizations.
There is, pretty clearly, a bias toward favored treatment for men that has not gone away. It’s time for it to go away!
With rare exception, attitude determines altitude
Long ago, I became convinced that most human limits are self-imposed. This is what Henry Ford had in mind when observing, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re probably right.” In this volume, Mark Murphy is convinced that attitude usually determines how much a person can increase her or his “altitude” (i.e. how high one can ascend to higher levels of personal growth, professional development, performance improvement). As he explains in the Introduction to this book, “Most new hires do not fail on the job due to a lack of skill. My company, Leadership IQ, tracked 20,000 new hires over a three-year period. Within the first 18 months, 46 percent of them failed (got fired, received poor performance reviews, or were written up). And as bad as that sounds, it’s pretty consistent with other studies over the years and thus not too shocking.”
He goes on to point out, “What is shocking, though, is why those people failed. We categorized and distilled the top five reasons why new hires failed and found these results [i.e. deficiency]:
1. Coachability (26%)
2. Emotional Intelligence (23%)
3. Motivation (17%)
4. Temperament (15%)
5. Technical Competence (11%)”
Murphy wrote this book primarily to help those who read it “to select the high performers that will fit with and excel in [the reader’s] unique culture.” He does expect his readers to replace “the traditional, and generally failed approaches to hiring” with what he recommends. That will require them to make various changes (“both mental and physical”) as they work their way through the narrative.
There are frequent references to a metaphor, “Brown Shorts,” throughout the book whose meaning and significance Murphy explains as “the unique attitudinal characteristics that make your company different from all others. They are a list of the key attitudes that define your best people, but they also describe the characteristics of the people who aren’t making it. When you ask your candidates to ‘wear’ your Brown Shorts, you’re going to learn a lot from how they respond.” All this is explain thoroughly in the book, and I agree with Murphy that Brown Shirts “is a crazy name” but its relevance to his key points is direct and substantial.
I was especially interested in what he has to say about two categories of candidates that he discusses: Bless Their Hearts (“great attitudes but lousy skills”) and Talented Terrors (their exact opposite). Most candidates possess a combination of attributes of both in varying proportions. Murphy explains what desired candidates possess and offers a quick three-part test to assess whether or not sufficient Behavioral Specificity is being obtained during a “Brown Shorts Discovery” interview. In fact, he provides a wealth of information, insights, and recommendations. Whenever doing so, he reiterates two key points: (1) that each culture is unique and (2) that the selection process should therefore seek the best fit of candidate with the given culture.
There is one other portion of Murphy’s material that also needs to be noted: Word Pictures, a technique that he thoroughly explains in Chapter 7. Briefly, “it can be used to turn what you learned in Hiring for Attitude into a method for teaching attitude in orientations and onboarding and as a foundation of performance appraisal, coaching discussions, and so much more.” Details are best revealed in context. However, I feel comfortable when suggesting that mastering the skills of using Word Pictures effectively will indeed provide the “revolutionary approach” to which the book’s subtitle refers. The potential applications of that approach are almost unlimited.
Although Murphy’s focus is primarily on the hiring process, I think the same core values and principles that guide and inform that process should serve as the foundation of an organization’s HR policies and procedures. Ultimately, the success of recruiting, interviewing, hiring, onboarding, and talent management/ development depends almost entirely on first understanding – I mean REALLY understanding – one’s culture and its unique defining characteristics.
Here is an excerpt from a highly unorthodox, certainly thought-provoking article written by Mike Prokopeak for Talent Management magazine. To check out all the resources and sign up for a free subscription to the TM and/or Chief Learning Officer magazines published by MedfiaTec, please click here.
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Encourage leaders to think more about themselves — it may be the most selfless thing they can do.
If you were to list talent management priorities today, employee engagement and workforce collaboration would likely top many organizations’ lists.
Faced with increased competition, volatile business conditions and an extended period of tightened budgets, organizations are examining how best to boost productivity and make the most of their internal talent. An engaged workforce able to work together effectively is a clear answer.
How to create that engagement and promote collaboration is not so clear. As it turns out, an element of selfishness may be what’s needed.
Employee engagement is complicated. While many companies focus on the physical and intellectual aspects of engagement, it is workers’ emotional commitment to their work that is most important. And leaders play a critical role in driving that engagement — but not necessarily in the way many think.
Leadership is a purpose, not a practice, Stan Slap told an audience of HR practitioners in July at the Human Capital Institute’s Employee Engagement Conference in Chicago. That means leaders need to move from managing results to creating meaning and living their own deepest values.
“As a manager your most important responsibility is to the company. In leadership it’s responsibility to yourself,” said Slap, author of Bury My Heart at Conference Room B. “You will never really work for your company until your company works for you.”
Leadership at its heart is a selfish activity even though leaders often appear to do selfless things, Slap said. Leaders want to work where their values can be fully realized, and are most effective when they turn those values into a cause that engages and motivates others to follow them. Leadership skills are far less important than the emotional commitment that comes from following an inspired leader.
Failure to encourage leaders to follow their values compromises their integrity and decreases their own emotional commitment as well as that of their people. The result is decreased shareholder value.
“To not live your deepest personal values is a crime. What’s worse, it’s an unnecessary crime,” Slap said.
Encouraging leaders to be selfish can deliver engagement dividends. If managed right, it can also boost collaboration. Many corporate collaboration initiatives focus on the tools and technology to help people work together. When they do talk about techniques, they often leave out a key element in the rush to get people working together: individual motivation.
Rather than focusing on trying to be unselfish, encourage others to focus on their own goals and priorities and then find the partners to carry them out.
“We begin any partnership, all of us no matter how saintly or unselfish we are, with the idea that I can better accomplish what I’m trying to do working with this person than working alone,” said Rodd Wagner, a principal at Gallup and author of Power of 2: How to Make the Most of Your Partnerships at Work and in Life.
“Along the way as you get to know this individual, you start to let go of that selfishness a little. Of course, you still want to accomplish your own personal goal, but … you start to care about them being successful [and] realize the two of you share a common goal and they bring things into the mix that you don’t have and vice versa.”
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To read the complete article, please click here.
Mike Prokopeak is editorial director for Talent Management magazine.