We’ve been asked by many of our customers for periodic, no-nonsense emails with just-in-time information for managers and knowledge workers on how organizations work. This is our 12th edition and we hope you enjoy it.
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What We're Reading
The Thin Book of® Smart People Skills: 8 Tools for the Savvy Leader by Katina Cremona (Thin Book Publishing, 2007)
As promised last month, I'm reviewing our new Thin Book. I try to use the ThinZine as a way to share information as opposed to an ongoing advertisement. However, if this weren't our book, I'd still choose it to review. I've spent over a year working with the author on this book and I am still finding 'nuggets' that I can apply on a daily basis. Written by a coach with over 23 years of experience this book is a 'coach in a book.' Katina has culled her thousands of hours of coaching into 8 tools to address the most common areas that savvy leaders excel in. The tools are:
- Understand How You Think
- Build Relationships
- Focus on Process
- Recognize and Acknowledge Emotions
- Prepare for Conversations
- Ask Don't Tell
- Explore Before Problem Solving
- Foster a Performance Feedback Culture
When Katina sent the original book proposal to me, I was intrigued by the topics. I've been in leadership development work for over 30 years and have noticed that many people think they 'know' how to do these things well. However, when we review their 360 degree feedback, they score low on several of these areas.
For example, the Explore Before Problem Solving chapter is all about our default to problem solving with others who may just want someone to listen to their frustrations of the moment. My teenager will come and tell me his latest frustrations. But, he doesn't want advice, he only wants to be listened to. Contrast that to a colleague who goes directly to problem solving every time I talk to her no matter what the subject. She spends large amounts of time trying to fix something I don't see as a problem. I have to keep reminding her the real intent of our conversation is to share our experiences, not fix my so-called problems. Why do we do this? Katina gives us 5 reasons:
- We emphasize speed and fixing a problem feels like an accomplishment.
- We often create a crisis because we are operating at high speed and in that mode, everything looks like a crisis.
- Problem solving is habitual because we've learned that is what we get rewarded for at work.
- The emotions people have when letting off steam can be uncomfortable and we think if we fix the problem, the emotions will go away.
- And finally we want to feel competent. Helping others is a way to feel like we know what we are doing.
Katina then reminds us of the traps of problem solving. One of the examples she gives is that 'we assume words have the same meaning to everyone.' Here's how she puts it:
"It is amazing how often we use words like communication and leadership and assume everyone else defines them the same way. Even a simple word like fun can mean something different to each of us. During a team-building workshop a team member complained that the team didn't have enough fun together. Just as the team leader was about to ask for the team's agreement to organize a dinner, I asked the team what fun meant to them. Every person has a different meaning. By the time we heard from everyone, it was clear a team dinner was not the best solution."
There are also many examples of 'how to say it' highlighted in the book. Both of us have found that clients really like a template of how to say things. Each chapter ends with practical tips, including ones for managing upward, virtual teams and cross-cultural teams.
That's not only relevant to most organizations but to us as well . Katina and her husband are both Australian and of Greek ancestry. Last year they sold everything and moved from Australia to Greece to have a mid-life adventure. All of our work has been done virtually including the designer and printer in Dallas, the illustrator in New York, my editing in Bend, and reviewers from all over the world.
Of course, we really like this book. But, click here, to see what others are saying. Want to see more? Click here to download Chapter 1: Understand How you Think.
The book is going to press in the next few days, so you can pre-order now. The introductory price is $10, a 23% discount off the retail price of $12.95. This offer is good through October 31. Quantity discounts are available.
Click her to pre-order now
With a commitment to go as green as we can, this book will be printed on 100% re-cycled paper. We will also offer an ebook option soon, to meet the needs of our overseas customers.
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We hope you enjoy our latest book, continuing to fulfill our mission of bringing you just-in-time information for the manager or knowledge worker on how to make organizations more successful. This book also would make a good introduction to a leadership workshop. Early readers felt it was a great resource for newer managers. Other readers thought it was a wonderful review for experienced leaders. As Katina puts it, "This book offers you succinct and useful tactics that will provide results toward your strategic goals. Applied consistently, these people skills will help you improve relationships and performance."
Thanks for your interest and support.
Sue Annis Hammond