Books We Love!


  • 6 Jul 2020 2:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    John Doerr, the author of Measure What Matters, is an unashamed advocate of building organizations with the support of ambitious goal setting and continual improvement. John's book explains how leaders can reach new heights of profitability, innovation, and employee engagement with the implementation of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) that must be supported by Conversations, Feedback, and Recognition (CFR's).

    Today's world of commerce is fast-changing, endlessly challenging, and full of opportunity. Leaders and their organizations need to be agile, adaptable, and willing to reach for the stars. It can be challenging to make progress towards your star of choice without clear objectives. Without a culture that encourages innovation and isn't afraid to learn from its own mistakes, the motivation to work continually towards those high-flying goals can evaporate.

    The book is illustrated with numerous examples of how successful organizations have implemented OKRs and provides a blueprint for fostering a culture of collaboration, accountability, and with it, company-wide peak performance.

    Collaborative Goal Setting and Tracking

    OKR’s began life at Intel in the '70s as Management Business Objectives. OKRs help to push employees to succeed and collaborate to achieve more each day. Over the next three decades, the OKR methodology was honed and adapted for almost any organization – no matter how big or small, young, or old it is. OKRs have 'oomph' and accountability built in so each contributor to the business can be excited and enthusiastic about the work they are doing and the places it will take them.


    Research shows that simply writing a goal down increases your chances of reaching it. Public goals are more likely to be achieved than private ones. People who record their goals and share their progress towards them achieve 43% more than those who keep their dreams to themselves. These enlightening facts about how humans operate are behind the OKR process.

    The transparency and public availability of OKRs drive clarity within the business and accountability for individual action. They create momentum towards the goals that encourage everyone in the pursuit of greatness.

    While collaborative, clear objectives provide direction for the business and the teams within it, the ‘Key Results’ element provides a method for tracking progress. Key results should be metrics that are uncolored by opinion or perspective. A lofty objective is supported by three to five clear, actionable, measurable key results. Examples of good and lousy objectives and key result pairings are given throughout the book. Metrics can be set as key results to ensure that quality isn't compromised. Doerr uses the example of the number of vouchers processed being countered by the number of errors incurred to illustrate how multiple key results ensure that the intent of the objective is not compromised.

    OKRs Connecting Individuals to Organization's Mission and Values

    Studies show us that humans are driven to connect. We want to see how we belong in an organization and why and how we matter to the whole. OKRs answer this drive, they link employees at all levels of a business to the leader's aspirations. Doerr argues that when implemented well, OKRs provide a clear understanding of how each role weaves into the organization's mission and values.


    OKRs enable contributor alignment. Aligned employees are twice more likely to be top performers than unaligned colleagues. What's more, the process of public goal setting and measurement of progress towards these goals eliminates instances of doubling up on work – redundant efforts are jettisoned, time, money, and personal motivation are saved. If this alone were the benefit of the OKR process, all organizations should adopt it.

    The book also provides OKR case study examples and a checklist for OKR hygiene. This checklist ensures the objective setting, tracking, and review is continually refined and perfected to propel an organization forward.

    The truism that 'less is more' is used by Doerr to show that too many objectives can pull people in different directions. Inevitably this causes confusion and distractions, with goals being missed stakeholders becoming frustrated. Three to five objectives per cycle is optimal for pushing businesses towards success. Goal setting needs to be aspirational and functional, bottom-up, and top-down, so every person willingly gets behind them. Collaboration, flexibility, and a willingness to fail also need to be built into the OKR system for it to work.

    Continuous Performance Management

    To embark on a journey that takes businesses into the future, management and HR processes need to evolve. Systems of one-way feedback, annual reviews tied to remuneration, and opaque leadership decisions are old hat. These processes stifle creativity, collaboration, and innovation – the three behaviors that are critical for the future of work.


    Job seekers and employees today expect more from their workplaces than a monthly paycheck and benefits. Growth, innovation, and accountability are becoming the new stars of the workplace. New management styles need to support new forms of work that employees are demanding from their supervisors. Employees need to be empowered to deliver what their business needs and their customers demand. Regular conversations, networked communication, and consistent recognition support these new expectations. What's more, it fits perfectly with the OKR system for achieving more and engaging a workforce for greatness.

    Continual performance demands coaching moments that are decoupled from remuneration. OKRs work well within strengths-focused cultures, fact-driven decision making, along with a dose of emotional intelligence and empathy. OKRs are perfect for today's changing workplace, where inclusive and caring styles are replacing pure logic.


    Alignment and transparency are naturally present in the CFR (Conversations, Feedback, and Recognition) management style, especially ones underpinned by OKRs. CFRs are the way of the future and one that employees are demanding more and more. Employee engagement increases it by three factors with frequent "one to ones" which are at the core of the CFR management style. CFR conversations should include regular check-ins on progress, goal setting, and two-way coaching to career growth discussions and light-weight performance reviews. When coupled with the OKR system, this coaching style supports the achievement of objectives and quickly identifies poorly designed key results.

    Doerr reminds us throughout the book how easy it can be to lose track of progress and sight of goals in the day to day operations of a business. CFRs not only improve performance but enable people to keep sight of the big picture and the responsibility they must generate the brush strokes needed to paint their organization's future.

    Secret Sauce

    With strong leadership, a creative culture and sound judgment, OKRs can be the secret sauce that propels organizations to further success. OKRs combined with CFRs can provide the foundations needed to build a culture of success for those that don't. CFR's can inject the much-needed flexibility to change a stagnant culture into one that is vibrantly alive.

    The clear, collaborative goal-setting culture explained by Doerr helps teams and individuals to understand the current priorities. Clearly defined goals help build employee engagement and link teams' work to a broader mission. OKRs combined with CFRs may well be what drives the future of work.

  • 8 Jun 2020 8:49 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This fascinating book reveals groundbreaking insights into the 52 discoveries from Gallup’s study of the future of work. Based on new research, it provides insights into key skills, and the importance of managers.

    As the fourth industrial revolution drives rapid change the demands on managers are also changing. Remote workforces, diversity, inclusion, increased automation, gig-workers, and remote working and requiring new working practices. Gallup represents that managers must be developing new skills to handle this new world of work.

    As the nature of work, and the demographics or workers, have changed dramatically in recent years, management practices have been stuck in the past. Millennials, and Generation Z make up more and more of workforces and they don’t want to work for command-and-control bosses. Traditionals (the generation before the Boomers) may be the most engaged of all generations, yet they are slowly disappearing from businesses. Younger generations expect something different, both as consumers and employees. Organizations need to keep pace with these changes and ahead of competitors to remain relevant. Managers are the most influential and powerful 'lever' an organization has for answering this need. More than any other role, managers can increase an employee's engagement, and with it, productivity. Yet, just like the needs and expectations of today's workforce, the role of managers is also changing.

    Unlike usual management books, It's The Manager, is written to be helpful for CEOs, CHROs, and managers. Doing so could well improve an organization's performance and profitability. Chapters are short and punchy. Ideas are deftly explained and presented in actionable ways. Authors Jim Clifton and Jim Harter begin by identifying declining economic dynamism and productivity as the # 1 problems for the world's organizations. Acquiring other businesses has become the most common strategy of organizational growth for all Fortune 1000 companies. Quite obviously, this is an unsustainable option. Maximizing human potential must replace this method of growth and increase profitability if businesses are going to thrive. Replacing the old 'boss' mentality with a new and improved coaching method for management is part of this. This new perspective has the potential to catapult businesses into a future that is both profitable and sustainable. When team inspiration grows, clients, revenue, and quality earnings grow with it. Managers are the key to unlocking an organization's potential, now and into the far future.


    With five sections – Strategy, Culture, Employment Brand, Boss to Coach, and The Future of Work – the authors lead us through how managers can influence teams and ultimately a business' viability at each of these junctures. This structure allows readers to dive into these pages at the point most relevant to their organization. The clear chapter titles make it simple to find scientifically-backed advice on any number of organizational questions leaders or managers may have. Written to be returned to time and again, this business and management book is based on more than 30 years of data, collected across 160 countries through interviews with employees and managers working in a wide range of industries.

    A core theme within the text is that people today aspire to have a good job more than almost anything else. Individuals engage with work that supports their lifestyle, development, idea of who they are, and whom they want to be. More than any other single thing a company can do to provide this ideal is to develop great managers because great managers are the facilitators of good jobs.

    When it comes to strategy, companies need to provide their workers with more than just a task and paycheck at the end of the month. Employees now want purpose with their paychecks, development with satisfaction, ongoing conversations with their managers, and managers who are more like coaches than bosses. Organizations need to develop their teams' strengths rather than focusing on eliminating weaknesses. Job seekers and employees are, above all else, looking for work that supports their life and growth as well as an income.


    To aid this aspiration, managers at all levels need well-defined, articulated missions, and purposes that they can convey to their teams with passion and enthusiasm. They need to be able to help everyone on their team relate to the work they do each day and understand how it is an integral part of creating a bigger picture and meeting a grander purpose. Managers need to feel inspired and valuable to do this; it is up to leaders to develop them. When managers feel this and work together with other managers, organizations can change and evolve with the demands of their market.

    The authors tell us culture begins with purpose, determines your brand, and has a direct, measurable impact on performance. A definite purpose leads to better employee retention. ALL organizations have a culture – yet only a small number have intentionally cultivated theirs. Lack of attention to developing the organization's culture is detrimental to the employees, managers, and leaders' motivation and thereby to the entire business. To understand a company's culture, leaders should be asking themselves some key questions:

    1. How well do our purpose, brand, and culture align?
    2. How clear is our purpose to employees?
    3. Are our employees committed to our culture?

    Once a leader has answered these questions, they can identify their culture and nurture it. Helpfully, the authors have supplied the tools to do just that. Healthy organizational cultures attract world-class talent. They can maximize the organic growth delivered from customer-employee interactions and are agile when responding to market needs. Simply put, organizations need strong cultures to remain competitive.

    In today's hyper-connected world, your company's employment brand is more important than ever. Millennials seek jobs that fit their lifestyle, bring them opportunities to learn, advance, and develop professionally. The quality of a business' managers and interesting, engaging work is more important to them than pay. What's more, these job seekers can research, review, and gain insights into most organizations before they even apply.

    Hiring experiences are shared far and wide – if they're negative, expect them to be shared far and wide.

    Valid assessment systems, psychometric testing, and enriching the talent pool are all strategies this book identifies for enhancing your employment brand and increasing the success of hires. As an added benefit the book comes with a code to take the Clifton Strengths Finder assessment for free!

    Businesses can augment college experiences with meaningful internships, providing mentors, or working with institutions to support semester-long projects. That will enable them to develop future employees for their organization while simultaneously filtering the talent that suits their needs. Students receive an enriched learning experience, and your company is future-proofing its hiring. From hiring to onboarding, through to exiting and succession planning, a company's employment brand and strategies can be adjusted and tweaked to protect the future while also improving the present. Managers are integral to each step of this process – encouraging teams, providing mentoring to students, listening to employees at exit interviews, and managing their path of development and engagement.

    Tweaking the manager's role and adjusting the perspective from boss to coach is a significant key to influencing the retention and engagement of all individuals in their team.

    It is estimated that poor management costs $7 trillion globally. Performance management needs to step aside for performance development. Eliminating weaknesses needs to be replaced with strengths-based coaching. Strength-based cultures consistently out-perform competitors. And who is best placed to implement these changes? It's the manager.

    Continual coaching of employees powerfully impacts performance; when accompanied by progress feedback, teams become more engaged, increase productivity, and are less likely to be lured away by better benefits or higher pay. Engaged employees need to be paid at least 20% more by a competitor to be convinced to switch companies.


    If leaders want to take advantage of these findings and boost their business' bottom line and shareholder's stakes, they need to invest in their managers. They need to equip them with the tools to become coaches. The manager's roles need to be redefined and expectations clarified, the resources required to coach their teams, and the professional development to make this switch of focus need to be delivered. Evaluation practices that accurately measure this performance need to be created.

    This book shows how managers can help organizations adapt to a fast-changing world. All organizations need them. They are the cohort that can mobilize the workforce to meet the challenges the future is thrusting towards us. From remote teams to artificial intelligence, attracting talent, and organizational agility, great managers, is the answer to building your business into the future.

  • 23 May 2020 8:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Rather than being devoid of emotion, workplaces are increasingly becoming reliant on the human heart. To quote Minouche Shafik, the Director of London's School of Economics, "In the past, jobs were about muscle, now they're about brains, in the future they'll be about heart." If you want your business to thrive in the future, 'Dare to Lead' is essential reading.

    Delving into the emotions of great leadership and the temptation we all feel to avoid difficult or emotional conversations in the workplace – and other areas of our lives – this book unpicks the values and skills needed to drive organizations to future profitability. Packed full of information based on more than 20 years of research and insights gleaned from countless interviews, a range of behaviors leaders need to enter the next era of work with confidence and courage are identified. Helpfully, clear strategies, and plans for developing these skills and qualities are also provided.

    Leading with Heart

    While automation and AI may be able to take on some of the workplace's analytical and processing tasks, they will never be able to replace human creativity, passion, or heart. Because of this, these qualities will become increasingly valuable in the future. As the author points out, time and again throughout the book, the only way to leverage these qualities is by becoming proficient at leading with heart, leaning into our values, building trust, and courageously exposing our vulnerability when it matters most. Often, this is when it feels the least easy to do.


    Beginning by explaining the intrinsic link between courage and vulnerability and how our emotional armor gets in the way of bold leadership, the book defines four sets of skills that are needed to lead with heart. Far from being 'soft' skills, these abilities are hard-won and require continual practice to keep sharp. Rumbling with vulnerability, living into our values, braving trust, and learning to rise after a fall can be learned, observed, and measured. The book comes with additional resources and a workbook downloadable from the author's website to help readers build these skills and measure them too.

    Sweeping away the myths about vulnerability, the text explains why this quality is needed to forge authentic connections, get to the heart of matters, and build trust within an organization. Vulnerability and trust are two sides of the same coin. To betray or withhold one is to do the same with the other. Organizations that lack trust are doomed to fail. Therefore, daring leaders are the ones who continue to learn and become willing to discard their emotional armor, expose their vulnerability, and lead with feeling and emotion.

    But this is not done carelessly. Safe spaces, clear boundaries, and clarity of direction and expectations are also needed if leading with vulnerability and integrity is to bring results. While this may seem to be a gross waste of time, investing effort to understand the fears and feelings of a team or workforce is far more effective than belatedly managing ineffective and unproductive behavior. Clear boundaries and language enable us to understand each other, expose vulnerabilities, and build stronger relationships. These authentic relationships and workplace comradery give people the confidence and freedom to innovate, experiment, and grow. It also allows individuals and teams to try new things without the fear of failure. Trying, failing, and then trying again is a necessary process for the growth of both individuals and organizations. The quicker and more willing we are to do this, the more likely we are to achieve greatness.

    Integrating thinking, feeling, and behavior enables wholeheartedness. This wholeheartedness allows us to engage in trust, creativity, innovation, and take accountability for our actions. These qualities are critical for organizations wanting to develop and grow with their market, keep their star employees, and build a workplace that is connected and peopled with engaged, enthusiastic, and switched on players.

    Emotional Intelligence helps

    When we are open and connected to our feelings so that we can understand what they are telling us, we can engage in critical thinking and make better decisions. Our emotional intelligence helps us navigate through difficult changes in our businesses effectively. As tempting as it can be to 'put on armor,' revert to limbic responses and protect our vulnerable areas, as soon as we do, we lay the path for leading with fear and other destructive behaviors that stifle creativity and growth. A table of common armored leadership techniques is provided with their antitheses, daring leadership methods. A whole chapter is given to support these daring leadership methods with anecdotes and examples. In doing so, the author leads us through the tactics and qualities daring leaders use to achieve brilliant results within their organizations.


    Instead of driving perfectionism and fostering fear of failure, we are challenged to model and encourage healthy striving, empathy, and self-compassion. Rather than reward exhaustion as a status symbol and attaching productivity to self-worth, we are invited to model and support rest, play, and recovery. These simple-sounding changes can be hard to amend if an organization struggles in a culture of shame that tells people to 'Suck it up' or 'Push through.' But if we are not brave enough to turn the tide of destructive thought patterns and emotionally stifling cultures, we are left with rising absenteeism, tumbling engagement levels, and half-hearted efforts at meeting company goals. Ultimately the business and its leaders will lose out.

    Daring leaders do what needs to be done for the business while always keeping the people in mind. Behaving with kindness and providing clarity, acting with generosity, and respecting others stop a toxic workplace from developing and shame eroding a business from the inside. Empathy, connection, and responsible vulnerability are the solid foundation of daring leadership; the workplaces of tomorrow, and the people within them, will need this foundation to create freely, innovate and work from their hearts. The path is not simple, and daring leaders are aware that it is their personal ability to thrive in the ambiguity of paradoxes and opposites that will drive their companies into the future. Grounded confidence, unwavering curiosity, and clarity of values all need to be in a daring leader's collection of qualities to avoid getting lost and resisting the urge to armor up.

    Build Trust

    Helpfully, the book finishes by tying behaviors to these values and feelings, making it easy to name the talents and skills needed to underpin them. It shows how daring leaders believing that people do the best with what they have, allows them to respect others for who they are and hold them accountable for what they are doing. By taking this perspective, organizations, teams, and individuals can build trust, develop their skills, and grow to be better. It identifies the behaviors of trust – boundaries, reliability, accountability, keeping confidences, integrity, holding back judgment, and generosity. In doing so, it provides the reader with tangible and actionable methods for building self-awareness, creating a climate of trust, and developing organizational resilience one hire at a time.

    All the qualities and behaviors discussed in the book are ones that will be most valuable in the future of work. They cannot be programmed. Machines cannot generate them. They are intrinsically human, challenging to master, and forever tied to our values and who we really are. Daring leadership is about the authenticity of self and enabling authenticity in those around us. It may not be easy, but it is undoubtedly worthwhile.

  • 10 May 2020 4:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This is the third book from bestselling authors and futurists Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler which tackles the challenges of the future. The first, Abundance, looked at the really big global issues, such as poverty and hunger. The second, Bold, considered our new emerging technologies and how they may create a raft of powerful new entrepreneurs. This latest volume, The Future Is Faster Than You Think, is a prophecy outlining how our world will change in response to the next ten years of rapid technological transformation.

    Jumping straight in with flying cars, you could be forgiven for wondering what this book has to do with the future of work. Yet the in-depth exploration of how the technologies of today are evolving and permeating every aspect of our lives includes a view on what the new world of work will look like. Not only is how we get to work going to change, the places we earn our living and the new areas of commerce that technology will open up are discussed and dissected in detail, laying out the opportunities and threats that will present themselves in the coming decade. And it’s all coming so much faster than you think.

    The Future Is Faster Than You Think is laid out neatly in sections covering all aspects of our lives – work, rest and play. Neatly packaged in three sections, the book takes you on a ride that gets faster and more fantastic with each section while never losing plausibility of the arguments and discussion posed.

    Part one: converging technologies

    Section one begins with fantastical flying cars that are already a reality. From here, individual technologies such as 3D printing, bespoke medications, applications for blockchain technology and materials science are all explored. All of these and more are advancing, on their own, at a rapid rate. Yet, as the book explains, when these technologies converge, the rate of advancement accelerates exponentially. Innovations explode, feeding off each other and creating a positive feedback loop that gets bigger and bigger, affecting more and more people around the world. What was once far-fetched fantasy could now be within the reach of reality and delivered to your door by the end of the decade. One of the biggest beneficiaries of this will be our new world of work.

    Daily commutes can be replaced with VR connections. Our hyperconscious world, with its constant stream of information, is likely to be managed largely by AI’s designed to makes sense of this barrage of data on our behalf; all with the aim of making our lives easier and happier. This same AI is likely to augment our workforces and deliver more meaningful, engaging and enjoyable jobs for all.

    Part two: welcome to the the experience economy

    Part two looks at how the seven main areas of America’s commerce – retail, advertising, entertainment, education, healthcare, insurance, and food – where more than 80% of Americans find their employment, will change beyond recognition in just a decade. Crowdsourcing ‘on steroids’ will negate the need for insurance. Healthcare will become accessible to more and more people around the world, and what’s more, it’ll be tailored to your own unique DNA. Education will become immersive and entertaining – geared towards putting students in a state of flow enabled by AI that monitors the student as well as providing lessons. Because of this we’ll be able to learn more, remembering and integrate the knowledge being imparted.

    All of this is made possible with the merging of technologies. The lack of teachers can be answered by virtual reality and artificially intelligent programs. Advertising will become so personal,thanks to Geolocation technologies and the understanding of our mountains of data by AI, that advertisers and brands will need to be careful not to overstep the line between helpful and creepy.

    The experience economy, already growing at scale, will come to replace the product and service economies. Retail will change so much it becomes unrecognizable in comparison to today’s experience of shopping. Customer service assistants will be supported by AIs or otherwise replaced by them.

    When taken all together and dissected to see how each of the advances in different technological fields will influence and impact the others, the question becomes not ‘how can this be possible?’, but ‘why aren’t we seeing more of these changes already?’

    The truth is, in some parts of the world, these changes are already afoot. Children in Africa are self-educating with a basic tablet loaded with educational games and tutorials, nothing more. Smart objects in the home are already ensuring we never run out of coffee and switching off the heating when there’s no one around to benefit from it. Blockchain technology is facilitating smart contracts between workers in the gig economy from different corners of the world. Our world is becoming smaller, faster, and smarter, thanks to the many individual technological advances. When these advances converge, technology bounds ahead at an increasing speed. We start to realize a world where every individual is connected and given agency and the ability to engage with any other human on the planet – no matter where they physically stand. This in itself could be the largest innovation in all of history to date.

    The waves of acceleration explored in part one are followed as they spread through all of the sectors investigated in part two. The impact on our daily lives is both far reaching and fantastical. Up until here, the book keeps its view to the coming decade, and if you through it was tracking fast then, in part three, things go into overdrive.

    After detailing the disruption we’ll grow to expect and accept in our daily lives over the coming decade, the authors begin looking at the global effects of these disruptions and how they can, and already are, being used to answer some of the most pressing problems of our times.

    Part three: a new technology-led World

    Part three is where things get really exciting; taking a longer term view that looks at the next century with ease. As well as exploring the solutions that are already in process for the pressing issues of clean water, climate change, biodiversity loss, extreme weather and pollution, the authors look at how various migrations will bring about a world far more akin to William Gibson’s Neuromancer than the one we’re living in now. Technology won’t take work away, it will simply change it to beyond anything we’ve imagined up until now.

    When the Internet took hold of the world, 2.6 new jobs were created for every one job that became extinct, across 13 different countries. The same pattern can be expected for the proliferation of AI, robots and other converging technologies. People will be able to retrain quickly and efficiently thanks to the advances in education and its cross-over with VR and AI. Workforces are likely to be made up of teams including disembodied AI, robots and creative humans. New tech will emerge to answer the new problems that arise with these changes.

    Technology has given us, and is still giving us, the tools to answer the problems facing us today. Unusual collaborations between massive corporations like Coca-Cola and prolific inventors like Dean Kamen are now providing drinking water to small, remote villages in Africa. Renewable energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines are already surpassing traditional forms of electricity production. As is pointed out, time and again, the biggest hurdle holding us back from solving humanities biggest and most pressing crises today is cooperation on a global scale.

    However, even if we do learn to cooperate on this unprecedented level before it’s all too late, the convergence of technologies and multiple climate crises is likely to create more jobs as well as the biggest population migration the world has ever seen.

    Migration is one area of human movement that promotes innovation. The need to adapt to a new culture encourages immigrants to meld their familiar solutions with the new cultures they are integrating with. A natural byproduct of this adaption has been shown to be innovation – new products, processes, businesses and jobs. As new worlds open up through the coming century, migration to space, other countries, the cloud, virtual and augmented realities will take place.

    Further advances like brain-computer interfaces and nano-bots that enable extreme longevity will create a civilization that is light-years ahead of where we stand today, and all of this in less than 100 years.

    Conclusion

    This book details our journey from now towards greater abundance, meaning and happiness. It’s going to be a wild ride that just keeps getting faster.

    If you’ve been wondering how cleaner air, more efficient agriculture or faster transport options are going to impact the world of work, this book lays it all out in scarily precise and plain detail. Our world is speeding forward on a path to an ever more healthy, wealthy and happy period of humanity.

    The Future Is Faster Than You Think is a terrific summary of how the world may change to the next decade’s wave of technological disruption. Well written and genuinely fascinating , The Future Is Faster Than You Think is a discerning and perceptive look at the future and the new world of work.

  • 5 May 2020 4:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    If you are looking for a practical guide that not only explains what emotional intelligence is but also how to develop it in yourself, your teams, and your company, this book is it.


    Emotional intelligence is often talked about and even understood, as knowing yourself well enough to respond to your team and surroundings sensitively, as opposed to reacting without empathy and unintentionally causing friction. However, as this book so deftly explains, there is much more to emotional intelligence than simple empathy and self-awareness. Fully faceted emotional intelligence starts with you, extends to those around you, and moves on to provide the ‘why’ of situations. It is this well rounded, holistic emotional intelligence that will be in high demand in the future of work. While technology may be able to replace some functions, understanding human emotion, responding intuitively rather than reacting, and collaborating with a range of different personalities is the key to innovation, growth, and motivation. These are inherently human traits. These skills aren’t exactly new, but they are becoming more critical as the world changes, and our workplaces change with it.

    This book is full of useful examples, simple lessons, questions to guide you on your way, and a bunch of internet resources that will support your learning. It tells you what to do to build your emotional quotient (EQ), what NOT to do, and shows you how to do it.

    Part one: decision making

    Broken into three parts, beginning with decision making, The Non-Obvious Guide to Emotional Intelligence explains the neuroscience behind EQ. In doing so, it gives you the tools necessary to circumvent the natural tendency to delegate decisions to your limbic brain and instead use your prefrontal cortex to respond creatively and innovatively to problems. Simply pausing can stop our limbic system and its fight/flight reaction from taking over when presented with challenging situations. By creating some distance between the perceived threat and our reaction, we allow ourselves the space needed to create an emotionally intelligent response.


    Responses firmly rooted in well-rounded emotional intelligence allow for better decisions, help us see threats as opportunities, and create an environment that helps our teams to reach their goals.

    Emotion, empathy, and compassion are only the beginning of EQ. EQ certainly begins with the heart, but it needs to move onto the high functioning area of our brain – the creative prefrontal cortex, not the ancient limbic system – and be backed with the courage to pause, ask questions, and admit we don’t always know the answers. This enables us to reach out to our community when needed, allay our fears, and engage in problem-solving activities effectively.

    Part two: using emotional intelligence effectively

    After being told to pause and take our time, the author concedes that pausing for too long can sometimes be just as detrimental to a company’s future as acting rashly. Part two of the book moves into agility and how emotional intelligence can be leveraged to enhance our ability to pivot and act nimbly when required.

    Recognizing that we live in Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous (VUCA) times, with a barrage of information that can push us into high alert, emotional intelligence becomes ever more necessary to enable us to move beyond recurring problems and towards our goals.


    Practicing recognition and labeling of emotion will help us become less attached to them and allow us to respond to disruptions in the workplace, rather than reacting. In responding, we can create a growth mindset that allows us to learn from our failures, reduce our fear of failure and thus innovate towards success.

    Agility, as it relates to emotional intelligence, allows leaders to monitor their emotions as well as those of the people around them. This recognition can then be used to guide thinking and make better decisions. It can also be used to help us let go of strategies that no longer serve us, drop unhelpful perspectives, and can behaviors, ideas, and skills that aren’t taking us closer to our goals.

    Self-regulation is at the core of emotionally intelligent agility, and it allows us to build environments in the workplace that support the emotional intelligence of our teams too. Helpfully, the book includes a mental agility course you can use to train your mind and build your EQ. Tips for planning your day to enhance emotional intelligence are also provided.

    The framework for managing the fight/flight response of our limbic brain is laid out in clear and simple detail – prioritize the use of your prefrontal cortex by making time for high-level thinking at the start of the day. Decide what needs to be decided, sequence activities and decisions to work with your natural energy levels and expenditure, and finally, surround yourself with people who will tell it like it is rather than how they think you want to hear it.

    Part three: derailers and relationships

    With this firm foundation in hand, we move on to relationships, the final part of the book where all the prior learning comes together in an exciting and motivational way. Understanding what the author calls our ‘derailers’ is the first part. Derailers are behaviors that move us away from our goals; understanding them can help us to rise above our flawed view of ourselves and others so we can lead with self-awareness, social intelligence, and environmental sensitivity.


    These ‘derailers’ are often behaviors developed in childhood. When these preferred coping mechanisms – conflict avoidance, impulsiveness, blame-shifting, control, perfectionism, or power-hunger – are left unaddressed, they’re sure to steer us away from success. Recognizing these behaviors in ourselves and our colleagues allows us to mitigate the damage, identify what triggers them and create environments in the workplace that support emotional intelligence, motivation and cope with the fear associated with VUCA.

    In understanding our coping mechanisms, triggers, and emotional pitfalls, we can also begin to identify intrinsic motivators for ourselves and those around us. Intrinsic motivation is six times more potent than any extrinsic motivator. Tapping into this increases engagement, team cohesion, and helps us all to feel valued within the workplace. When emotionally intelligent leaders create engaging, safe, and enjoyable workplaces, innovation, and creativity rises. As the author notes, “If a leader is willing to grow their emotional intelligence, it can be seen in the company’s bottom line.”

    Emotional intelligence has far-reaching positive effects when in abundance. Equally, a lack can drive a business to extinction. The workplaces of tomorrow will be coping with fast-changing environments, masses of information, and uncertain market futures; it is for this very reason that emotional intelligence will become more and more necessary for businesses of all kinds. By recognizing all of the elements needed for holistic emotional intelligence, we give ourselves the chance to build the skills and behaviors needed to steer the businesses of the future towards success.

    Practical and useful guide

    This book not only details what emotional intelligence is, but it also gives readers the tools and resources needed to build it within themselves, their managers, and their entire companies. It shows how developing your emotional intelligence will help you find meaning at work and give meaning for others in their work too. It is a concrete, practical, and useful guide that will help you to connect with others, earn more money, and grow your business in a fast-changing world.

  • 4 May 2020 4:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    First published in 1999, this book was an instant success. Updates have helped keep the book current. But it is its underlying premise that seems to make it more relevant than ever for today’s changing world of work.


    No matter what your business is, ‘Intellectual Capital’ – your people – is the most valuable asset it has. Once upon a time, a company’s value was based on its assets, profit, and liabilities. In 1999, when this book was published, just 60% of a company’s value was based on these metrics. That number has been shrinking steadily. More and more, intangibles such as research and development, customer satisfaction, innovation, and employee satisfaction are becoming the measure of value. As we proceed into the coming decades, this will ring true with increasing strength. Healthy, vibrant workplaces are the ones that will adapt and innovate to become part of the future. These are the companies comprised of engaged employees, teams that are excited about the business, managers that can unlock the potential in every worker. Managers are a critical conduit for this. Far from becoming endangered, companies need these professionals to attract the right talent; to transform them into loyal and engaged employees who are excited about helping the business achieve its goals and surge forward to further successes. These emotionally invested workers have firm ties to the organization and love what they do. These firm ties are threaded through their direct supervisors and managers. Great managers help employees at all levels of an organization reach excellence. In doing so, they lift the business where they work to new heights. Poor managers can’t do this; average managers may occasionally, accidentally, cause this to happen; great managers do this consciously, consistently, and with ease. The demand for great managers will only increase.

    This book is based on 25 years of research by Gallup, interviews with over a million employees, and 80 thousand managers of all kinds in multiple verticals. The data has been sifted and sorted to create a measuring stick for valuing organizations. More importantly, it provides a blueprint to help any manager, in any business, up their game. Not offered as a checklist of do’s and don’ts but rather a map to get the best from each individual. This book is essential reading for any manager interested in driving their business beyond tomorrow.

    Helpfully broken into multiple sections that include the four keys great managers use and a practical guide for turning each of those keys, this book turns common beliefs about managers and managing on their heads. It describes in detail the four main functions of great managers: selecting the right talent, setting clear expectations, motivating people, and developing each individual to build upon their strengths. Myths such as ‘talent can be taught’ and ‘weaknesses can be trained out’ are soundly debunked. Instead, the methods of management that have been proven to work are picked apart, analyzed, and served to the reader in a way that they can be easily adopted and added to any manager’s arsenal.


    Talent is correctly described as a recurring pattern of behavior that forces individuals to focus on some stimuli and ignore others. These particular ways of sensing the world around us and sorting the many types of information we receive daily is what makes each person unique. These talents, predispositions, and personal qualities are helpfully placed into three categories – Striving, Thinking, and Relating. Understanding where a person’s predilections lie for each of these categories enables great managers to select the right person for the right role, matching not only skills and knowledge but talents too. In doing so, managers put themselves in a winning position. A great fit is half the battle when motivating employees to succeed in their work roles. For those wondering how to draw out the information needed to spot these talents through the selection process, interview questions and techniques are provided.

    Defining outcomes is separated from defining steps in a process. The book explains how clear and measurable outcomes allow for employee empowerment without allowing it to run riot and devalue the business. It shows through multiple examples how industry standards and defined structures can drive employee creativity while allowing for a sense of autonomy and empowerment, all while pushing value forward rather than killing it dead.

    While each position across the scope of all employment has its unique parameters, none are beyond definable outcomes – if they were, the business would not need for the position. Defining the desired outcomes of each role within an organization frees individuals from the details of processes that, more often than not, inhibitive their success.


    The book acknowledges that the outcomes of some roles are harder to define than others. Helpfully, simple guidelines to overcome this challenge are provided. It goes on to show and explain how great outcomes elicit positive emotional responses from customers. It explains how they are in line with the company’s strategy, and, most of all, play to an employee’s strengths, fitting neatly into the next key used by great managers – the focus on strengths.

    Individuals come with a bundle of different strengths and weaknesses likes and dislikes, yet all of us thrive on the right kind of attention. Constantly focusing on what people lack ruins relationships, and the primary role of a manager is to build and nurture a relationship with each member of their team. This relationship helps them encourage individuals towards bettering themselves, as when employees improve themselves, they also improve the company they work within.

    For this reason, great managers invest the majority of their time with the highest performers; it allows them to coax them toward continual improvement. The old rhyme ‘Good, better, best, never let it rest, until your good is better, and your better best.’ is one that great managers live by when engaging with their top performers. This is the best way to drive better performance from the entire team – it keeps the achievers motivated.

    While focusing on strengths is part of the third key to great management, it doesn’t end there. Nor does it mean poor performance can be ignored. If performance becomes an issue, a great manager’s first step is to ask why. If personal circumstances or lack of knowledge are not at the root of the cause, two further questions need to be answered; is the poor performance trainable? And, is the non-performance caused by the manager? If the answer is negative to these questions, also, a great manager recognizes they have three options: devise a support system for the employee, find a complementary partner to mitigate the performance issue, or find a new role for the poor performer.

    Questions and supporting strategies like these are scattered throughout the book, helping the reader to take a look into their management style and gain a better understanding of how they can build on their talents.


    In the fourth and final key of great management, the flaws in businesses of the past are laid bare. Companies of the future must understand and avoid these flaws if they wish to build and retain a workforce that is committed, talented, and loyal: Finding the right fit. Not every employee should climb the conventional career ladder. Not every individual holds the talents or inclination to lead. Promoting employees to their level of incompetence will frustrate the organization. Instead, new ways must be developed with a system that allows employees to attain prestige and feelings of accomplishment. The authors explain how conventional career paths are stifling talent and pushing employees towards career decisions that are not based on their talents. This is leaving them dissatisfied and in positions that don’t allow them to do the things they love each day. It drives down employee satisfaction and ultimately causes companies to drive away their greatest assets – their top-performing people.

    Once again, questions, strategies, and case studies are provided to support this unconventional truth and help managers retain talent while guiding people to be their best at work. The many case studies and examples provided throughout each section of the book illustrate the concepts detailed and help the reader to internalize each lesson. These examples provide a touchstone, anchoring the sometimes academic explanations of techniques in real-life stories, making them easier to digest and integrate into a management arsenal.

    The book finishes, rather helpfully, with detailed explanations and examples of how managers can apply each key to each member of their team. Groups of questions support the strategies, suggested routines, and helpful hints for employees at all levels of an organization. If you are a manager, or an aspiring manager, looking to up your game and boost your company’s profitability by helping people become the best versions of themselves, this is a book that will help.

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