Soundview Executive Book Summaries


Age Profiling in the Workplace

In my blog post back on April 11th, I wrote about the need for companies to develop a work ethic among Generation Y employees as part of my coverage of our webinar with Eric Chester. But as I was writing, I couldn’t help but think of several young adults I know who have a very strong work ethic. Is it fair to toss them in with the rest of Gen Y?

Over the past decade a host of books have been published on the differences between the generations of workers, with labels like Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Millennials and so on. As you read books like The 2020 Workplace, Bridging the Boomer-Xer Gap, Generations at Work and similar titles, the authors use the differences between the generations to talk about their skills and weaknesses as groups, and how to take advantage of the skills and overcome the weaknesses.

These are very helpful books in dealing with the big picture of the mixed bag which is our employee pool. These authors answer the important question of how we make the most of each generation’s abilities and also smooth over the wrinkles that appear as these generations mix in the workplace.

But at the same time we must recognize that not every individual of a certain age-range is going to be the same as their peers, and that there is a great overlap between these generations. Also, other factors come to bear in what makes people different including other demographic factors and upbringing.

Mary Anne Osborne, in a guest blog for Sage HR, warns us of the risks of age profiling. She states “But of key concern here is not letting externally perceived notions of generational tendencies cloud judgment of character.” The danger of making assumptions about a person based solely on their generational group can lead to costly mistakes in hiring and training.

Osborne give the example of Generation Y, which some characterize as needy, disloyal and self-entitled. And yet this generation has brought us Groupon, Facebook, Tumblr and foursquare.

The key lesson here is to make use of what we know about the general characteristics of each generation while always giving each individual the benefit of the doubt. The old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” applies here. Don’t judge a person by their “generational cover” – give them a chance to show their true merits.



All Play and No Work Makes Johnny Worthless

American companies are facing a workforce crisis which is commonly called Generation Y. As companies continue to demand productivity and performance from this new generation of workers, these young employees are not demonstrating the work ethic needed to meet company expectations. And this has affected morale and profitability across the country.

Eric Chester, who is an expert on this new generation, expresses the concern well in his Who’s Really Entitled list, which lays out the expectations that employers have for their workers. On the lighter side, he also communicates the broader issues in his song called The Work Ethic rap.

Chester has some sobering words for American companies: “Parents now focus most of their attention on ensuring that their kids are healthy, happy and have high self-esteem. Meanwhile, schools are facing wide-spread criticism and massive cutbacks, and are concentrating every available resource on increasing test scores and keeping students safe. Therefore, the burden of developing work ethic within the emerging workforce has shifted to employers.”

What is work ethic? In Reviving Work Ethic, Chester defines it as “knowing what to do and doing it. It is marked by an individual’s positive attitude, reliability, professionalism, initiative, respect, integrity, and gratitude.” So how do we instill this is Generation Y when they’ve grown up without it?

Chester’s solution revolves around communication. We need to communicate the knowledge of how to do a job, and then we need to communicate the values behind what we do. He emphasizes that it takes repetition to get across this information. He also makes clear that work ethic thrives best in community, not in isolation. So as workers are trained, there needs to be reinforcement of the values and knowledge from those around them.

Are you struggling with a lack of work ethic in your young workers? Then you’ll greatly benefit from our upcoming Soundview Live webinar Reviving Work Ethic in the Emerging Workforce. Eric Chester will present his experienced view of the next generation of workers and will also be taking questions from participants. Join us on April 19th and learn how to instill work ethic in your employees.



What Is a Healthy Company?

Over the past few years I’ve noticed an increased reference in news articles and books to the subject of organizational health. In a Fortune article back at the end of 2010, Colin Price pointed to the demise of an emphasis solely on performance and a movement toward a more sustainable focus on the health of the organization.

But what does a healthy organization look like? Patrick Lencioni, in his latest book The Advantage, says “an organization is healthy when it is whole, consistent and complete, when its management, operations and culture are unified.” And he goes on to claim that “Healthy organizations outperform their counterparts, are free of politics and confusion and provide an environment where star performers never want to leave.”

Can you imagine an organization free from politics and confusion? But Lencioni says that it’s possible and offers four actionable steps to get there.

  1.  Build a cohesive leadership team – cohesive teams build trust, eliminate politics and increase efficiency.
  2. Create clarity – healthy organizations minimize the potential for confusion.
  3. Over-communicate clarity – healthy organizations align their employees around organizational clarity by communicating key messages.
  4. Reinforce clarity – organizations sustain their health by ensuring consistency.

This is of course only part of the picture, and Lencioni will be filling in the details at our Soundview Live webinar Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else on March 27th. Please join us and bring your questions for Pat.



Business Learning in Bloom with Three New Summaries

If you check your calendar today, you’ll notice that the first quarter of 2012 is rapidly coming to a close. How are you progressing on your personal and professional goals for the year? What about your people? Are your interactions with them leading to increased success for both sides? With spring upon us, it’s time to do what’s necessary to help your ambitions begin to bloom. To that end, here are three great new Soundview Executive Book Summaries to help your business development efforts:

 

by John C. Maxwell

The 5 Levels of Leadership by John C. Maxwell: The concept of 5 levels of leadership is one that John C. Maxwell has taught all over the world. The levels represent stages in leadership development starting with being the boss who people follow because you have been appointed as their leader, to reaching the pinnacle of leadership, when you are followed because of who you are and what you represent. In The 5 Levels of Leadership, you will learn how to master the ability to inspire people and achieve results. Maxwell details each level of leadership and provides a clear path to reach the next.

 

 

 

 

by Harrison Monarth

360 Degrees of Influence by Harrison Monarth: The best leaders influence those who are below and above them, as well as people external to the organization, such as customers and partners. In 360 Degrees of Influence, Harrison Monarth provides advice on how to gain the trust and respect of those around you and how to expand your influence well beyond your immediate environment. Providing valuable insight into human emotion and behavior, Monarth reveals the secrets to knowing what people are thinking and feeling — maybe better than they do.

 

 

 

 

by Gary Vaynerchuk

The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk: Gary Vaynerchuk’s Thank You Economy principles are about the way we communicate, the way we buy and sell, and the way businesses and consumers interact online and offline. Companies and brands are now competing on a whole new level in an entirely new business era. The Thank You Economy reveals how businesses can harness all the changes and challenges inherent in social media and turn them into tremendous opportunities for profit and growth.

To get your copies of these summaries in all of Soundview’s digital formats, visit Soundview’s Web site Summary.com.



Book Review: One Piece of Paper

What are the guiding principles of your management philosophy? If you were to make a list of the people, texts and experiences that molded you into the leader you are today, who and what would appear on the list? The majority of executives could fill a 32 GB hard drive with inspirational presentations, quotes and passages from books, and journal entries of their own successes and failures. Author, consultant and U.S. Army veteran Mike Figliuolo believes that while we are the sum of our experiences, the process of attempting to summarize what we’ve learned (and subsequently communicating those lessons to others) has become clouded. In One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership, Figliuolo teaches readers the process of concentrating their personal leadership philosophies into a set of maxims that fit on the titular 8.5″ x 11″ sheet. Figliuolo’s book is now available in multiple digital formats as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

One Piece of Paper offers a considerable challenge to any executive that attempts Figliuolo’s method. While the process of creating one’s list of leadership maxims seems simple, Figliuolo spends a significant amount of time explaining the complexities of why the maxims govern your ability to lead yourself, individuals and teams. One of the book’s greatest strengths is Figliuolo’s willingness to share his personal experiences. His biographical anecdotes serve not only as a demonstration of the Maxims Approach, but they also solve one of the most common questions for readers of any business book: Does the author practice what he or she preaches? In Figliuolo’s case, he provides one example after another that answers a reader’s question in the affirmative.

To get your copy of the Soundview Executive Book Summary of One Piece of Paper in any of Soundview’s digital formats, visit Soundview’s Web site, Summary.com.



Creating Ownership in Your Company

Although we place a high value on the knowledge and expertise of business gurus and authors, there is also much to be learned from executives who are out in the trenches of the business world, running companies and making decisions every day. This is the focus of our Executive Insight video series.

In a recent video, we interviewed Roseline Marston, president of A.D. Marble & Co., which provides environmental, cultural and engineering services focusing on archeological and historical structures. A.D. Marble is an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) company, and Ms. Marston provides some excellent insight into how to create ownership in your company that goes well beyond just owning stock.

I have pulled out a few leadership principles that I culled from the interview, but you’ll want to watch the whole video:

  1. Physical presence is essential – Marston doesn’t depend on email to run her company. She regularly visits all six of their sites, and while there, works from a cubical next to other employees. She also works closely with each office manager and uses video conferencing when needed.
  2. Keep financials transparent – not only do employees see the financials on a regular basis, but they’re also trained in how to interpret them. In this way everyone knows how things are going, and are aware of crises early on.
  3. Ownership is important – knowing what is happening financially helps employees to better see how their work affects the bottom line.
  4. Feedback keeps things running smoothly – A.D. Marble solicits feedback from customers and employees about how they’re doing, and Marston applies this feedback to make improvements.
  5. Handle conflict directly – while the company has procedures in place for major breaches in behavior, all other issues are handled first at the peer-to-peer level.
  6. Leadership trumps management – Marston looks for potential leaders within the company, watching for those that demonstrate selflessness, loyalty and accountability. Leadership is not just about position, but about attitude and action.

If you’d like to watch the whole interview, or to enjoy our other Executive Insights videos, you can subscribe to Soundview Executive Book Summaries. All editions include the monthly video interviews. And we’d love to hear back about what you’re learning as well.



Book Review: Reviving Work Ethic

by Eric Chester

There have been a number of business books that attempted to address the continued meshing of multiple generations in the workplace. Reviving Work Ethic: A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement and Restoring Pride in the Emerging Workforce by author and management consultant Eric Chester addresses this issue from a particular angle. It’s now available in multiple digital formats as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

You’re probably familiar with the basics of the situation. The economic crunch of the past several years left Baby Boomers in a position where the certainty of retirement vanished. As a result, Boomers are staying in their current positions. Hovering beneath them in a holding pattern are Generation Xers and their younger counterparts in Generation Y. It’s the latter group that most concerns Chester.

Readers that believe Reviving Work Ethic draws a large target on the youngest segment of the work force would be mistaken. Chester makes well-supported claims that work ethic has declined across all segments of the American work force. Far from an indictment, the book posits that the current entrants to the work force hold the best hope for renewing the American ideal of work ethic. This is due to the youngest generation’s work habits not being fully formed. They remain malleable and, with Chester’s seven components of work ethic as a guide, can be shaped into the productive dominant leaders of tomorrow’s organizations. It’s inevitable that Boomers will have to leave their offices.Reviving Work Ethic provides hope that the offices’ next occupants will be capable of more than simply sustaining the achievements of their predecessors.

To get your copy of the Soundview Executive Book Summary of Reviving Work Ethic in multiple digital formats, visit Soundview’s Web site Summary.com.



Leadership, Quality and Work Ethic: Three New Must-Reads

While subscribers to Soundview Executive Book  Summaries frequently praise our variety of leadership titles, we take pride in the fact that our selections for the 30 Best Business Books each year help strengthen every aspect of an organization. To see a great example of this feature of Soundview, take a look at the three newest summaries to help your business reach new heights in quality, hiring and, of course, leadership.

by Eric Chester

Reviving Work Ethic by Eric Chester: Work ethic in America is fast declining, plaguing young and old alike. But in Reviving Work Ethic, Eric Chester shows that you do best to focus on your young employees — those whose habits and ideals can still be influenced. He presents an incisive look at the root of the entitlement mentality that afflicts many in the emerging workforce and shows readers the specific actions they can take to give their employees a deep commitment to performing excellent work. His advice is crucial to a healthy bottom line: too often, talented-but-difficult-to-understand younger workers stand between your company and its profits.

 

 

 

by Subir Chowdhury

The Power of LEO by Subir Chowdhury: Subir Chowdhury is the long-established global authority on the critical importance of quality and how to achieve it with Design for Six Sigma. Now, he takes it to the next level by showing you how to build quality into the DNA of your entire organization. In The Power of LEO, he describes how continuous focus on quality improvement can revolutionize any process from manufacturing operations to managerial decision making.

 

 

 

by Mike Figliuolo

One Piece of Paper by Mike Figliuolo: Based on leadership expert Mike Figliuolo’s popular “Leadership Maxims” training course, One Piece of Paper teaches decisive, effective leadership by taking a holistic approach to defining one’s personal leadership philosophy. Through a series of simple questions, readers will create a living document that communicates their values, passions, goals and standards to others, maximizing their leadership potential.

Don’t forget, each of these summaries are available in multiple digital formats. To learn more and to get your copy, visit Soundview’s Web site, Summary.com.



The Top Trends in Corporate Training

In a recent article on the HR.BLR.com website, consultant Dominic Cottone of The Leadership Conservancy listed trends in corporate training that we’ll see over the next decade. Here’s a summary of those trends:

  1. Employers will identify opportunities for employees to learn more—and be more proactive—about health and wellness, including ways to manage stress.
  2. Employers will encourage “attitudinal shifts” in how employees view training and development, so they can “embrace lifelong learning.”
  3. Although e-learning won’t replace classroom training, employers will increase their focus on e-learning and ways to train employees “in short bites.”
  4. Trainers will need to identify and develop training that is adaptable, can be changed on the spot, and can be changed easily.
  5. As companies expand their workforces overseas they will develop “truly global” training, and have employees complete “cultural sensitivity” training and training in foreign languages.
  6. As an aging workforce approaches retirement, employers must find ways to pass along older workers’ knowledge to younger or less experienced workers.
  7. A greater emphasis will be placed on leadership development with an increasing number of experienced leaders directly sharing their knowledge with up-and-coming employees.
  8. Companies will incentivize learners by tying their participation in training to performance management and promotions.
  9. New topics will include training on reputation management, teaching in a virtual environment, understanding the needs of a new generation of learners, and focusing more on training that covers ethics, interpersonal communication, skills for new managers, and refresher skills for longtime managers.

As I scanned this list of trends, I was reminded of the new features provided by Soundview’s Corporate Solutions Program. Our multi-media library now includes book summaries with content assessments, author webinars, video interviews with executives, skill-focused newsletters, author interviews, and audio summaries of HSM World Business Forum and Innovation Forum events.

And now all content is mapped to over 46 competencies to help companies connect content with their corporate priorities. Because this business information can be used on all computers and mobile devices, and the library can be integrated into any LMS system, we support many of these trends.

Are you seeing these same trends coming, and if so, how are you preparing to meet the new demands for training in your company or by the content you’re providing?



The Decision to Trust

I ran across a 2010 article by the Pew Research Center entitled Distrust, Discontent, Anger and Partisan Rancor. Some of the numbers were surprising and discouraging. We are currently at our lowest level of trust in government since before 1978. Barack Obama has the lowest trust rating of any president over the past eight administrations, including Richard Nixon.

And this isn’t just a trend in our view of the government. The Pew research also shows a low rating of trust in banks, large corporations, national news media, the entertainment industry and labor unions. Those organizations in which we have high trust include colleges & universities, churches, small businesses, and technology companies.

I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised then that there is a new trend in business books around the topic of trust. Stephen M.R. Covey just released his second book on trust called SmartTrust. Other recent books include Liars and Outliers by Bruce Schneier, Trust Agents by Chris Brogan & Julien Smith, and The Decision to Trust by Robert Hurley.

Hurley’s book is especially interesting in that he not only makes a strong case for the importance of trust in organizations, he also provides the steps to building trust at all levels. Here is what Hurley promises that we can learn and do about trust:

•Make better decisions concerning who to trust, to avoid harm and increase pressure on untrustworthy agents to reform themselves.

• Allocate your trust building energy better by appreciating how different people approach the trust decision.

• Identify the root cause of trust issues based on 10 trust factors.

• Offer concrete interventions and reforms that can enhance trust in each of the 10 trust

factors.

• Clarify in which situations building and repairing trust can work and those where it

may not work.

• Provide a method for enhancing trust at different levels: with a person, within teams,

across teams, across national cultures, within organizations, and in leadership.

If you found yourself nodding with agreement at the lack of trust in your organization, then you might benefit from our upcoming Soundview Live webinar with Robert Hurley, How to Create a High-Trust Organization. Hurley will discuss the trust crisis in detail and, more importantly, tell us how to turn things around.




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