PSYCHOLGY BOOK REVIEWS

 

by Dennis William Hauck

 

 

Follow Your True Colors to the Work You Love

By Carolyn Kalil  (BookPartners Inc., Wilsonville, Oregon)

Reviewed by Dennis William Hauck

 

        This unique book is an interactive guide that makes it fun and easy to find out who you really are and match your personality to your career. The author promises that if you follow the simple steps in her book, you will quickly learn how to reclaim your true self and find your path to success. To make her case, she provides numerous anecdotes and first-hand reports from people whom she has helped in their search for self-expression and fulfilling careers.

        The True ColorsÒ method starts with examining four color cards that are included with the book. Each card carries symbols and descriptions of the four basic personality types. Those four kinds of persons have been have been the basis of various psychological systems for many centuries. In the fifth century B.C., Hippocrates described four dispositions (phlegmatic, melancholic, choleric, and sanguine) and Eastern astrologers incorporated the four elements of creation (Fire, Water, Air, Earth) into the twelve individual signs of the Zodiac. Alchemists believed the four elements were responsible for a person's temperament, and the modern psychologist Carl Jung reinterpreted the ancient teachings in fixed patterns of behavior he called the four psychological types (Thinking, Feeling, Intuition, and Sensation). According to Jung, each of us is born with a basic personality that we must transform to incorporate our best possible self. Psychological therapist Dr. David Keirsey has relabeled the four types in terms of mythological archetypes (Apollonian, Dionysian, Promethean, and Epimethean).

In this book, career counselor Carolyn Kalil uses the True Colors Personality System developed by consultant Don Lowry to simplify and enhance the basic idea of the four types. In their system, four colors (Gold, Blue, Green, and Orange) correspond to the deepest archetypes within each of us. When people need a detailed, organized person to get things done, do they always count on you? Do you show concern through the practical things you can do for people? Then you are the conventional Fire element of the sun's Gold color. On the other hand, are you a person who is driven by the constant challenge of new ideas? Do you like to do things that require vision, problem solving, ingenuity, design, and change? Then you are the conceptual, Air element, color Green.

Do you have a natural ability to communicate with people on a deeply human level? Do you value integrity and unity in relationships? Are you sympathetic and express your feelings easily? Then you qualify as the compassionate, Water element, Blue color personality. On the other hand, are you a resourceful, action-oriented leader who dislikes details, routine and rules? Do you value resourcefulness and energy and show your affection through physical contact? Then you are the courageous, Earth element, Orange color person.

By working with the True Color System and studying the cards, you will soon discover the color that best captures who you are. By identifying the color that is least like you and ranking the remaining two cards in between the extremes, it becomes easy to discover your true talents and maximize them. The next step is to determine your ideal career and put your soul into the work you do, thereby fulfilling and transforming your true nature.

 

 

The Mastery of Love: A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship

by Don Miguel Ruiz  (Amber-Allen Publishing, San Rafael, California)

Reviewed by Dennis William Hauck

 

        Although raised to be a Toltec spiritual leader by his mother (a curandera or healer) and his grandfather (a nagual or shaman), Don Miguel Ruiz abandoned his ancestral tradition to attend medical school and become a surgeon. However, his life's journey turned away from the modern world back to his Toltec roots one night in the early 1970s. Having fallen asleep at the wheel while driving two friends to a meeting, he awoke just in time to see their car careen into a cement wall. What happened next would change his life forever. In a moment of utter panic, he "escaped" from his mangled body and pulled his two companions to safety.

His brief though undeniable existence in this second body of golden light was more real than anything he had ever experienced, and it caused him to rethink his priorities and return to his family heritage. After earnestly learning all he could from his mother and grandfather, he completed his apprenticeship with a powerful shaman in the Mexican desert. Today, Don Miguel has rededicated his life to sharing his knowledge of the ancient Toltec teachings in his books, workshops, and guided tours to Teotihuacan ¾ the place where man "becomes God" through ascending levels of consciousness.

In the Toltec tradition, there are three fundamental levels of mastery. The first is "Mastery of Awareness" in which we become aware of who really are. The second is the "Mastery of Transformation" in which we learn to become spiritual warriors, forever stalking our actions and reactions so we can break free of the ego control that enslaves us. The third and highest level of achievement is the "Mastery of Love," and this book reveals the path to attaining it.

From the Toltec perspective, love is life itself, the secret guiding force of the whole universe. When we master love, we align ourselves with the Spirit of the Universe and begin to live in truth. Every action we take becomes an expression of universal love. So the path to love begins in our everyday relationships, in the emotions and feelings we share with others. By cultivating love in our lives, we gradually learn to recognize its power. Eventually, we no longer exist only in the body, the mind, or the soul; we become Love itself and incorporate all levels of our being within one incorruptible body of light and everlasting Love. We truly become one with God.  

 

 

Green Psychology: Transforming Our Relationship to the Earth

by Ralph Metzner  (Park Street Press, Rochester, Vermont)

Reviewed by Dennis William Hauck

 

        In his latest book, visionary psychologist Ralph Metzner examines the growing rift between human beings and nature. For millennia most cultures on earth existed in a religious and psychological framework that honored the planet as a partner and attempted to maintain a balance with nature – never taking more than was needed to survive. According to Metzner, a “pathology” developed as the Biblical idea of human dominion over nature took sway. This led to a fatal hubris built into Western civilization that has led to an alienation of the human spirit from its roots and allowed an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems that support all life on the planet.

        The relationship between the planet and its people is subtle and deep, but Metzner does a wonderful job of conveying it in a chapter called “Gaia’s Alchemy.” He shows that the cosmic pattern of “as Above, so Below” applies to planets and the life that evolves on them. In other words, there are fundamental correspondences between humans and earth. In terms of the archetypal alchemical elements, “Earth” is expressed in the planet by soil, minerals, and rocks, while in individuals it is expressed as flesh, muscle, and bone. Water on the planet is manifested as oceans, rivers, and rain, while in people it is blood, lymph, and hormones. Air on the planet is in the atmosphere, clouds, and winds, while in individuals it is in our respiration, breath, and voice. Fire on the planet comes from lightning and radiation, while in individuals it is found in our bioelectric nervous system and bodily metabolism.

What can be done to restore the planet’s delicate alchemy? Metzner looks for role models in human history, in our mythology and among shamanic cultures and mystics down through the ages. The search leads from pagan green gods and black goddesses to ceremonies with Lacandon Maya shamans and a modern vision quest in the California desert. He also examines the writings of mystics, such as the eleventh century abbess Hildegard von Bingen, who created an amazing view of nature mysticism within the framework of the patriarchal Catholic Church, where the idea of dominion over nature became primary dogma. The search for the origins of the splint between mankind and nature goes from ancient sky-god worshipping societies to the rise of a monotheistic view in Egypt, from animistic beliefs to the supremacy of mechanistic science. By the time the author is done, the reader has a clear view of the precarious human situation and how it came about.

The wound between the human psyche and life-giving nature is in all of us. We inherited it from the culture in which we were born, and our only hope is to start by healing the wound within ourselves. There are a number of groups in the world that are crucial to human survival, even though their importance is often underrated. The spread of the Gaia principle in deep ecology disciplines and ecofeminist movements is creating a new worldview in which the human mind and the health of the planet are harmoniously interwined. By bringing balance and harmony into the ecosystem, we will bring balance and harmony to our own minds and souls.

 

 

Artful Work: Awakening Joy, Meaning, and Commitment in the Workplace

by Dick Richards (Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco)

Reviewed by Dennis William Hauck

 

        This book offers an insightful look at management from the unique viewpoint of an artist. Dick Richards worked as a graphic artist for many years before becoming an instructor at the University of Ulster Business School, and he has successfully merged the two disciplines in his latest book. Richards’ premise is that all work can be artful, and that artfulness is the key to passion and commitment in the workplace. Applying the artist’s assumptions about work and life to the challenges facing managers and organizations in today’s rapidly changing world, he provides a new perspective on those challenges that is both practical and visionary. This book sings a provocative new tune for managers trying to make work more meaningful and joyful. You can’t see the forest for the trees is the old adage, and it applies equally well to organizations caught in shortsighted re-engineering. Basically, the author suggests that we leave the woods altogether.

        “In this book,” writes the author, “we will leave the woods of work and organizations as we know them. When we return to whatever patch of woods is familiar to us, I hope we will have new ways of seeing our current challenges. We will enter the woods inhabited by artists. Poets, potters, writers, filmmakers, and other artists hold strikingly similar beliefs about how the world works. These beliefs are significant for us and our organizations because they are about human energy and work. The time is right to explore artful work and its implications for business, because the threads we are currently weaving into our understanding of work and business, threads such as empowerment, ownership, and vision, are consistent with the beliefs of artists. The perspective of artists can be a powerful guide as we reinvent organizations and rethink work.”

        What is artful work? It is a new paradigm based on the artist’s view of life. In other words, there is a creative interplay between the worker and his or her work that has long been ignored in most organizations. From the artist’s perspective, there is no activity outside this creative interplay and all work can be artful and spiritual. As the artist creates the work, the work creates the artist. Moreover, the reward for the artful worker is in the doing, and the ambition of work is joy. This means that artful work demands that the artist control the work process because it requires the consistent and conscious use of the self.

        How can we become artful leaders? The first requirement is to master the processes of vision, of activating and concentrating human energy, and of building faith in ourselves and others. Secondly, start using the practices used by artists. Every artist must separate who he is from who the world wants him to be in order to be truly creative. Leadership and artistry are at least partly about being unlike other people and departing from their expectations.

        The artful leader must also commit to his or her own growth and learn the techniques of leadership. Sometimes lists of leadership behaviors are useful, much as a poet or painter must learn new forms and skills before they can be  transcended. However, a leader’s growth is also about the interior life and about his own unique purpose. Mere technique without purpose and without attention to interior life creates artistry of the surface only. So whatever techniques are attractive to the leader, they must be coupled with depth of understanding and purpose or they will be superficial.

        The author tells supervisors to worship emotion, spirit, and soul along with intellect and rationality. When we do, we learn, over time, to trust those aspects of ourselves which are the fundamental tools of artistry. The goal is to be able to express ourselves boldly and with passion, since much of the art of leadership involves language. Listen to yourself and the words you use, advises the author. Are they words of conformity: goal, objective, strategic plan, “it has come to my attention,” “as we informed you”? Where is the passion in these words? Where is the spirit? Speak in words that contain fearless colors!

        Ask an artist what he or she enjoys about work and, more likely than not, you will hear something about the everyday work process itself. A painter might point to the flow of paint from brush to canvas, or the mixing of colors. A poet might describe periods of quiet reflection or the creative search for an apt image. A fly-fisherman might recall the swish, swish of the line on a long cast. Leadership is artfulness in progress. Leadership is also work, and to be artful it must be joyful. The joy is in the process.

 

 

 How To Make Your Boss Work For You

by Jim Germer  (Business One Irwin)

Reviewed by Dennis William Hauck

 

        Anyone trying to advance in their career soon discovers that it takes more than brains, talent, and hard work.  New college graduates find they need a lot more than just a  degree to make it in their chosen professions.  In reality, many different skills are required to survive in the workplace.  Office politics, stress management, attitude control, human relations, communication ability, personality development, and career strategies are a few of the individual advancement tools not taught in college.

        Management consultant Jim Germer presents over 200 tips and tactics for developing these skills in How To Make Your Boss Work For You.  Much of his material is based on interviews with 70 of the nation's leading experts on career development and surveys of 1100 employees and managers, who tell what they did right and what they would change if they could start over again.

        For instance, in the area of human relations, the author offers a ten-point "ticket to the top": 1) Make your boss work for you.  Know the best time to approach him and let him think he is a superboss.  2) Make the first move.  Introduce yourself and get to know people.  3) Be sincere.  People recognize insincerity and never forgive being used.  4) Greet your co-workers everyday.  Silence builds walls.  5) Offer a helping hand.  Get a reputation for being a decent person without letting others take advantage of you.  6) Don't be stingy with praise.  Co-workers respond better to employees who let them know they have done a good job.  7) Make yourself more persuasive.  Be knowledgeable but not argumentative.  Admit when you're wrong.  8) Nobody wins an argument.  Voice criticism and complaints without offending others.  9) Don't be a schlemiel.  Do you rub people the wrong way or have aggravating habits?  10) Pay attention.  Listen to other's ideas and keep an open mind.  

        Such tactics are designed to keep your career on the fast track.  There are special techniques for newcomers to the business world, as well as those established in their professions.  There is even a chapter on staying healthy, reducing stress, and developing a wellness program to build energy and stamina for a long, productive career.

        Another chapter, "Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling", is devoted to women trying to move up at work.  "Getting into top management if you're a woman," says the author, "is like being a quarterback in a football game without referees.  It's a tough game and a lot of players play dirty.  Like any game, there are obstacles, and this one has a big one called the glass ceiling, an obstacle that allows women to see but prevents them from grabbing top management jobs."  According to the Department of Commerce, only 2% of women earn more than $50,000 a year.  Out of over 4,000 of the highest paid directors in 800 companies, only 19 are female.

        A women needs to do some detective work to find out if the company she wants to work for has a track record for moving women up the ladder.  Otherwise, she had better have the stamina necessary to be a trailblazer.  Once on the job, a woman must make her superiors know that she expects to advance, and that she intends to back up her ambition with superior performance.  But hard work is not enough.  A woman must make sure her efforts get noticed.  The greatest mistake in the workplace is waiting to be noticed.  Many women labor under the false assumption that if they work the hardest and produce the highest quality work, it will be obvious to everyone.       

        The author's general strategy for breaking into upper management applies to both women and men, newcomers and seasoned employees alike.  The first step is learning to think strategically, taking a realistic overview of the company's structure.  Then deliver the basics: find ways to increase profits, improve quality, reduce costs, increase market share.  Search out honest feedback on your efforts, and learn what your strengths and weaknesses are.  Find out what career routes and strategies have proved successful in the past.  Read books and magazines in your field for new ideas.  Finally, learn how to get things done through others.  Get input from others and make them responsible for carrying out decisions.

        Despite this book's how-to enthusiasm, it must be said that there is no simple formula for success.  Business, like life itself, is far too complicated for any set of rules to guarantee success.  It has been estimated that of the attributes required for breaking into management, outstanding performance counts only 25%, mastering office politics counts 35%, and simply being in the right place at the right time counts 40%.  The tactics presented in this book can help the reader be more aware of what it takes to succeed, and hopefully, put him or her in the right spot at the right time.

 

 

Leading Change, Overcoming Chaos

by Michael Heifetz (Ten Speed Press. ISBN 0-89815-591-6)

Reviewed by Dennis William Hauck

 

        This book offers a seven stage process for making change succeed in all types of organizations. It is intended for those modern managers faced with the fallout of recession, new levels of competition, and down-scaling, as well as those who are trying to redirect their organizations to survive in the new millennium. In the 1990s, every manager faces the problem of dramatic change, and while we cannot escape it, we can choose how to direct its course as painlessly and effectively as possible.

        In his previous bestseller, Re-Engineering the Corporation, Michael Heifetz offered a corporate version of the complacency-shattering Re-Inventing Government by David Osborne. In this book, management consultant Heifetz introduces his Change Cycle Theory. The theory proposes that within change there lies a fundamental tension between leadership (the external force that drives change) and chaos (the internal force that resists it). Within this Change Cycle dynamic are seven distinct stages that need to be successfully managed.

        The first is called "Choosing the Target," when upper level management tries to identify and evaluate areas of potential change within the organization. The primary emphasis is on identifying potentially valuable changes to pursue. Careful consideration is required to insure that the change is realistic and will benefit the organization as a whole. The change manifests when a group or individual starts to feel discomfort or pressure. This is because most people and organizations resist change. In government organizations, the source of discomfort can be traced to increased departmental competition, new technology, downsizing, revised regulations, etc. Usually, a core group is formed to implement the changes and excite belief and commitment in their fellow workers.

        Stage two, "Setting Goals," begins when upper management lays its cards on the table, so to speak. The purpose, scope, and plan of implementation of the effort are revealed and specific goals are set. At this stage, a planning team should be in place to field questions and handle feedback. As all the information and objections are reviewed, a closer scrutiny of the change takes place. At this point, the will and resources of the organization should come into clearer focus.

        After gaining sufficient definition and commitment, a project enters the third stage, "Initiating Action." Individuals have agreed on the value of the project, and efforts are made to exercise the organization's collective capability toward achieving the project's goals. The most crucial and often-overlooked step at this juncture is making sure people understand why the work is considered important and how it fits into the "big picture."

        The real value of change involves making lasting shifts in attitudes, habits, and behavior within the organization. People must wrestle with change as it applies to their daily work. Interacting and discussing the change helps people accept it. The author calls this vital stage "Making Connections." Managers must allow this natural process to take effect.

        Stage five is called "Rebalancing to Accommodate the Change." As change is accepted and implemented, unforeseen adjustments are needed throughout the organization. Rebalancing is needed on the personal level, in functional systems, and in relationship patterns. Every effort should be made to insure the organization regains its balance gracefully. By the end of this stage, the change has become the norm. If the change was successfully implemented, people will resist going back to old patterns.

        "Consolidating the Learning" takes place after balance has been achieved. It is a time to look back over the process and determine if goals were met, what has been learned about directing the efforts of the organization, what new capabilities or limitations have been exposed, and what new possibilities now exist. This time of simultaneously looking at both past and future quickly enters the seventh and final stage, "Moving to the Next Cycle." This stage marks the point when one cycle of change reaches completion and a new cycle begins. There are often are seeds of transformation present in every cycle of change, and from these, a new cycle springs. The accomplishments of the current cycle become crystallized and obvious, and attention shifts to future challenges and possibilities.

        The author offers advice and case studies at each stage of his Change Cycle Theory, and then discusses an example of the theory at work in a fictional organization. The second part of the book is devoted to acquiring the activating force, vision, and skills necessary to implement changes. Special emphasis is placed on the manager's key role as the communicator of the progress of change in order to build support within the organization.

 

 

On-the-Level: Performance Communication That Works

by Patricia McLagan and Peter Krembs (Berrett-Koehler Publishers)

Reviewed by Dennis William Hauck

 

        One of the most difficult challenges faced by anyone in a management position is how to communicate effectively without being misinterpreted or misunderstood. Many managers are intimidated about how higher-ups will react to their honest feedback while at the same time feeling frustration in their attempts to help others lower on the organizational ladder improve their job performance. For those caught in this communication squeeze, On-the-Level: Performance Communication That Works offers some genuine relief.

The authors of this book provide practical methods for achieving departmental goal agreement, giving and receiving feedback, delivering and digesting tough messages, and having frank discussions about learning and development. These critical skills are developed by applying what the authors call “On-the-Level” communication. On-the-Level discussions are characterized by directness, respect, shared responsibility, and purpose. They are necessary whenever the output of work must be greater than the contribution of a single individual ¾ whenever teamwork, innovation, trust, and quick response are required. In such situations, managers must be able to communicate On-the-Level.

There are six specific characteristics of this style of  communication. The first of these is simply honest Observing, which looking at what is happening, detecting consequences of actions, and noticing whether what is happening is a unique situation or part of a pattern. It entails noticing what is happening in and across situations, recognizing specific examples of behavior that confirm or deny more general conclusions about an individual’s actions or style, and detecting accurate patterns in group behavior and projecting results. Observing requires seeing and hearing openly and resisting the temptation to make assumptions or judgments. The goal is to get accurate and specific information about individual behavior, hidden feelings, patterns of group behavior, and possible results. 

The second skill is Listening, which is hearing what has been said or implied, detecting the key points and issues, and checking the accuracy of what has been said. It requires clearing your mind and focusing on the other person’s words and intended meaning, paraphrasing or asking questions to confirm your understanding of what has been said, and detecting the underlying feelings and thoughts of others. The intended outcome is to achieve mutual clarity and understanding, regardless of whether or not all parties agree.

The third skill of On-the-Level communication is Empathizing, which is the ability to detect another person’s feelings and values and incorporating them into a common understanding. The key characteristics of empathizing are acknowledging and accepting the thoughts, feelings, values, and opinions of others; communicating your own understanding of their thoughts, feelings, values, and opinions; and sharing your ideas or similar experiences that demonstrate your understanding. The goal is to reduce tension and enhance trust and sharing.

These first three skills ¾ Observing, Listening, and Empathizing ¾ are called “receptive skills” because they are used to receive information. The final three skills of On-the-Level communication are “expressive skills” because they are used to add information and direction to a discussion. The first of this type of skills is Questioning, which is asking for more information and opinions in a way that gets relevant, honest, and appropriately detailed responses. It means forming questions in response to what is being stated to confirm or gather more information, and asking open-ended questions rather than soliciting closed “yes or no” responses. The goal is to bring relevant information into the conversation and head off misunderstandings.

The second expressive skill is Describing, which is identifying concrete, specific examples of behavior and revealing its effects. It entails providing appropriate details of specific actions and behavior to clarify the focus of the discussion, giving examples of specific actions and behaviors to show how they influence results or affect people, and ensuring that the timing and amount of this description is appropriate to the subject at hand. The intended result is having both parties reach a concrete and common understanding of all the issues being discussed.

The third expressive skill and the final skill of On-the-Level communication is called effective Concluding, which is articulating and clarifying overall positions, recommendations, and decisions. This often-overlooked phase includes assessing and determining the overall quality of the observed behavior and results, controlling personal biases, separating what is in someone’s control and what is not, and clearly stating the consequences, decisions, and recommendations agreed upon. The goal is to reach understanding between senders and receivers about where they stand in terms of overall positions, recommendations, decisions, agreements, and consequences. 

 

 

Who We Could Be at Work

by Margaret Lulic (Butterworth-Heinemann, Boston)

Reviewed by Dennis William Hauck

 

        This book offers hope to many of us who long for a different way to be at work. As Studs Terkel once said: “Most people have work that is too small for their spirits.” Since change begins at the top, and this book is directed toward managers and supervisors and attempts to provide the inspiration, choices, and guidance for them to get started in making the work experience more satisfying for everyone.

By examining thirty-five true stories of executives, middle managers, supervisors, workers, and union officials, the reader is exposed to the inseparable nature of people and organizations and learns through the first-hand accounts about employee and organizational growth and progress. Although the heart of the message of this book is change, a multitude of critical issues are also involved, such as diversity, environmentalism, ethics, and psychology.

“We can begin reforging ourselves,” the author suggests, “so we could be more of who we want to be and who we are capable of being. The workplace could be much more. Our organizations can be major contributors to the well-being of the earth and all her people. We could bring our spirit and heart to work. We can lead more satisfying lives. We are part of a new wave of history that is learning to be whole, more full and complete. We can create something new once we realize that we, our organizations, and the world are all part of one interconnected, interdependent system. Here are people from all sizes of organizations, and from all levels inside those organizations, who believe in more and have helped to create it. These stories of people whose lives and workplaces demonstrate why a reasonable person can have hope.”

The thirty-five stories of change presented here revolve around seven key issues that confront anyone on the quest for being who he or she wants to be at work. The need for meaningful employment is paramount among those issues. Our sense of purpose is driven by our inherent need for meaning, for there is greatness buried in each soul from the moment of birth. Purpose and meaning show up in our need to matter, to know we make a difference to someone or something other than ourselves. Purpose propels us forward to find that way of being that satisfies our search for meaning, but there is no purposeful state that is not of service to others in some way. To be of service, we must seek alignment and cooperation with others.

Integrity is another key issue here. Integrity simply means living out of our inner wholeness and expressing it with congruence to the outer world. It is much more than honesty, for it implies a consistency between professed beliefs and true opinions and real behavior. Another way of saying it, is that our mind, heart, body, and soul are aligned around our sense of spiritual purpose as we go through our daily lives and perform our skills at work.

According to the author: “There is an increasing lack of trust in most traditional institutions such as government, schools, and even churches that arises from a perceived lack of integrity. It has to do with the behavior of public officials, workplace politics, environmental degradation, and a vast range of other issues. People sense something is wrong when anyone or any group is working for his or her own self-interest to the exclusion of the well-being of the larger whole.”

Related to the loss of integrity is the issue of time. In today’s world, everyone is moving faster and working more. According to some studies, the average American is working two months more per year than two decades ago to maintain a similar lifestyle. This demand on our time takes away from our commitment to integrity by not allowing the time necessary to find balance in our family structure or personal habits. The typical response from management is to teach people to get more organized and efficient without addressing the core effect on our sense of integrity.

The next highest desire of most people is to contribute to some larger community, whether that be neighborhood, city, state, country, or planet. This relates to the workplace need to be meaningful and expands it to a higher level. It also relates to having purpose or the need to be of service. More than those considerations, we each need to feel part of a nurturing and caring community, an extended world family.

        Change begins and ends with the individual. Each of us must start by engaging in our own growth and learning and by cultivating our emotional and spiritual self, as well as our intellect and physical skills. Once we reexamine our own lifestyle and make the needed changes, we can spread the word and apply personal insights to ever-increasing spheres of influence ¾ starting with where we work and who we can be at work.

 

 

The Promise of Diversity: Strategies for Eliminating Discrimination in Organizations

by Elsie Gross, Judith Katz, Frederick Miller and Edith Seashore (Irwin Publishing)

Reviewed by Dennis William Hauck

 

        Despite all the talk, all the political maneuvering, all the new laws, the workplace still remains a hostile environment for too many people. Many organizations are still in the grip of racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression, even after the Civil Rights Act, the Woman’s Movement, and countless seminars, workshops, and support groups. Is it really possible to ever really eliminate discrimination? Why do some organizations persist in their efforts to challenge the status quo?

        The reason is, it makes good management sense to eliminate discrimination. The truth is that diversity in an organization is one of its greatest strengths. Diversity can create powerful options for a highly productive, synergistic workplace. Forward-looking managers realize that their workforces will only grow more diverse. By the year 2000, less than twenty percent of the incoming workforce will be white and male. The sooner an organization fosters an environment where individuals and teams learn to work well together, the faster it achieves a competitive edge in an increasingly challenging economy.

        This book is a future-focused anthology that presents the views of over forty leaders and researchers who are actively working to address the issue of oppression versus diversity in organizations. They candidly discuss their hopes, fears, and dreams of leading America into a new era of strength through the promise and perils of true diversity.

        “Twenty-five years ago,” says business consultant Elsie Cross, “nearly all American businesses, universities, and other organizations were led and managed by white men. White women and minorities in those organizations were either exceptions — professionals who were hired because of the cynical response to affirmative action and equal employment opportunity laws — or employees at the lower levels of the hierarchy. Today, the situation is radically different. In some companies, as many as 75 percent of the workers are women and 20 percent people of color.”

        Although some organizations have worked on issues of race and gender over the last quarter-century, the issue of sexual orientation in the workplace is only recently becoming a topic of concern. Historically, invisibility has been an accepted part of the life of gays and lesbians who perceived too much risk in coming out in the workplace. Race and gender are usually obvious physical traits, while sexual orientation is a matter of personal choice of whether to disclose or keep it secret. However, opening the corporate closet demands more than just a few individuals having the stamina to admit their sexuality.

        “Too often,” according to professor Andreanna Jovan, “companies focus only on developing policy statements — which cannot succeed without well-thought-out action plans. There is a ‘non-stand’ or lack of action by the company that enables groups to continue to discriminate. Prying open the corporate closet, and keeping it open, requires appropriate and consistent strategic action. Closeted employees must trust that policies will be upheld, consistent policies will prevail throughout the company, opportunities will not be withheld, and support systems will not be withdrawn. Trust is very important because once homosexuals step out of the closet, they cannot turn back.”

        Of course, trust is a factor in all types of discrimination, and individual managers have an important role in making their workplace acceptable to all types of people. In today’s workplace, it is the responsibility of each individual to strongly take a stand against discrimination. Avoiding offensive comments and challenging those made by others is more than just being politically correct — it helps remove invisible walls and makes the workplace a healthier environment for everyone.

        Talking to representatives or consultants who understand different subcultures can be extremely helpful, but collaboration is the most practical method used by management in most organizations. Supervisors must take the first step to fully engage minority employees in identifying issues, exploring options, determining implications, discerning courses of action, implementing plans, and monitoring progress. During this collaborative phase, small groups of employees will be interacting with other employees to gather information about the extent of discrimination in the organization and determine what actions are appropriate.

Their recommendations become the basis for strategies and specific action plans. During this phase, they will examine existing policies and make changes and additions that support equal treatment of all employees. Whatever recommendations are made, their focus must be on actions that communicate trust and commitment to all employees. Open support of minority groups is an essential indicator of management’s attitude.

        The basic message of this future-oriented book is that it is high time to throw out the idea of America as a “melting pot” where diverse groups are absorbed into a homogenous whole. In other words, it is time to recognize our differences as untapped strengths. Modern managers look at the workplace through the eyes of Star Trek — as a place of “infinite diversity in infinite combinations.”    

 

 

Empowerment Takes More Than a Minute

by Ken Blanchard, John Carlos, and Alan Randolph (Berrett-Koehler)

Reviewed by Dennis William Hauck

 

        Ken Blancard's series of One Minute Manager books sold over seven million copies and have been translated into more than twenty languages. This book represents his first "more than a minute" book, and with it, he is acknowledging both the importance and delicate nature of trying to empower the workforce without simply turning over the power. Empowerment Takes More Than a Minute explains that the real empowerment of workers is releasing the knowledge, experience, and motivation they already have.

        "Empowered employees," says Blanchard, "benefit the organization and themselves. They have a greater sense of purpose in their jobs and lives, and their involvement translates directly into continuous improvement in the workplace systems and processes. In an empowered organization, employees bring their best ideas and initiatives to the workplace with a sense of excitement, ownership, and pride. In addition, they act with responsibility and put the best interests of the organization first. Empowerment offers the potential for tapping into a wellspring of underutilized human capacity that must be harnessed if organizations are to survive in today's increasingly complex and dynamic world."  

         Drawing on over ten years of research and consultation with a wide variety of organizations, Ken Blanchard and two other top management consultants define the three essential keys to achieving true empowerment. When these three elements are in place, employees will be able to make decisions for themselves rather than relying on superiors, and will draw from each other the skills and knowledge necessary to get the job done. This new paradigm requires moving from a control-and-be-controlled mindset to a supportive, responsibility-centered environment in which all employees have the opportunity to do their best work.

        The first step in this process _ and one of the hardest habits for most organizations to break _ is to share information with everyone. The hierarchical, need-to-know basis of traditional management only empowers those at the very top. To empower the entire organization, information must be shared. This includes information about organizational performance and other "eyes-only" areas that can help workers understand the business and the basis for management decisions.

        As managers, we have to face the fact that people without information cannot act responsibly, whereas people with information are compelled to act responsibly. So sharing information with everyone is the first key in empowering people. It allows people to understand the current situation in clear terms and begins to build trust throughout the organization. Sharing information breaks down hierarchical thinking and helps people be more responsible. In other words, it encourages people to act like owners of the organization.

        However, sharing information does not mean forsaking traditional management principles altogether. For an organization to function effectively, it must be organized. The second, paradoxical step in the empowerment process is to create autonomy by creating boundaries. In doing so, management recognizes that there are "big and little pictures" within the organization and that it is necessary to clarify goals and roles on each level of operation. While it is important to create rules and procedures that support empowerment, it is equally necessary to define values and rules that underlie an individual's actions within the organization. Organizational boundaries and specialized training create "pockets of activity" (or "teams") in which duties and goals are clearly defined. This minimum structure makes it possible to hold people accountable for the results of their job efforts. While empowerment means employees have the freedom to act, it also means they are now directly accountable for the results of their actions.

        Therefore, the third key in empowering workers is to replace the old organizational hierarchy with self-directed teams. This form of management reduces resentment and increases job satisfaction. Attitudes change from "have to" to "want to." The increased employee commitment results in better communication between employees and management. This, in turn, promotes more efficient and accurate decision-making, improved quality, and reduced operating costs. That means a more viable and profitable organization.

        The basic idea of this kind of management philosophy is to gradually turn everyday control over to teams of workers. Diversity is the major asset of such team activity. It allows for a much more fluid and flexible response from the organization as a whole. The role of management in this new type of organization is to provide the direction and skills training for the empowered teams. By providing support and encouragement for change, the organization is resurrected from a dead, predictable edifice into a living organism capable of survival and growth.

 

 

Paradoxical Thinking: How to Profit from Your Contradictions

by Jerry Fletcher and Kelle Olwyler (Berrett-Koehler)

Reviewed by Dennis William Hauck

 

        In their previous bestselling study of successful leadership, Patterns of High Performance, the authors clearly demonstrated an unsuspected attribute of great leaders. They are always “paradoxical” when performing optimally. The principle they discovered in their fifteen year study was that each person has a particular combination of contradictory and paradoxical qualities that work together to produce that person’s best work. Bill Clinton’s extremes of sincerity and calculation, boldness and cowardice, calm and temper, loyalty and infidelities, all define his character and play pivotal roles in his successful leadership. How can a person be sincere and calculating or calm and angry at the same time? Though it is a difficult mental leap for many, a person can be integrating two opposite sides of one coin without either being false. Clinton may be sending us mixed messages, but that is also the secret of his success. He has learned to combine these opposing forces and is willing to be both polarities at the same time, thereby tapping into a tremendous source of personal power.

         The best metaphor for this process can be seen in the peak performance of a sprinter. Unlikely as it may seem, sprinters who relax run faster. In fact, it is feeling  simultaneously both aggressive and relaxed that is essential to peak performance. Other examples can be found everywhere. Bill Gates’s success with Microsoft is built on both his vision and his unfailing practicality. Former New York governor Maria Cuomo is both passionate and intellectual, action-oriented and reflective. Charlotte Beers, CEO of Ogilvy & Mather, is known as tough and business-minded but with an outrageous sense of humor.

        Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, is another example. He embodied three paradoxes. First, he was relentlessly focused on winning, yet he was totally flexible, willing to try anything and to drop whatever did not work without a second thought. Second, he was ingeniously creative but always ready to copy anything that had worked for someone else. Third, he was one of the best motivators who ever lived but someone who constantly checked up on everything anyone did. These combinations are more powerful than any by themselves. If all he had was a relentless drive to do things his way, he could have made all the common mistakes of an entrepreneur, such as sticking with an idea long after it was no longer working or motivating people only to have them scatter their energies in a thousand different directions. The combination of Sam Walton’s paradoxical traits made him unbeatable.

        There are basically five steps the authors offer to help people identify their core paradoxes and harness them for everyday problem solving. First, they provide examples, tests, and tools in a self-analytic process aimed at uncovering one’s paradoxical attitudes. Second, they show how one reviews and reaches an understanding of opposing attitudes with the goal of allowing one to value both sides of his or her paradoxes. Third, they show how to redefine problems or goals so they can be approached paradoxically. Fourth, they introduce the concept of Fletcher’s Pendulum, a schematic method of monitoring how well one is utilizing his or her personal paradox. The use of this pendulum diagram is based on the way we seem to swing between extremes when we are faced with a problem with no apparent solution. Gradually, opposing attitudes are merged as one approaches the apex of the pendulum, the singly point at rest from which the pendulum hangs suspended. Finally, the reader is shown steps to implement paradoxical energies to overcome roadblocks and banish cycles of ineffectiveness. Much of the practical work in this book centers around finding one’s oxymoron, the key phrase that unites opposing attitudes in his or her personality.

        “We help people identify their core paradoxes,” explained the authors in a recent interview, “by listing characteristics about themselves that they like and dislike and then combining the key ingredients in an oxymoron. For instance, someone can be well-organized but still be a slob, or have a gentle nature yet be a cutthroat business person. This is where we come up with oxymorons to describe the essential nature of one’s core paradox. Using an oxymoron to describe your own paradoxical qualities is very helpful because it names in a truthful and very easy to relate manner the tensions you are dealing with in your own life. Example of oxymorons people use to describe themselves are Self-doubting Overachiever, a Take-charge Namby-Pamby, or a Passionate Robot. Though they sound humorous, and this process can be a lot of fun, core personal paradoxes are at the root of both our dysfunctions and our greatness.”

        Paradoxical thinking generates unusual viewpoints, leading to a broader-based understanding of the true nature of a particular problem or opportunity. The key to high levels of performance and dealing effectively with problematic situations is to consciously use both sides of our core paradox simultaneously. For the modern supervisor, it is a trick well worth learning.

 

 

Common Sense Leadership: A Handbook for Success as a Leader

By Roger Fulton (Ten Speed Press)

Reviewed by Dennis William Hauck

 

        Most of us would agree that leadership is not some mysterious phenomenon. It is a combination of skills and observable behaviors that can be understood and learned. This book is a practical manual designed to teach the qualities and concerns of a good leader to anyone in a supervisory position, whether that be in government or in the private sector.

        On each page of this book, management consultant Roger Fulton offers a trait or characteristic crucial to understanding effective leadership followed by a relevant quote from such sage minds as Mahatma Gandi and Andrew Carnegie. In that way, every passage reflects the author’s management expertise while remaining accessible and informative in general terms. By collecting these themes of leadership in logical, concise chapters, Fulton has created an invaluable resource for anyone who really wants to experience the fulfillment that successful leadership can bring.

        Preparing yourself for leadership is as critical to future success as any subsequent actions you may take. According to Henry Ford: “Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.” But getting ready is not always a simple procedure. Prospective leaders gain useful, practical experience only by getting involved. “However thou are read in the theory,” wrote the philosopher Sadi, “if thou has not practice, thou are ignorant.”

        In modern organizations, sharing the practical experience of diverse groups of employees is the hallmark of the wise leader. Within anyone’s organization, there are people and departments that have knowledge and resources that you, as a manager, can draw on to enhance your own unit’s performance. Again, as Henry Ford observed: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” The author’s advice for supervisors is prepare for the future by initiating and cultivating personal relationships with your counterparts in other areas so you can share resources and information with them.

        Good leaders utilize a variety of sources of information to avoid problems and develop a project on solid footing. In today’s world, knowledge is power, and outstanding managers must know how to develop that power better than their peers. Or as Samuel Johnson put it: “The next best thing to knowing something is knowing where to find it.”

        There are many characteristics that successful leaders possess, and all of them can be learned. The book discusses dozens of these attributes, but most important is old-fashioned courage. A leader must be courageous enough to go where others fear to tread, to face adversity head on, to protect subordinates from unfair treatment, and to stand up to superiors when necessary. At the same time, a leader must have tact and think before he speaks.

Being tactful costs nothing but may be rewarded many times over in good will and solid relationships. “Tact,” said Abraham Lincoln, “is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.” Or in the words of Dale Carnegie: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

        What do good leaders do when they supervise their people? Oddly enough, the best leaders are good followers. They are the first to recognize that we are all subordinate to someone, and they try to objectively pursue the goals and objectives of the organization. “The high destiny of the individual,” noted Albert Einstein, “is to serve rather than to rule.” At the same time, leaders recognize that it is important to provide positive reinforcement and constructive feedback to subordinates. “The deepest principle of human nature,” said psychologist William James, “is the craving to be appreciated.” People want approval from the boss as well as their peers. True leaders give it to them.

        Good leaders recognize the value of cooperation between subordinates, bosses, and various departments of the organization. In general, they are all seeking the same final goal, but that long-range goal is often clouded in territorialism, petty bickering, jealousies, and ego gratification. True leaders can make a real difference by ensuring that they do all they can to encourage everyone to work together for the common good. “Light is the task, where many share the task,” said Homer.

        The secret, of course is getting people involved and making them realize it is not just a job, it is their job. What that means in practical terms was best stated by Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne: “An automobile goes nowhere efficiently unless it has a quick, hot spark to ignite things, to set the cogs of the machine in motion. So I try to make every player on my team feel he’s the spark keeping our machine in motion.”

 

 

301 Ways to Have Fun at Work

by Dave Hemsath and Leslie Yerkes (Berrett-Koehler)

Reviewed by Dennis William Hauck

 

        In these days of budget crises, cutbacks, increased workload, and work-for-free schemes, it is refreshing to find a book about how to have fun at work. Certainly, California State supervisors are ready for a little relief, and one place they can find it is in this popular little book that is now into its fourth printing and has been translated into four languages.

        The authors offer a complete resource anyone can use to create a dynamic workplace that inspires a light-hearted attitude among employees. It provides hands-on tools and features hundreds of ideas real companies have used to ease the load at work. Their ideas for instilling an element of fun into a wide range of business functions from office environment to meetings, training, communication, hiring, recognition, team building, and just plain simple acts of fun. In addition, the book includes a series of sidebars dedicated to “Fun Facts,” “Fun Quotes,” and “Fun Resources.” These sidebars offer humorous and interesting facts and statements about the effects of fun on workplace performance, and they direct readers to useful sources for products and services designed to enhance workplace “funativity.”

        In writing this book, the authors surveyed over 4,000 individuals from government and corporate organizations around the world and received enthusiastic responses that yielded a broad range of ways to spice up the workday. The suggestions presented include humorous training films, dress-up and dress-down days, silly job titles, awards for people who go “above and beyond the call of duty” when a coworker is on vacation or a department short on help, and foam dart fights before meetings to diffuse aggression. They even suggest a few “ritual dances” to celebrate the completion of specific projects.

        Such schemes may seem improper in a work environment, but it all makes good sound business sense. In one survey of 329 company executives, 97 percent agreed that humor is valuable in business and 60 percent felt that a sense of humor can be the deciding factor in determining how successful a person can be in the business world. In another survey, conducted by Burke Marketing Research, 84 percent of the personnel directors interviewed said that employees with a sense of humor do better work than those without.

        Some of the ways to elevate the mood at work described in this book are truly ingenious. Rebecca Rogers at University Hospitals in Augusta, Georgia, has developed a fun activity she calls “communal captions.” To while away the time at the copy machine, she posts photos from newspapers and magazines and invites staff members to write funny captions on a blank piece of paper beneath the picture. Sometimes puzzles, games, or riddles are posted to challenge copy machine users.

        In other examples, the fun people at Optimal-Care Inc. like to give humorous awards that relate specifically to the achievement being recognized. For instance, a female employee once received a huge spider with “5,000” painted on its back to represent the 5,000th “bug” the women recorded in a particular project. Maria Raper, a supervisor for the city of Austin, Texas, gives out “Kudos Candy Awards” to employees who go out of their way. She admits to giving out Lifesavers on more than one occasion. On Frisbee Day at Pacific Power and Electric in Portland, Oregon, formal memos and messages are delivered throughout the office attached to Frisbees. Berrett-Koehler Publishing in San Francisco schedules humorous “show-and-tell” sessions from managers during staff meetings in which they share their successes, as well as embarrassments and personal experiences too.

At Southwest Airlines, new hires are encouraged to view the airline’s memorabilia and history that decorate the halls of the training department and contact other employees to fill in or expand on the information. This fill-in-the-blanks approach helps newcomers learn about the company and network with coworkers. In fact, Southwest is a prime example of the effectiveness of having fun at work. Their management team, office staff, stewardesses and even pilots make a point of easing tension through humor. According to office manager Elizabeth Sarain, “We feel a fun atmosphere builds a strong sense of community. It also counterbalances the everyday stress of hard work and competition.” Southwest’s lighthearted approach has made them the fastest growing airline with the highest consumer-approval rating in the industry.

        In their book, Hemsath and Yerkes have done an admirable job in demonstrating that creating a fun atmosphere in the workplace increases productivity and morale and has a positive overall affect on budgets. But more importantly, they give harassed and frazzled workers the tools to have more fun at work, no matter where they work, what position they are in, and even if their boss happens to be Pete Wilson!

 

 

Getting Things Done When You Are Not In Charge

by Geoffrey Bellman (Berrett-Koehler)

Reviewed by Dennis William Hauck

 

        Most government supervisors and administrators work in support positions, carrying out the goals and decisions of other people. It may not always be clear who is really in charge, but it is usually obvious that we are not. Despite this, we all want to do our work well, to succeed on a personal level, and to satisfy the organization. However, trying to balance these needs, while working in support of other's goals as we try to realize our own, can become quite a challenge.

        Other people may not see things the same way you do, have been with the department longer, or are simply pursuing different goals. Sometimes we know exactly what these other people ought to do, but are baffled about how to get them to do it. How do you cause creative movement in a department when you do not have the authority to cause others to move? How do you get things done from the middle of large organizations? How can you find job fulfillment in a less powerful position? Those are the questions addressed by this book. The answers lie in a change of attitude about management.

        Managing from a middle position is not a new idea, but leading from the middle is. Management is establishing boundaries, controlling resources, and planning to reach specific goals. Leadership is expanding those boundaries, influencing others make full use of resources, and creating a clear vision of a possible future accomplishment. Of course, we must continue to manage, though perhaps not as single-mindedly as before. As managers, we must remain open to opportunities for leadership.

        The basic premise of this book is that we do not have to be in charge all of the time to take charge some of the time. To do so requires freeing ourselves of the notion that the only power that works is positional power. The vertical mapping of power is an artificiality that stifles creativity and ossifies organizations. In truth, every worker can accomplish a great deal from his or her unique position of power. Learning to capitalize on our position is what makes a job fulfilling and growthful.

        Because power in departments and organizations is mapped in different ways, the first step in capitalizing on our position is to ascertain our current level of responsibility. As a guide, the author sorts support roles into eight possibilities along a continuum of increasing responsibility. The lowest level is one of No Support, in which workers are self-sufficient and handle all the particulars of their job assignments without support from the organization. Sometimes called "line workers", they are often found in small companies or result from the downsizing of larger departments.

        The Assistant level of responsibility is reached when the amount of detail work is too much for the line to handle. These are the "gophers", who do only what they are asked to do. When this level of complexity is reached, the need for an Administrator becomes obvious. He is the person who keeps the wheels turning and is given the decisions that must be made promptly.

        The Monitor level of responsibility is created to find out what is happening in the organization. The monitor has the power of knowledge and the obligation to speak up about the performance of others. Problems discovered by monitors are turned over to the Problem Solver, who suggests solutions and cuts across many levels of responsibility.

        While the all previous workers focus on the present, the Planner is the first level that looks to the future. The planner must think through and coordinate the goals of the organization for the immediate future. More long term planning is assigned to a Strategist, who knows both the strengths and weaknesses of the organization and is familiar with outside influences.

        The highest level of responsibility belongs to the Transformer. He is the visionary who sees new futures and different possibilities for the organization. To him, the organization is organic, adapting to its surroundings as it effects the world around it. The transformer brings the larger perspective to those who guide the organization.

        The power of the last three roles increases dramatically over the first five, as the support person takes responsibility for shaping the future rather than resolving present problems or keeping track of the past. While most of us perform at a number of points within this range of responsibility, there are areas where each of us performs best. Each of us needs to assess our position of responsibility and decide if we want to grow into more future-oriented roles, or apply more future-oriented thinking to our present position. Departments, as well as entire organizations, are dependent on people creatively exercising their talents at all levels of responsibility.

       

 

Mavericks!: How to Lead Your Staff to Think Like Einstein, Create Like Da Vinci, and Invent Like Edison.

by Donald W. Blohowiak (Business One Irwin)

Reviewed by Dennis William Hauck

 

        Some managers are uncomfortable with the idea of creativity. They cannot differentiate between the need to manage current responsibilities and the creative problem solving necessary for ongoing growth. They are afraid that encouraging creativity will throw their department into turmoil and interfere with the completion of the tasks at hand. They fear creativity the way they feared computers 15 years ago. "Executives resisted computers because they didn't understand computers," says a new ventures consultant for Colgate-Palmolive. "Now they still don't understand computers, but they know what computers can do for a business. The same will be true for creativity and innovation." 

        In these times of rapidly changing economic priorities,

innovative thinking is one of the most prized possessions of an organization. When author Donald Blohowiak queried Microsoft Corporation about their methods, a spokeswoman replied curtly: "We don't talk about our techniques for managing creativity at Microsoft." Businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the value of their intellectual properties. The number of patent and copyright lawsuits nearly doubled between 1980 and 1990. In 1990 alone, the United States invested $108 billion in non-military research and development -- more than the Japan, Germany, France, and Britain combined! Many futurists predict that ideas will be the competitive weapons of the 22nd Century.

        The real source of inspiration in an organization is its mavericks, those renegades who are not afraid to identify problems or suggest rule-violating solutions. They are those hot-shots who live in constant danger of being fired -- or promoted. Mavericks constantly test limits, question others and themselves, and challenge the status quo. They have a strong need to achieve mastery in their work and want to make an impact on the organization. They feel exhilarated rather than exhausted when pursuing their goals.

        But managing for creative thinking is different than managing for task. How does the manager harness the mavericks' creative energies without corralling their enthusiasm? Apple CEO John Sculley says: "I would worry if there wasn't always a little anarchy in the organization. It's like arsenic: a little is medical but a lot can kill you. You want to impart medicinal levels of anarchy so that people feel they are free enough to express opinions without worrying about the implications." That little bit of anarchy busts bureaucratic complacency and opens up the department. As the author of Mavericks! puts it: "Homogeneity of thought yields neither passion nor progress."

        A clue to Microsoft's success is contained in their annual report: "We distribute decision-making responsibility to individual employees throughout the company, giving people authority in their areas of expertise." Managers can also promote a creative environment by simply paying attention to mavericks or letting them know when a job is well done. Such praise sends a message to the entire staff about what is meant by good work. More visibility can be achieved by allowing mavericks to present their ideas directly to upper management or to make a presentation to their peers. Teamwork can be enhanced by instilling a sense among all employees of belonging to an exclusive creative team. Promotions, bonuses, and other conventional incentive awards work too.

        Another approach that is finding increased acceptance in the modern organization is the old suggestion box tradition. Today, stuffing the suggestion box is a systems approach. Suggestion boxes create an ingenuity pipeline that gets bright ideas across departmental boundaries. To evaluate employee proposals adequately, front-line managers must be able to question current procedures and recognize a better way of doing things. Employees must be given a fair percentage of any money saved by their suggestions or provided with some other real incentive to participate in the program.

        Blohowiak's other techniques for turning yes-men into mavericks come from his survey of experts on business creativity, performance incentives, and innovative compensation. He includes the addresses and phone numbers of consultants in this field, as well as an Action Planner to help the reader implement the ideas presented in his book.

 

 

Your Signature Path: Gaining New Perspectives on Life and Work

By Geoffrey Bellman (Berrett-Koehler)

Reviewed by Dennis William Hauck

 

        This little book is not one of those simple ten-step guides to making everything better at work. In fact, it begins with the premise that we never really solve any of our problems ¾ we just outgrow them. But this “outgrowing” process is really the key to finding satisfaction at work. It requires a new level of consciousness, some higher perspective, or wider interest to appear on the horizon. In the words of psychologist Carl Jung: “Through this broadening of outlook, the insoluble problem loses its urgency. It is not solved logically in its own terms but faded when confronted with a new and stronger image.”

        Finding that higher level, that “new and stronger image,” is what this book is all about. Every chapter is geared to help you “see yourself from angles and altitudes other than those in which you habitually exist.” Focusing on the three fundamental images we all carry in our minds ¾ our Selves, our World, and our Path ¾ the author guides us in assessing our attributes and understanding our roles in the organizations in which we interact and shows us how to act with integrity, purpose, and clarity.

        As a management consultant and author of such popular books as Getting Thing Done When You Are Not In Charge and The Quest for Staff Leadership, Geoffrey Bellman’s main emphasis in this book is on how to make a positive difference in our feelings about the workplace. He illuminates the integral role of work in fulfilling life, and shows how to align your work with your “signature path,” which is the life path you have chosen.

        Why do we work? Contribution is one of the great human reasons for work. In organizations, we gain the intangible reward of giving to something larger than ourselves. Of course, people making money through their time on the job are not precluded from this satisfaction, but many will tell you that it is not just the money that keeps them working. Learning about ourselves through our work is another need that many of us have. Work gives us the opportunity to find out who we are as we figure out how to do it. Work demands endurance and creativity from us; unchallenged, many of us would rise above a couch-potato existence. New skills and perspectives at work mean a more developed self. Surprisingly, most of us want to give and receive love through our work too. The author is not referring to office romances, but an even more essential need to bring forth a larger and finer energy for working than you can ever bring to work that is “just a job.” All of us need that kind of higher passion.

Strictly speaking, passion is a driving or overmastering feeling or conviction, but it is seldom considered together with the everyday idea of work. In this book, the author searches for the passion we can bring to our work, the ways we can pursue it, and the ways we can express it. All of us have experienced fleeting moments of passion at work: the project you became so involved in that you lost all track of time or even a sense of “working;” the learning experience where you acquired an important new skill without feeling forced; something you really enjoyed doing and wanted to do more of; or anything you did at work that made an important difference in you.

        “We envy people who love their work,” the author notes, “as we do those who have successful marriages or relationships. We want work and love to be bound up in each other even when the structure of our work and our lives tries to keep them separate. The intentional separation is well expressed in the old company ‘wisdom’ that tells workers to leave their personal lives and problems outside the door when they come to work. Just go to a bookstore and look at all the books on work and love; notice that they are never displayed together. But consider your underlying passions for work and love. What is the common prescription for someone who has lost in love? Keep busy at work! And it is not unusual for someone without good work to turn to a love relationship to find that missing connection. The potential passion for each of them is within us; they both are necessary for human existence. Love and work are not as emotionally separated as they are often portrayed.”   

 

 

Unleashing Productivity: Your Guide to Unlocking the Secrets of Super Performance

By Richard Ott (Irwin Professional Publishing)

Reviewed by Dennis William Hauck

 

        Management professionals are quick to realize the importance of optimizing productivity of those employees under their supervision. Yet few managers understand how the same methods apply to their own jobs. Managers spend every day of every month of every year trying to enact proposals, reach goals, meet deadlines, and generally, keep one step ahead of the game. Being able to accomplish more in less time will enhance the performance and satisfaction of any manager’s position.

        Unleashing Productivity offers a series of easy-to-apply techniques and straightforward methods of thinking that promise to increase the number of short-term tasks and long-term objectives you is able to accomplish. In short, the author points out ways to work smarter not harder.

        The first part of this book deals with the five debilitating barriers to productivity experienced by everyone at one time or another. They are: worry, erosion of energy, negative emotions, action avoidance, and time pressure.

        Worry is often a mental game we play to produce desired outcomes. It is not just a depressed mental state, but rather a specific brain mode we enter when we cannot reach planned goals. Sometimes we worry to try to stimulate our emotions, or we worry as a substitute for action. Some people worry to gain sympathy or acceptance, while others worry to brace themselves for anticipated pain. Many managers worry simply because they think it is there duty.

        In any case, worry is generally an unproductive waste of time. Responsibility does not entail worry, nor does worry equal caring. Surprisingly, worry generates artificial feelings of emotional pleasure, solution, protection and love. It is only with an absence of worry can one attain genuine emotional pleasure and real-life solutions.

        Erosion of energy is something we have all experienced while working on a project. It is a truism that one becomes immune to the thrill of whatever you spend a lot of time with. To stem this erosion of energy in the workplace, it is often necessary to get a new perspective or become more accepting of difficulty and adversity. These are the things that directly challenge us. In such circumstances, a new dimension within us opens up within us to show others what we can do.

        Negative emotions are usually caused by occurrences that we interpret as affecting us in bad ways, but in reality seemingly bad occurrences often may be better alternatives than we originally had in mind. In many situations, the bad aspect tends to show itself immediately, while the good, and most often dominating, aspects tend to appear later. In the meantime, we have made a snap negative judgment which generates negative emotions that drain us of drive and energy.

        Many managers are considered indecisive because they fail to take action. In fact, it is indecisiveness which causes inaction. After all, all action takes place after a decision. So to take more action, we have to make more decisions. We have to realize that sometimes it is necessary to make decisions with incomplete information only to get the ball rolling on a project. Later, as more facts become available it may be possible to tailor the project to changing conditions.

        The hardest thing for a manager to realize is that he really has no control over the timing of a project. There are an infinite number of forces at work that affect when you accomplish a particular endeavor and when the awards arrive. But you cannot control when. All you can hope to do is align yourself with the forces that will make it happen.

        From the above barriers to productivity, it is possible to infer some of the “productivity thrusters” that can be used to ignite performance in the workplace. Obviously, tension and stress are two forces that prevent us from being more patient and relaxed while we perform. Unleashing Productivity suggests a number of ways to invite patience and relaxation into our minds and bodies.

        Operating in an anything-can-happen mode also hampers productivity. We must switch to a mode of highly concentrated attention to produce good results. This means becoming a detail person and a concept person at the same time. We have to learn when to concentrate on the details and when to step back and see the big picture to increase productivity.

        In short, igniting performance involves creative thinking to generate new ideas, fresh energy, and innovative solutions. The sooner a manager enters that mode of thinking, the more energy and perspective he will generate. The book concludes with a variety of visualization techniques and methods to unlock the door to subconscious to allow an influx of powerful energy for truly super productivity.

 

 

Preferred Futuring: Envision the Future You Want and Unleash the Energy to Get There

by Lawrence Lippitt (Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco)

Reviewed by Dennis William Hauck

 

        Lawrence Lippitt is a management consultant and pioneer in the field of organizational development and whole-system change. For the last twenty years he has charged tens of thousands of dollars to governmental agencies as well as Fortune 500 corporations to help them achieve positive outcomes in areas as diverse as strategic planning, process improvement, goal setting, conflict management, and new leadership training. Now he offers his breakthrough methodology to anyone involved in organizational management for less than the price of going to the movies.

        "Many people have come to me and asked where they could read about my management model," notes the author, "so this book is long overdue. It is written for supervisors, managers, consultants, or anyone working to stimulate and facilitate change and tap high amounts of empowerment and passion about what we do at work. The tools and accompanying examples in this book show how to stimulate and focus change efforts such as strategic and business planning, mergers, process improvement activities, reengineering, and organization culture change."

        Lippett's basic model is known as "Preferred Futuring" and consists of eight basic steps. The first of these is to review the history of the current situation. Always connect with the past first and acknowledge our roots and the sources of current problems, before imaging future changes. Reviewing history requires gathering data about the development of the situation and drawing lessons and consequences from that data. Things to look for are milestones in development and growth, high points of achievement, hopes people had then, problems or failures of that era, feelings or the tone of the era, and the type of leadership most valued at the time. This process provides a historical perspective through the remainder of the Preferred Futuring model in which relative lessons and consequences can be appreciated.

        The second step is to identify what is working in an organization or situation and what is not. We must assess and understand our present state of affairs before we can begin to explore preferences for the future. This can be thought of as a scan of current conditions, culture, and structures. It needs to represent a pragmatic view of information useful to the task we want to achieve or the context of the work focus. At this stage it is equally important to list things that work and we are proud of as it is to list the problem areas. The objective is to create a broad and realistic perspective.

        The third step is to identify values and beliefs. To create even greater and more wonderful realities in our future, it is very important to assess our beliefs and values and be willing to scrutinize and modify them if need be. It is extremely important to focus on core values, such as values about whether people or profit is most important or whether authoritarian or democratic leadership works best. The fourth step is identifying relevant events, developments, and trends within the organization or situation. To be an intelligent doer regarding our own future, we must develop an awareness of the current events going on, the trends taking shape, and the tendencies that may affect us on our way to the future. As we formulate our Preferred Future vision and our action plans to achieve that vision, these events, trends, and developments must be taken into account.

        The fifth step is to create the Preferred Future vision itself. This image must be specific and as detailed as possible. The Preferred Future visioning process yields specific descriptions of what each of the future conditions will look like and the components of the overall vision are these individual priorities. The vision becomes a written document that is the guide and source of criteria for success, so progress can be measured.

        The sixth step is to translate those future visions into Action Goals. It is necessary at this stage to pay close attention to and provide quality time for translating the Preferred Vision into specific Action Goals. The seventh step, then, is to formulate Action Plans to achieve those goals. The key during these stages is the early and total involvement of the organizational implementers, without regard to extraneous rules of conduct or hierarchical considerations. It is a time for everyone to pitch in to achieve entirely new goals and postponing working out job descriptions until later.

        The last step in Preferred Futuring is to create a structure for implementing and sustaining the Action Plan. Follow-up support and celebration of change at this crucial stage can determine both short and long-term success or failure. This consists of assessing and documenting progress, spreading the Action Plan throughout the system, and supporting work teams. A permanent structure must be created and empowered that helps monitor and support the proposed changes, a structure that helps institutionalize the new results or processes.

            

 

The Art of Facilitation: How to Create Group Synergy

by Dale Hunter, Anne Bailey, and Bill Taylor (Fisher Books, Tucson, AZ)

Reviewed by Dennis William Hauck

 

        This book is intended as a training resource for management team leaders, and its goal is to enable each group member to take on the role of “facilitator.” That word literally means one who makes things easier and makes things flow smoothly. The premise of this book is to use facilitation to foster individual cooperation and create group synergy. Synergy is new energy for the group itself, which empowers the team and gives it identity. Thus, facilitation is the way to tap into group synergy and power.

        “Effective group facilitation is an artful dance requiring rigorous discipline,” warn the authors. “The role of facilitator offers an opportunity to dance with life on the edge of a sword, to be present and aware, to be with people and for people in a way that cuts through to what enhances and fulfills life. A facilitator is a peaceful warrior, and group facilitation is a moment-by-moment awareness; its being awake and being in action the way a hunter stalks a tiger or mother watches over her newborn infant. The facilitator protects the group culture, at the same time cutting through unproductive or sabotaging patterns to get to what enhances and fulfills the group purpose.”

        The authors, whose first book The Zen of Groups broke ground in this emerging field, attempt to reveal the art of facilitation in four stages in their current book. First, they present the cooperative beliefs and values that underlie facilitation. Then they provide the personal perspective on facilitation through interviews with key players in the field. The largest and most useful section of the book is devoted to a Toolkit for designing and implementing facilitative processes. They conclude the book with a section on resources that includes forms for a Facilitation Contract, Meeting Record Sheets, and recommended reading.

        While there is no recipe for a facilitator to follow and no one way to facilitate a group, there are certain guidelines that can come in handy. Most important is to keep in mind the special nature of groups and why facilitation is crucial. A group is capable of much more than each individual member thinks is possible, and a group facilitator knows the promise and power of synergy ¾ that group members can achieve more as a group than the individual sums of their contributions ¾ and is out to tap into that power.

        In the beginning, the facilitator must trust that the group will have the resources to achieve its task and work through any process issues. Trust, in this sense, is an attitude of confidence that the resources are present and will be discovered. The facilitator enables the group to explore and find those resources, which is how the group becomes empowered. It does not mean the group will always succeed; it simply means you do not give up when the going gets tough. 

         The secret of facilitation is honoring each group member and encouraging full participation while having the group task achieved effectively and efficiently. Group members must always be approached as capable, aware and fully functioning people who are committed to the group purpose. Even when they are behaving disruptively, they must be treated as if they were acting honorably and for the good of the group. It is also surprisingly important to keep the room or space used by the group free from interruptions or distractions. The facilitator must ensure that the physical space is safe and guarded from intrusion. A group creates its own “energetic” space, and the facilitator must be aware of this and watch out for it in the same way a mother looks out for a child who may wander unconsciously into danger. Group space is sacred space, where miracles can occur.

        A facilitator takes everything that is said or done in the group environment as significant interaction, including individual exchanges, side comments, and coincidences. For instance, someone dropping something or even falling off a chair becomes part of the group process and should be integrated as a comment on the proceedings. Conflict of any type must be encouraged and expressed consciously. Disagreement is the natural result of different personalities, viewpoints, and opinions. If a group is to develop to maturity, it will need to work with conflict no matter how it is expressed, rather than avoid. Creative conflict resolution can be synergistic, leading to major breakthroughs and forward movement.

        In short, the good facilitator must be awake and present to each moment with the group ¾ 100% present. Personal development work, meditation, conscious-raising, discussion, training, and experiential learning techniques are valid methods to develop awareness, which is the facilitator’s most valuable asset. Facilitation is like dancing. If your mind wanders, you miss the rhythm and trip.

 

 

The Zen of Groups: A Handbook for People Meeting with a Purpose

by Dale Hunter, Anne Bailey, and Bill Taylor (Fisher Books, Tucson, AZ)

Reviewed by Dennis William Hauck

 

        Most of us have an idea about the dynamics of groups, teams, and meetings from our everyday work as supervisors. But what has Zen got to do with it?

        Zen philosophy spread from India into China in the sixth century and probably has its roots before Buddhism and Christianity. The art of Zen has been passed down from master to student through direct heart-to-heart experience, with the student always living and meditating close to the master. The authors describe it as a special teaching without scriptures, beyond words and letters, pointing to the mind-essence of humanity, seeing directly into one’s nature, or simply put, attaining enlightenment. Zen points us towards observing the flowering of our human nature through moment-to-moment consciousness, and our “passing through life as a petal falling from a flower.”

        Can such a gentle philosophy have applications in the hardened world of business? The authors believe so and were inspired to write this book based on insights from Zen. Their basic premise is that the Zen practice of being fully awake and in action moment by moment is the essence of group synergy and success.

        The first thing to grasp is that groups have a life cycle. The birth stage starts with the initial idea of forming a group and continues through the recruitment and enrollment of members. This uncertain stage culminates with the first meeting, in which members must agree on purpose, agenda, and initial goals. After that first meeting, the group starts to take on an identity of its own.

        During the early childhood stage, group members get to know one another and establish similarities of experience,

acquaintances, and beliefs. Trust is established and members assume specific roles within the group. In the schooldays phase, the group starts to get down to work by allocating tasks and getting commitments from group members. The most common problem at this stage is that some members may begin to feel irritation at the pace of group (too fast or too slow) and lose interest.

        More differences emerge during the adolescent adjustment phase. People honor or neglect their commitments, personalities and alliances become more defined, positions become obvious, and the groups often splits up into differing factions. This causes some members to feel frustrated and angry, while others feel unappreciated or just turned off by all the backbiting. Members may resign or asked to be given different responsibilities.

        Sometimes at this point, there is a withdrawal stage in which group participants settle for the status quo and stop contributing to the progress of the group as a whole. Some members lapse into daydreaming about other projects and lose faith in their fellow group members.

        The problems of the adolescent or withdrawal phases cause serious  members to recognize that the group must be more than individual personalities and their foibles. These members work to recommit the group at a deeper level. They allow room for other members’ “baggage” and stop blaming each other. Group identity is strengthened and support is offered for those having problems. The adolescent phase has finally given way to the maturity stage in which the synergy of the group as a whole begins to manifest.

        Eventually, the group purpose if fulfilled and the goals achieved. In this ending stage, it is often worthwhile to hold a final evaluation session to assess effectiveness and draw out lessons that everyone has learned from working in group situations.

        One excellent feature of this book is a “Toolkit” of techniques and exercises for developing group effectiveness using Zen principles. The Toolkit has eighteen sections which give advice on such issues as feedback, handling personal “baggage,” developing trust and group identity, visualization and creative thinking, team-building, and energizing the group.

        For example, the Toolkit for the first session of a new group suggests that members pair off with someone they do not know well and ask each other some specific questions. How did you get here today? What brought you to this group? What do you hope to get out of this group? What are your fears about this group? Participants are then asked to share what they discovered about one another so that larger groups issues can be identified from the very start.

        The first session Toolkit also has a number of entertaining games that get things off on the right foot. For instance, to help members get to know other members’ names quickly, the group gathers in a circle and is given a ball or cushion. Members call out a person’s name before throwing it to him or her. People ask if they cannot remember someone’s name. After a few minutes, a second ball or cushion is added to the game.

        Using such fun and down-to-earth techniques, the group becomes relaxed and familiar from the very beginning, and hopefully, people will not have time to form judgements or make false assumptions about others in the group. After all, the whole point of Zen is to live in the moment, free from the constraints of structured mindsets. Only then, can real creativity be released from individuals, as well as groups.

 

 

Ticking Bombs: Diffusing Violence in the Workplace

by Michael Mantell

Reviewed by Dennis William Hauck

 

        Violence in the workplace is one of the most complex and frustrating problems facing modern managers. Practically unheard of twenty-five years ago, workplace violence is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the country. The number of employees who kill their supervisors has doubled in the last ten years. Today, the annual toll averages over 800 dead with an estimated 115,000 violent incidents not resulting in death. Last year alone, 25 million people were victimized by fear and violence where they work. It has been estimated that the situation is costing American businesses over $4 billion a year.

         In this book, Dr. Michael Mantell, who has his doctorate in psychology and spent ten years as chief psychologist for the San Diego Police Department, presents a seven-step process organizations can use to reverse this destructive trend. After a probing look at the entire workplace violence phenomenon, Mantell explains safe and legal hiring, discipline, and termination techniques that can help today’s supervisor correct workplace problems before they escalate to more violent levels.

        According to Mantell, the single biggest deterrent to violence in the workplace is Preemployment Screening. Careful hiring practices can weed out the “ticking bombs” waiting to explode once they become part of the organization. In today’s world, background checking is a priority. The critical five Background Check Criteria are: 1)Work History, 2)Military History, 3)Criminal History, 4)Credit History, and 5)Driving Record. The book shows ways of accessing these records through networking, application review, and reference checking. The author also suggests some psychological methods to discover personality disorders such as antisocial, paranoid, and borderline personality types.  

        Next in importance is the establishment of an Informed, Aware Management trained to see the early warning signs of trouble. Many organizations are building supervisory teams, of one to thousands of members, who are knowledgeable in the early warning signs of the emotionally upset. Once skilled in identifying these indicators, they can take the proper intervention steps to deal with problems before they become invasive and malignant.  

        Third, supervisors must understand the Golden Rule of Employee Treatment. In short, treat your people as you would like to be treated. It is a method for executives, managers, and supervisors to design improved ways of dealing with employees. While the author takes the strong position that management is often the victim, not the villain, in acts of violence, there are identifiable behaviors that you can take to improve employee treatment and reduce the risk of violence occurring “on your watch.”

        Forth, the organization must establish Education Programs to teach employees and the organization how to respond to threatening interpersonal situations. These programs are aimed at teaching employees how to respond to conflict-based relationships. Recognizing that American culture accepts and even glamorizes violent solutions to everyday problems, that young people are exposed to more and more violence in their daily lives and in the media, and that many people have had poor role models from who to learn healthy ways of resolving conflict, the employer is left holding the bag and must become the educator of last resort.

        Fifth, Counseling Services for employees and their families for job or personal problems should be inaugurated. A chilling interview with convicted workplace murderer Robert Earl Mack clearly shows how a little caring intervention at the right moment could have prevented a tragedy.

        Sixth, proper Security Measures must be undertaken to protect the organization and the employees. There are tips on choosing the right security company, controlling access, designing secure facilities, and handling labor actions. There are even sections on paying ransom for kidnapped executives, responding to bomb threats, and evacuating the premises.

        Last is the establishment of Violence Aftermath Training at the workplace. Because the speed in which such plans are implemented is critical, they must be set up in advance. The book offers basic guidelines on stress management and psychological counseling programs. It also provides a Workplace Violence Incident Checklist for dealing with the three stages of shock following workplace violence. Stage one is: Shock, Disbelief and Denial. Stage Two is: the Cataclysm of Emotions. Stage Three is: Reconstruction of Equilibrium.

        The author’s seven-step model, when fully applied does not guarantee workplace violence will never happen. No approach can make such a promise. After all, even with Secret Service protection, the finest in the world, presidents of the United States are still attacked and even gunned down.

        But this model and this book will arm you with the kind of ready-to-use information and understanding you will need today: safe hiring, discipline, and termination practices; the tools and tactics you will need to identify and reduce your vulnerability to enraged, explosive, or disgruntled employees; the policies and procedures you will need to deal with the aftermath of violence should it occur; and methods you will need to effectively secure the operation of your department.  

 

 

Breaking With Tradition: Women and Work, the New Facts of Life

by Felice Schwartz (Warner Books, New York)

Reviewed by Dennis William Hauck

 

        In reviewing the impact of affirmative action plans on the employment of women in the 1970s and 1980s, author Felice Schwartz concludes that while they were necessary, they further strained an already adversarial relationship between employers and women.

        “Begrudgingly, spurred by affirmative action goals,” she writes, “companies began to make room for women. Despite the lukewarm reception they received, the job seekers were determined. As they gained entry to men’s world of work and began to achieve in their careers, women’s self-image gradually shifted. Some became less guilt-ridden, more confident of their strengths. Some began to prepare for traditionally male fields, and others began to enter management. This period of transition, as women inadvertently violated the traditional all-male corporate order, was pain- and conflict-ridden for men.”

        A 1971 study of male executives reported that a majority of respondents felt that women had less motivation than men; that women did not provide as much return for investment in educational and training dollars as men; that while men had careers, women had only jobs, because women could not take any deep interest in a career.

        Still, affirmative action seemed to work. By the end of the 1970s, one in five managers was female, up from one in ten in 1940 and one in twenty-five in 1900. By the early 1980s, women’s attitudes were also changing. A poll conducted in 1970 showed that 53% of women believed motherhood was the best part of being a woman. By 1983, only 26% did. Moreover, 58% of working women said they would rather work than stay at home even if they could afford not to work — and so did 31% of nonworking women.

        But while affirmative action made inroads for the hiring of women, it did little to penetrate the “glass ceiling,” the invisible barrier that kept women from jobs in upper management. In 1995, women still make less than 70% of men’s salaries for the same job description. Those who did make to higher management felt cut-off from male social activities and conversations of male colleagues. In one 1982 study, 117 out of 300 high-level women felt that simply being female was the single greatest obstacle to their success.

        According to the author, it is time to realize that affirmative action for women is inherently flawed, precisely because it insists on treating men and women as equals. The truth is men and women are different, and the biggest difference is that women have babies. It is time to accept that simple fact and recognize that management must treat men and women differently in the workplace in order to utilize both groups effectively.

        Felice Schwartz has some specific recommendations for today’s managers as to how this can be accomplished. First, accept the fact that you must be flexible and must provide family supports. The alternatives include unacceptable rates of turnover, terrible losses in productivity, and exclusion from the leadership pool of high-potential, high-performing women (and increasingly, men) who want to be involved in their children’s lives.

        Therefore, provide the full range of ongoing benefits to women on disability and maternity leave and to those who return part-time. Let women who have babies return when they feel they are ready, both psychologically and physically. That means when they are getting enough sleep to function effectively during the day, when they feel they have bonded with their babies, and when they have located, tested, and are satisfied with whatever kind of child care they have chosen.

        Let women return from maternity leave on less than full-time or other alternative schedules — part-time, shared, telecommuting arrangements — for as long as they want. And permit new fathers to take parental leaves, sequencing them with those of their wives. In other words, establish a policy that permits parents to cut back to as much as half-time (at prorated pay) and reenter the competition for senior management levels or tenure if they chose. Don’t sideline them to the “mommy track.”

        This means taking responsibility — in partnership with parents, communities, and government — for making parenthood work. Push for high-quality, affordable child care. Find every opportunity to enable parents to work at home by contracting out work and being flexible in assigning new duties to current employees. When a woman (or man) is out on leave or working part-time for a significant period, provide the additional heads and hands that are necessary to get the work done. Learn how to measure productivity instead of time in the office and put systems in place to do so.

        The bottom line is that family issues are work issues; and all problems are remedial. Only by facing these facts can a true partnership be forged between women and their employers, and between women and their families.