Latest book reviews

by 16 Sep 2009

Results Through RelationshipsJoe Takash, John Wiley & Sons Inc $39.95

Practical insights to help improve performance and profit through people are offered by author Joe Takash in his book, which is loaded with ideas to add value to people’s lives.

Refreshing anecdotes and a recipe for arriving at more meaningful relationships is provided for employees from entry level to the CEO and are valuable lessons for HR personnel to pass on to help build authentic, long-term relationships.

Takash reminds readers that expressing sincere thanks in a personal, thoughtful manner is a powerful relationship-builder and that by its very nature, providing honest feedback via gratitude can drive positive results. A useful set of dos and don’ts can help avoid the pitfalls of coming across as less than genuine.

The reader is also reminded that becoming an exceptional listener is not a one-time achievement but, rather, a continuous process that is difficult to do consistently, because each situation has its own unique context of distractions. A “self audit” section includes a concise set of guidelines that can be revisited to ensure listening abilities are kept on track.

The final take-home message is that the foundation for greater effectiveness and business success is relationships

The Silver Lining, by Scott D. Anthony, McGraw-Hill Australia $45.00

Packing a powerful message for today's business leaders and HR personnel, The Silver Lining emphasises that the innovations companies create are the key to success.

When helping to run a company, employees and leaders need to stay ahead of their competition, be willing to give the customer what they want and be able to respond nimbly to change in the economy, industry and market - but what is the best way to achieve this? Whether change comes about gradually or abruptly in the form of a crisis, thinking about innovations that maintain competitiveness is the first step. But secondly, this book advises, it should be done strategically, rather than haphazardly.

Usually innovations will relate to some sort of convenience, accessibility, affordability, simplicity or reinvention but Anthony provides a guide to ensure resources (people, time and money) are effectively allocated for promising ideas that will transform the company. Explanations are accompanied in each chapter with specific recommendations on things that companies can do to innovate better as well as step-by-step guides, self-diagnostic tools, checklists and tips.

For HR personnel, this book is particularly insightful in offering advice on how to unleash transformation within a company, even during turbulent times.

Collaborative Leadership, David Archer & Alex Cameron, Elsevier $69.00

Archer and Cameron provide a rich and rewarding roadmap of why people behave the way they do. It is a useful guide for HR personnel and senior managers on how changing their own behaviour can effectively change the behaviour of others in the workplace. Collaborative relationships should be developed and sustained by both leaders and HR personnel across organisational boundaries and many of the traditional management and leadership styles are not appropriate or effective in these situations, argue the authors. Many case studies from real companies and individuals, as well fictionalised "how not to do its" are provided, as well as checklists, which turn the book into not only a good theoretical read but also a practical manual.

As the effect from the GFC mounts, trust has started to evaporate and now is the time for leaders in all levels of an organisation to build collaboration, they counsel.

By sharing leadership, rather than taking unilateral action, a company's success can rise because coalitions, alliances and partnerships are formed and hostility, broken relationships and conflict are resolved inclusively, providing solutions that are overall more satisfying for everyone.

Between Jobs, by Andrew May, Financial Services Partners, $24.99

It's happened to 5.8 per cent of the Australian working population, but don't despair, one writer is offering something practical and positive in light of tenuous employment times. Andrew May's Between Jobs: A Redundancy Survival Guide is practical, accessible, sometimes sad, sometimes funny, but always real and it could help anyone made redundant pick up the pieces more quickly.

As May points out, the words "You're fired" may be funny coming from Donald Trump's mouth on The Apprentice, but when they're directed at you they can be devastating.

He provides practical tips on the basics: how to tell your partner/family and friends about your redundancy without losing the plot; the first week "sucks", so don't even think about jobhunting until you come to terms with what's what; you will grieve, so understand the process and cut yourself some slack.

Sound simple? His approach and supportive advice is.

Later in the book he approaches the harder issues such as: What really matters? What is identity? And he stays faithful throughout to the concept that you must decide what's right for you and not be sidetracked by media hype and the prejudices of others.Financial Services Partners co-published the book with May and provide two chapters of their own. They also will donate $1 from every book sold to their Merrymakers charity.

If you or someone you know has been made redundant then Between Jobs is a hands-on guide to getting through it better, faster and stronger.