Why Doers Do: Managing Human Performance to Optimize the Return on Your People Investment

David E. Wile, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013, 478 pp., $26.95 (book).

This book is a fictional story about managing group activities. It offers opportunities for reader involvement in thinking about management. It is well-organized with a detailed table of contents, but it lacks an index. It is not a tool to use to find information, but rather a story about "doers doing." The nine chapters explore the nine elements of the externality-tangibility (E-T) model.

The book opens with the story about the character Luke. Luke manages an IT department, and he is the parent of three teenagers. The themes of the story explore his life, human performance problems and situations in which he would like to help people do better at their jobs. Part of it is tied to his involvement with an ice hockey team. The chapters show how Luke becomes involved with situations in which his employees, his teammates or his teens are somehow struggling with lower-than-expected performance. Luke discovers solutions using the E-T model and eventually succeeds.

Though quality as a technical and management process is not a primary theme, elements of successes, continued improvement, confirming results and communicating expectations are key elements. Wile uses storytelling to inspire readers to think about human performance and successes with quality results implied.

This book is not recommended as a reference resource in the field of quality. For persons interested in personal and professional improvements in complex, people-based organizations, however, it is thought-provoking. Writers in the field of quality may be interested in the book as a model to be used as methods and resources specific to the broader idea of quality as process and result fields are explored.

Jerry Brong
Ellensburg, WA

Transforming IT Culture: How to Use Social Intelligence, Human Factors and Collaboration to Create an IT Department That Outperforms

Frank Wander, John Wiley & Sons, 2013, 224 pp., $50 (book).

This book provides a comprehensive overview of transforming IT organizations with an emphasis on realizing the value of the HR department. Wander laments that IT organizations intensely focus on processes, technology and analytics, but not on their professionals.

In today's IT world, employees must collaborate to create value. The author contends that social intelligence, trust and unselfishness are indispensable tools of management that will enable leaders to energize HR.

The book begins by discussing a blind spot in today’s organizational management—not placing a high value on embracing workers and their potential. Further chapters discuss pertinent and important matters, such as the opportunity cost of ignoring the human potential, social cohesion and conceptual unity. Transformation in organizations happens by putting it all together.

This book uses simple and easy-to-understand language and diagrams from start to finish, making it useful to managers and HR professionals at all levels. It is a must-read for those in IT organizations. It is an invaluable guide to building a better IT department from the inside out.

Anuradha Rangarajan
Harvard, IL

Four-Cornered Leadership: A Framework for Making Decisions

John Roland Schultz, Productivity Press, 2013, 277 pp., $59.95.

This book on leadership is based on W. Edwards Deming’s teachings. While most books directed toward Deming’s principles focus on the techniques for supporting and improving quality, this one focuses on guiding leaders to achieve organizational goals using those same tools.

Schultz describes a set of leadership competencies based on four elements of the system of profound knowledge: appreciation for the system; understanding variation and data-based decisions; understanding individual and organizational learning; and understanding individual and organizational psychology. The ability to move within these four corners is what makes a good leader. To aid in understanding and polishing those abilities, numerous topics are reviewed with respect to how they fit within the processes necessary for effective leadership using this model.

I particularly enjoyed the discussions on the distinction between leadership and management and overlaying the plan-do-check-act cycle with the learning cycle to generate a standard four-quadrant situation matrix. For those interested in how they fare in this model, a questionnaire for assessing leadership capability is included.

According to the author, "Leadership is about governance and making things happen—repeatedly." If you follow leadership, management and quality trends, or ever wondered how quality could work on the management side of the business, you will benefit from this book.

Marc A. Feldman

Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers: The People Skills You Need to Achieve Outstanding Results

Anthony Mersino, Amacom, 2013, 285 pp., $19.95 (second edition, book).

Mersino takes emotional intelligence and exploits it in many ways, all within the context of projects and project management. Exploring emotional intelligence, what it means—knowing how to use it and improve on it—is challenging.

To describe and address the topic, Mersino divides the book into four major parts, 10 chapters, six appendixes and an index. The parts describe his approach: build a framework, provide structure, fill in the details, and include tools and diagnostics that can be used by individuals and project managers. He first provides an introduction to emotional intelligence and slowly changes focus by showing that project management begins with self-management.

As a manager, your project is entirely built around stakeholder relationships, and that’s the subject of part three. Mersino's experience is best showcased where he talks about using emotional intelligence to lead project teams.

The two most impressive parts of the book are in the later pages. First, Mersino describes four resonant leadership styles. These are the ways that a leader builds through personal and team synergies. As with other parts of the book, he compares and contrasts the leadership styles in a handy table.

The area that benefits readers most is Mersino’s uses of models and diagrams to show relationships and how emotional intelligent and self-awareness are at the core of excellent project management.

This is a highly beneficial and easy-to-read book that will benefit many people.

Frank Pokrop
San Diego

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