The Basics of Performance Measurement

Jerry L. Harbour, Productivity Press, 2009, 102 pp., $14.95 (second edition, book).

After working in a discipline for a number of years, it is often difficult to remember there are those who need help understanding the basics and doing things that practitioners take for granted.

Harbour has revised his earlier text on performance measurement to help readers begin to identify and measure critical attributes necessary for action and improvement.

This second edition is expanded and improved, but it’s still easily understood, providing a step-by-step strategy for the beginner. Harbour has kept his lessons clear, focused and effective.

Each chapter provides information using simple terms and figures to illustrate Harbour’s six-step method. Each successive topic amplifies and builds on key concepts. Sprinkled throughout the book are synopses of the process, with each chapter offering a brief summary.

The only disappointing part of the book was the small number of suggestions for further reading. Readers would have benefited from seeing more places to look for additional information.

Beginners will gain the most from this book by being introduced to the process of performance measurement; however, old timers will find enough food for thought to justify purchasing a copy. This is one of the best how-to books I have read in a long time.

Marc A. Feldman
Solvay Chemicals

Beyond the Ultimate Question

Bob E. Hayes, ASQ Quality Press, 2010, 432 pp., $39 member, $65 list (book).

This book is an analytical, systematic approach to customer loyalty with no added fads or fluff. It provides a guide to creating a customer feedback program (CFP) with which to drive customer loyalty while ensuring organizational integration and strategic focus.

The book covers the customer’s role in a growing business. It includes the fundamentals of a CFP, such as strategy, governance, business process integration, survey methods, reporting and using data for applied research. Hayes provides data from outside studies, as well as data gleaned from his own research. This includes identifying best practices of a CFP within organizations that have high loyalty rankings. He also lists major roadblocks that prevent professionals from improving customer loyalty.

Two detailed case studies are provided following key issues articulated in the book, which also features plenty of charts, data, research and discussions. The appendixes are outstanding, providing information about determining customer requirements, constructing questionnaires, measurement and statistics. The author also provides a link to a website with a free self-assessment tool to help evaluate your CFP.

For those who want to understand how to address customer feedback and customer satisfaction, this book provides a clear blueprint for how to create a CFP tailored to your organization. For highly experienced professionals in this area, this book will be engaging, challenging you to review your approaches and take a fresh look at your CFP.

Denis Leonard
Business Excellence Consulting
Bozeman, MT

Glow: How You Can Radiate Energy, Innovation and Success

Lynda Gratton, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2009, 216 pp., $16.95 (book).

Gratton developed the main idea for this book based on her experience as a psychologist and a professor of management. Glowing is the term Gratton uses to describe people who want to excite and ignite others through their inspiration and innovation. Glowing people are able to create superior value and success in the workplace, which is important to staying ahead of the curve.

She identifies three attributes of a glowing person:

  • They have a cooperative mind-set: Learn to cooperate with others instead of staying in your own silo.
  • They jump across worlds: Network and reach out to friends and acquaintances around you that make up your world, particularly those who are different from you.
  • They ignite latent energy: Ask yourself meaningful questions, have a vision and do work that is exciting.

For each of the principles, Gratton provides a glow profile that readers can complete and score to see if they are glowing. In addition, each principle has actions supporting and assisting readers in their development.

While I would not classify this book as a self-help book, in many respects it is. The concepts are not new, and the principles themselves are known and understood by the majority of people working in a company or residing in a community. Personally, I did not find this to be a particularly glowing book, but you will need to be the judge.

Wayne Sander
Dove Quality Consulting
Dousman, WI

The Mentee’s Guide: Making Mentoring Work for You

Lois J. Zachary and Lory A. Fischler, Jossey-Bass, 2009, 176 pp., $25 (book).

This is a book about communication and the relationship between a mentor and his or her mentee. Whether you are assigned a mentor as part of a formal professional development program, initiate the search for a mentor on your own or enter an informal mentoring relationship, you will benefit greatly from the guidance in this book.

Zachary, having produced other works addressing the mentoring process from a mentor’s perspective, has now furnished insights and a process for the mentee to consider, adopt or adapt for a successful mentoring relationship. Using a series of suggested exercises, supported by lists of helpful tips and illustrative anecdotes, the author unfolds the building of a meaningful mentoring process.

The role of a mentor can be a rewarding experience. The role of a mentee can open one’s eyes and open the door to unseen personal growth opportunities. The former "sit at the foot of the master and heed his advice" perspective is out. Zachary and Fischler approach the mentoring process as a collaborative and mutually beneficial relationship. Also, the focus is on learning, not seeking favors or political advantage from the mentoring relationship.

This is a book about communication and building a productive and mutually satisfying relationship. The gems of wisdom provided in these pages can work for a lifetime. This book is recommended for anyone striving for personal professional development in any field.

Russell T. Westcott
R.T. Westcott and Associates
Old Saybrook, CT

Recent Releases

  • Liquid Lean: Developing Lean Culture in the Process Institute
    Raymond C. Floyd, CRC Press, 2010, 346 pp., $49.95 (book). 
  • Pocket Guide to Performance Management
    Mark Graham Brown, ASQ Quality Press, 2010, 72 pp., $15 member, $25 list (book).

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