Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Learn to manage the 'Gurus' - who's who

'Gurus' to look out for or read up on are:

Richard Pascal and Anthony B Athos - 'The Art of Japanese Management'

McKinsey - 'Seven S Model'

Peter Drucker - 'Flatter Mangement Structures'

Tom Peters - 'Thriving on Chaos'

Tom Peters & Robert Waterman - 'In Search of Excellence'

Michael Porter - 'The Competititve Advantage'

George Stalk Jnr & Thomas M Horr - 'Competing Against Time'

Rosabeth Moss Kanter - 'When Giants Learn to Dance'

John Harvey-Jones - 'Managing to Survive'

John Harvey-Jones - 'Making it Happen'

John P Kotter - 'A Force for Change'

Peter M Senge - 'The Fifth Discipline'

Warren Benn - 'On Becoming a Leader'

Peter Drucker - 'Managing the Non-Profit Organisation'

Peter Drucker - 'Management: Tasks Responsibilities Practices'

Peter Drucker - 'Managing for Results'

Theodore Levitt - 'Thinking about Management'

Kenneth R Andrews - 'The Concept of Corporate Strategy'

Kenichi Ohmae - 'The Mind of the Strategist'

Kenishi Ohmae - 'The Borderless World'

Charles H Kepner & Benjamin B Tregoe - 'The New Rational Manager'

Mark McCormick - 'What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School'

Henry Mintzberg - 'Mintzberg on Management'

Peter M Sluger - 'The Fifth Discipline'

Campbell & Tawardey - 'Mission and Business Philosophy'

Robet H Waterman Jnr - 'The Frontiers of Excellence'

Rober P Waterman Jnr - 'The Renewal Factor'

Geert Kofstode - 'Cultures and Organisations'

Michael Hammer & James Champney - 'Reengineering the Corporation'

John P Holter & James L Heshett - 'Corporate Culture and Performance'

Andrew Campbell, Marion Devine and David Young - 'Sense of Mission'

Henry Neave - 'The Deming Dimension'

Philip Crosby - 'Quality is Free'

Richard Whiteley - 'The Customer - Driven Company'

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Improve Your People Skills

People skills are the key to success, yet they all depend on one fundamental insight: nobody knows for sure what you are thinking or feeling - they can respond only to your behaviour. Getting the best from others, therefore, means monitoring and modifying how you behave.

This key principle can decisively boost your effectiveness in the office or the boardroom, when chairing and coaching, interviewing and influencing, presenting and planning. With section on topics ranging from Bullying, Competencies, Diversity and Empowerment to Listening, Mentoring, NLP and Values.

Peter Honey (CIPD)

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The Good Manager's Guide

Through the medium of a comprehensive series of practical and authoritative checklists, this book gives you the confidence to make the right decisions ... fast.

The second edition has been extensively revised and rewritten with the inculsion of over fifty brand new checklists.

Trevor Boutall (MCI)

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Effective Leadership

The art of good leadership is highly prized and demands a keen ability to appraise, understand and inspire both colleagues and direct reports.

This book is carefully structured to ensure a steady, easily acquired insight into leadership skills. So you understand leadership, develop leadership abilities and grow as a leader.

Adair (Pan)

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

The Leadership Challenge

The first edition was seminal and totally original. It became a modern classic on leadership practically overnight. With this new edition, with new cases and concepts and action steps that are even riper and more important, Kouzes and Posner go way beyond their earlier work and have made yet another brilliant contribution to leadership studies. This new book, a product of an unusual collaboration, is essential reading for everyone involved or concerned with leading.

Kouzes & Posner (Jossey-Bass)

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Clarifying Customer Expectations - Key Actions

  • Identify the product or service and explain why you want to discuss it
  • Ask questions to clarify what the customer expects from your product or service
  • Summarise your understanding of the customer's expectations
  • Discuss what you will do to meet these expectations
  • Agree on next steps and set a follow up date

Friday, 12 March 2010

Challenging HR

What does that mean then?

I was recently asked why the company is called what it is. I could give you lots of really well thought through marketing reason why we chose 'Challenging HR' and all of them would be true. But the it would appear that things happened it a certain chronological order. In trueth the name came first and whether it fitted with what we are about came second.

We are often asked what we mean by it and in trueth it means several things. It also means different things to different people, which in it's own way also fits what we are about. Developing people is never what you would call an exact science. More importantly what does it mean to you? When you have worked that out, do let me know.

What Color is Your Parachute?

When people tell my they are reviewing their life and/or their career I pretty much know what is coming next. It is a question about what book can I recommend that may help. Well, for all those people who have asked or who are about to .......... here it is.

This is that book! It has been the job-hunting classic for decades, and is updated by Bolles each rear.

After I read it 1996 (and working through a dozen of the exercises) I knew that it should be required reading for anyone who wants to successfully carve out their own career niche.

It is about taking chances, gaining confidence and making changes in your career and life.

Richard Bolles (Ten Speed Press)

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Book on Resilience

'Resilience: Bounce Back from Whatever Life Throws at You'
by Jane Clarke and John Nicholson
(Nicholson McBride)

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Every manager and executive will recognise themselves somewhere in this book. Lencioni distills the problems that keep even the most talented teams from realising their full potential. Even more important, he shows how to solve them.

Patrick Lencioni (Jossey-Bass)

Keep it in Proportion

Have a Sense of Proportion It's easy to say and more difficult to do, but try to be a little more relaxed about things. Your resilience changes over time; it's not set hard and fast with your personality. If something takes you by surprise, you need to be flexible in order to cope. Jung suggested that we only had so many resourses to deal with stressful situations. So if more than one thing is happening at a time you may need decide where you want to focus your emotional resources.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Reality Gap

Bridge the Gap Research shows that women regard themselves as being less resilient than men. But women are actually more resilient. You may look at a friend or a colleague and think they're amazing and can deal with anything, but they may actually be experiencing a lot of stress. Things aren't always what they appear!

Tools for Problem Solving and Analysis

Determine whether you need to expand your thinking, gather information, or organise information. Select an appropriate tool or technique and apply it.

This list covers some of the basic tools (all can be readily researched on the www)
  • A different point of view
  • Brainstorming
  • Pencil and paper brainstorming
  • Round-Robin brainstorming
  • Checksheet
  • Control Chart
  • Diagram
  • Double Reversal
  • Fishbone Diagram
  • Backward Fishbone
  • Bulletin Board Fishbone
  • Detailed Flow Chart
  • Force Field Analysis
  • Histogram
  • Pareto Chart
  • Planning Chart
  • Ranking
  • Rating
  • Run Chart
  • Scatter Diagram

The Advanced Power State

The post where I live often arrives through the door around 4pm. Late I know! But today's has just arrived. The earliest it has ever arrived, but delivering something that I have been waiting to be delivered for months.

David Tinney has promised himself that he would publish his book for years (it may even be decades) and it has finally arrived. It has gone straight to the top of my reading pile and I will post a review as soon as I have read and digested it's contents.

I have high hopes as the back page introduction goes:

'This book is about how to make you successful. It is my sincere belief that all you have to be is a little better that then person next door and you will shine. This book gives you the tools to make a success of yourself and thus whatever you drive yourself to do.'

So watch this space for the review....


ExpressExec is a unique business resource of one hundred books.

These books present the best current thinking and span the entire range of contemporary business practice. Each book gives you the key concepts behind the subject and the techniques to implement the ideas effectively, together with lessons from benchmark companies and ideas from the words smartest thinkers.

Organised into ten core subject areas making it easy to find the information you need:
  1. Innovation
  2. Enterprise
  3. Strategy
  4. Marketing
  5. Finance
  6. Operations and Technology
  7. Organisations
  8. Leading
  9. People
  10. Life and Work

It is the perfect learning solution for people who need to master the latest business thinking and practice quickly or have gaps they need to fill.

Monday, 8 March 2010

When Smart People Work for Dumb Bosses

Suffering under an intimidating supervisor? Mistreated by thoughtless management? Demeaned by a dictator? Bullied by a lazy boss? Used and abused by heartless company policy? You're not alone. The fact is that such nightmare situations are a way of life for many working people. But help is on the way. William and Kathleen Lundin, "therapists" for dysfunctional organisations, have helped hundreds of employees break the cycle.

This book offers hope for dealing with those "bosses from hell".

Lundin (McGraw-Hill)

Ask for help

A Helping Hand People who are more introverted and who tend to bottle things up will struggle on alone. If you can recognise a network of people around you, such as friends and family, you may help yourself become more resilient. Use their advice. Take on Board their positive feedback, as a lot of people brush of compliments and fix on negative feedback. Understand why these people love you, rate you and respect you. It's important to help you build your self-esteem, which in turn makes you more resilient.

How to get the most (for yourself) from Training

Before the programme - don't let training just happen to you
  • Find out all you can about the training programme you are about to attend
  • Complete pre-class work thoroughly
  • Get you workload in order before you go to the training programme

During the programme - get actively involved

  • Get to know the people in class with you
  • Help create a constructive learning atmosphere -Be active, listen actively to others, be positive, be on time and prepared
  • Be willing to try new things
  • Be willing to practice
  • Help make positive mid-course corrections
  • Build a solid plan for back-on-the-job implementation

After the program - stay focused on mastering the skills

  • Involve others
  • Implement your plan
  • Be willing to break old habits
  • Stick to it
  • Follow up
  • Give yourself credit where credit is due

Sunday, 7 March 2010


Take Control You need to be individually accountable. Are you a victim of circumstances or are you someone who thinks, 'What can I do about this?' If something goes wrong, you need to take control, In the workplace, the people who are really coping - especially in this economy - are optimists and those who take control of their own destiny.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Chill Out

Chill Out Easier said than done I hear you cry! It may be easier if we understand and therefore anticipate what exactly will cause us negative stress. Then taking action to deal with those stressful situations. If you have too much work to do, do something to distract yourself, like taking a walk or exercise. One spritual guru suggests "chopping logs or carrying water". Or deal with it by breaking down the problem into bite-size chunks. If you feel as if you're dealing with some aspects of the problem, you're more likely to feel less stressed.

Thursday, 4 March 2010


Think Happy  It is very important to be optimistic, almost to the point of being opportunistic.  Again from my previous comments this isn’t something you can do retrospectively.  For this, you need to be in tune with your thinking.  We all know people who have a little voice that tells them they are going to do badly, that things aren’t going to go as well as they had hoped.  A friend of mine springs to mind instantly, and whether it be about his job or having his kitchen refitted, it is always a self fulfilling prophecy. We all need to recognise where are thinking is negative or unconstructive and turn it around so it’s more positive.

How to be Resilient

Resilience is the topic that I have chosen as the first subject of my blog. Why you may ask!

It is probably the one topic that I have been hearing more than anything. Everyone from psychologist, spiritual guides and the HR press have all been focusing on for months.

And I read with interest this seven point explanation on how to escape the abyss (here is the 1st point):

Bounce Back Resilience is the ability to recover from difficult situations. My first job was in a High Street bank, but I soon started analysing people's behaviours. I discovered there are five characteristics that make you resilient - the ability to problem solve, optimism, flexibility, accountability and freedom from stress. My observations also tell me it can become clear, and very stressful, when people know what they need to do to become resilient but struggle to manifest these behaviours naturally.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


As an introduction to the blog it is probably worth letting you know what you can expect. It is my intention to use this space to comment on what is currently “going on” at the moment as far as current articles and the themes that I have heard being discussed. Although that observation may just be that everyone seems to be talking about something and no one doing anything particularly different about it.

I am not expecting to go all street and start coming up with deep and meaningful thoughts communicated in “txt spk” or “’tever” (I am not sure there has ever been a time that would have been right for me to try and do that, but it certainly isn’t right now!).

Something that I know I will have to do is share that odd occasion when something strikes me. Whether that be about a client, a delegate or even just with someone that I know.

So watch this space and speak to you soon.