Making Sense: A Guide to Simplifying Your Communication So You Can Improve Your Bottom Line, Whether at Home or Business

Matt Simonis, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012, 158 pp., $14.99 (book).

This is a resource that can be used by anyone involved in communicating with others. Simonis has filled this book with concise, entertaining and clear communication tools. It can be used by those in the quality field as they reach out to others while building strategies that ensure quality-as-process and quality-as-result.

The book explores techniques for improving all types of communication. The 25 chapters of this short book are filled with easy-to-understand tips and strategies that are ready for immediate use. From the first page, the emphasis is on transmitting or transferring an effective message, and then confirming receipt. For messages to make sense, message senders are required to know the sending and receiving sides of communication prior to communicating.

The book should be read from beginning to end because there is logic linking the chapters. But, it also can be used as a resource for topic references. The ideas offered relating to communication make sense, and the approach is not a scholarly presentation with citations and references.

The book is an idea-starter with opportunities to apply insights gained in everyday activities, such as work, social settings and family communications.

I recommend this book as a resource for anyone who wants to be a better communicator. The ideas presented are applicable to maintaining effective leadership, successful management and compliance with assignments related to projects. It’s a fun read and may result in projects moving forward because of effective communication by managers and leaders.

Jerry Brong
Ellensburg, WA

RESPECT: Delivering Results by Giving Employees What They Really Want

Jack Wiley and Brenda Kowske, Jossey-Bass, 2011, 224 pp., $40 (book).

The authors of this book have spent 25 years surveying the world’s employees to find out what they really want from their employers and whether it matters to the bottom line. What they found can be summarized as a single word: RESPECT. And, apparently, organizations that give employees just that, outperform those that don’t.

Each letter of RESPECT stands for an important element the employer should provide their employees:

  • Recognition.
  • Exciting work.
  • Security.
  • Pay.
  • Education and career growth.
  • Conditions.
  • Truth.

In each chapter the authors:

  • Examine one item.
  • Tell a vignette about the topic.
  • Review the function of the element and its guiding principles.
  • Outline how to gauge your organization’s level of the factor.
  • Provide concrete actions to increase the amount of the factor in a manner that will be received positively by the employees.
  • Point out spots where employers usually come up short.
  • Bring together everything in a do’s and don’ts summary.

Managers and HR departments will benefit from the insightful analyses and surveys in this book, which will help determine if your organization is on the right track. Even if only a few ideas are implemented, everyone in the workplace will benefit.

Marc A. Feldman
Solvay Chemicals Inc.

Improving Project Performance: Eight Habits of Successful Project Teams

Jerry Wellman, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, 352 pp., $50 (book).

As long as there are projects that fail, there will be authors writing books on how to improve project performance. This book focuses on what it takes for project teams to successfully complete projects on time, within scope and on budget.

What makes this book different is that it focuses on the project team members’ behaviors and the dynamics influencing success.

The book is divided into nine chapters, with the first chapter covering the basic concepts of project management and challenges a project manager faces. The author also sets the foundation for the remaining chapters, in which each of the eight habits of successful project teams is covered.

Wellman draws from his extensive academic research background and work experience in the aerospace project management environment to provide an in-depth insight into each of the eight habits. They are only valid, however, when used with the framework provided by these project management foundational concepts further highlighted in the book.

 The main drawback of the book is it lacks examples of specific case studies showing drastic improvement in the projects in which teams employed these specific habits. The book also includes a large number of typographical errors, which detracts from its value.

Regardless of these weaknesses, the book offers valuable content and is worth reading. It is especially useful to project managers seeking guidance on how to shape and manage team members’ behaviors, with the goal of achieving project success.

Herzl Marouni
ABS Consulting

Patient Safety and Hospital Accreditation

Sharon Ann Myers, Springer Publishing Co., 2012, 340 pp., $65 (book).

Myers, a registered nurse with years of experience in the United States and Saudi Arabia, has written this book on hospital accreditation and patient safety. It combines the accreditation perspective and formal auditing approach with the practitioner’s view. The book’s goal is to make a positive impact on healthcare processes and services.

Patient-safety levels in hospitals and healthcare organizations are a reflection of the organizational culture, deployed competencies, and supporting tools and technologies. The author proposes a model for designing and deploying excellence in patient safety practices and outcomes that involve a system level, a unit level and an individual level. The book includes five sections and two appendixes:

  • Section I: Overview of hospital accreditation and patient safety.
  • Section II: Why a model is needed when developing and implementing patient safety and accreditation initiatives.
  • Section III: The Myer Model for patient safety and accreditation.
  • Section IV: Tools for building a better reporting system.
  • Section V: Recommendations for future consideration.

These five sections provide an overview with some specific tools and methods designed to help improve patient safety. The book includes enough concrete examples for readers interested in getting workable tips on what to do in their own organizations. I recommend it to managers and experts involved in the process improvement of healthcare delivery.

Ron S. Kenett
KPA Ltd.
Raanana, Israel

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