Peter Merrill, ASQ Quality Press, 2015, 268 pp., $24 member, $40 list (book).
Merrill’s book takes you through the necessary concepts, learning and strategic thinking, culture and role changes; and steps to develop and implement an innovation process. This book is easy to understand and illustrates why innovation is essential. It’s a how-to book backed by successful experiences.
Merrill positions the innovation process as a next logical step above and beyond an ISO 9000-type process. He expands on an existing ISO 9000-based quality management system, focused on continuing improvement to begin to work with a breakthrough mindset on changing the organization culture to create an innovation process for an entire organization. He defines the innovation process as consisting of five major steps:
- Find the opportunity.
- Connect to the solution.
- Select the solution.
- Make it user-friendly.
- Get it to market.
The steps outlined here must be carefully planned so that the best people—relative to talent, temperament and experience—are placed in the most effective role.
Merrill cautions that individuals should be assigned responsibility for a step where they can make the greatest contribution.
This book augments the rising concerns and discussions about the threat of competitor innovation by establishing an innovation process that can replace all the talk with actions to develop a viable, proactive and innovative organization. Initiating and developing the process, and getting the new product or service to market will take time, effort and funding.
What the author concludes, however, is that it's a lot more productive than just talking about the growing threats and waiting for another organization to takeover.
Think of this book as a recipe for your organization’s survival. Continual improvement is always needed, but becoming an innovative organization should be embraced.
Old Saybrook, CT
Evolutionary Coaching: A Values-Based Approach to Unleashing Human Potential
Richard Barrett, Lulu Publishing Services, 2014, 288 pp., $21.00 (book).
This book is a coaching approach based on Barrett’s personal model of human psychological development. It is more about the psychology of human development and assessment than it is about coaching. Written for coaches and their clients, the approach is best described as life coaching rather than executive coaching. This book is an eclectic labyrinth of theories, therapies and models mixed with a dash of spirituality.
Despite the complexity, the book is well organized and divided into three parts with 16 chapters. Part one sets the coaching stage. It explains Barrett’s theory of human emergence, psychological development and the evolutionary stages of decision-making.
Part two focuses on exercises used to evaluate a client’s primary and secondary motivations as well as the culture they live in.
Part three dives into evolutionary coaching skills and techniques for overcoming fears, living a purpose-driven life, and fulfilling your potential.
Make no mistake, this book is not light reading. Although Barrett’s writing style is generally clear, the prose is dense and complex. However, it you’re a coach and want a new and interesting perspective on coaching, give this book a try.
Beat the Boss: Win in the Workplace
Spencer Cohn, CreateSpace, 2015, 171 pp., $9.95 (book).
This is a short book that illustrates some of the possible workplace issues that can come up in our everyday work lives. The format is a collection of concise tales, each covering a particular situation in which a person is subjected to a set of circumstances to which he or she responds. The response provokes action from management, usually some sort of disciplinary action that might include termination.
The story is followed by an analysis of what took place, who reacted improperly, and what the probable end result would be if litigation ensued. In hindsight, suggestions for proper response to the situation are provided. The point of advocacy is nearly always that of the employee—not management—as indicated by the book’s title.
The writing and stories are well done with catchy titles and a few single-pane cartoons thrown in for comic relief. The subject matter draws from the author’s experience and legal practice as an employee advocate. The book would greatly benefit from an index or grouping of stories by topic, because there is no easy way to return to a specific subject or incident.
Although this book doesn’t directly pertain to quality, it is a quick read to prepare for life in a litigious society—whether you are an employee or a manager.
Roderick A. Munro, Govindarajan Ramu and Daniel J. Zrymiak, ASQ Quality Press, 2015, 630 pp., $89 member, $135 list (second edition, book).
The second edition of this handbook is structured in accordance with the 2014 version of the ASQ-certified Six Sigma Green Belt (GB) body of knowledge (BoK). The main changes from the first edition include the addition of several appendixes, an expanded list of acronyms, new practice exam questions, and additional relevant topics on the accompanying CD-ROMs. The two disks contain introductory lean video clips that can be used as a source for lean application in an organization.
Part one of the handbook provides an overview of Six Sigma and lean processes and design for Six Sigma methods. The remaining parts of the handbook cover the five phases of the define, measure, analyze, improve and control model. Each chapter starts with an element of the BoK pertaining to the topic covered.
In addition to a detailed coverage of the subject, several examples are provided to help readers comprehend the material. The book would have benefited from case studies on practical experience in the field of Six Sigma to demonstrate how the theoretical concepts apply in various industry sectors.
This handbook is a valuable resource for those preparing for the GB exam. It is also a good reference for Six Sigma practitioners tasked with the improvement of a product or service that should ultimately result in an increase in profits.
Leading With Purpose: How to Engage, Empower and Encourage Your People to Reach
Their Full Potential
Marc Koehler, Over and Above Press, 2015, 184 pp., $24.95 (book).
Service Delivery Processes: Strategy to Operations
Jean Harvey, ASQ Quality Press, 2015, 456 pp., $60 member, $99 list (third edition, book).