Managing the Olympics

Stephan Frawley and Daryl Adair, editors, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, 232 pp., $110 (book).

The Olympic Games are arguably the biggest and most significant sporting event in the world. Planning and staging the Olympic Games is a highly complex task, which is exacerbated because the games continually relocate throughout the world. While the games themselves are held over two weeks, planning and preparation time from the bidding stage to completion can take more than a decade.

The aim of this book is to critically examine the planning, management and operation of the Olympic Games. The authors analyze and discuss how Olympic organizers and related stakeholders might effectively manage and deliver the games. They take into account what has been learned from previous Olympics, as well as focus on the emergence of best practice models from project and sport management literature.

This is an interesting book, and not only for those involved in organizing the Olympic Games or any other mega-event. It gives an interesting form of description on how the Olympic Games has evolved in different ways from Athens 1896 to Beijing 2008.

Bengt Klefsjö

Busy: How to Thrive in a World of Too Much

Tony Crabbe, Grand Central Publishing, 2015, 320 pp., $28 (book).

This book is an interesting read on how to deal with being busy all the time. It offers great suggestions and inputs on how to thrive and succeed in a busy world. The author introduces three strategies on how to combat being too busy.

The first strategy is mastery. This strategy teaches the importance of letting go of the need to control and organize our time. The author strongly advises setting and managing explicit boundaries as a tactic to avoiding getting sucked into the default of busy. He offers simple techniques to maintaining attention to the right choices. Practical guidance is suggested for breaking your day into big chunks of activities and minimizing distractions by making time for them. The last step to this strategy is mastering the power to say "No."

The second strategy is differentiation. Here, the emphasis is on the "less is more" concept and how to achieve it. In this section the author presents four delineation tactics for the reader to identify with. These tactics emphasize less on being productive and more on using your strengths.

The third strategy is engagement. Connecting to our core values, nurturing strong relationships that give us sustained joy and finding happiness in what we do are the secrets to permanently avoid being too busy. Crabbe shares seven easy-to-follow maneuvers to make these critical good intentions stick.

Life has become a race with electronics and technology only reinforcing endless hours of communication. This book is written in a simple and easy-to-understand language that readers will appreciate, and it is relevant to the present day. By using the tips and techniques presented in this absorbing book, readers will be able to find more time to relax and rejuvenate.

Anuradha Rangarajan
Harvard, IL

The Strategic Knowledge Management Handbook: Driving Business Results by Making Tacit Knowledge Explicit

Arun Hariharan, ASQ Quality Press, 2015, 168 pp., $24 member, $40 list (book).

This book is directed toward business leaders, executives and knowledge management professionals. It presents a strategy to aid implementation to achieve business results. The author draws on his actual experiences in applying knowledge management strategies in some of India’s largest enterprises.

As a means of introducing or refreshing readers’ knowledge about knowledge management, the author presents a story of the strategy and structure development for a group establishing an online knowledge management portal. As group members coalesce in contributing to and accessing the expanding knowledge base, members realize the value of their collaborative effort. Aside from shortening time for individual research, several members enjoyed substantial cost savings from enlightened knowledge in purchasing fitness equipment.

The concerts of data, information, knowledge and wisdom hierarchy are introduced. Data are described as unrelated facts or statements. Information is data arranged to help in understanding a relationship. Knowledge connects a pattern of information to help with inferences. Wisdom helps in understanding the principles behind knowledge. The objective is to apply information, knowledge and wisdom relevant to your business. Whether the source is internal or external, it is what is needed at the right time for the right decision to be made.

The author writes that an organization's culture of hoarding knowledge must change to knowledge sharing and reuse. Measures of knowledge management results appear in balanced scorecards and quality systems in forward-thinking organizations.

The book offers lots of do’s and don’ts, diagrams and other tools, as well as numerous examples and case studies of successful applications. A chapter on 360-degree knowledge management poses nine critical questions to ask. These questions assess whether your organization’s employees could leverage the collective knowledge of everybody else, and if this collective knowledge would grow, even when individuals leave.

All executives, if not aware of knowledge management and its outcomes, would benefit from this addendum to their concept of business strategy. Also, this book applies to any internal business official planning a major organizational culture change. It’s a fairly short book, but the knowledge presented and its practical application is well worth knowing and using.

Russell T. Westcott
Saybrook, CT

Six Sigma Case Studies with Minitab

Kishore K. Pochampally and Surendra M. Gupta, CRC Press, 2014, 318 pp., $112.95 (book).

This book is an eclectic mix of case studies representing a diversity of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, airlines and restaurants. The authors demonstrate how to combine the power of Six Sigma with Minitab to analyze data.

The book starts with an introduction to Six Sigma quality, providing definitions for important terms with accompanying examples. Chapter two serves as a good reference. It provides a brief description of the tools included in the book that facilitate locating a case study that applies to a specific tool of interest to solve a problem. Although fictitious, the problems are well represented and will resonate with any practitioner who has been tasked with applying a structured approach to resolve an issue.

Each case study starts by providing background and context for the problem under consideration. The authors follow the define, measure, analyze, improve and control method for each problem by indicating what kind of coverage the reader can expect for each phase. For example, the analyze phase for some case studies is briefly discussed but covered in great detail for other case studies.

The book includes detailed steps and several pages of screenshots for conducting the analyses in Minitab. The contents of the Minitab worksheets are in the appendix and also can be downloaded from the publisher’s website.

One note of caution: While there are case studies addressing advanced topics such as binary logistic regression, item and cluster analysis, and Taguchi design, the reader should not expect thorough treatment of these topics—only how to navigate Minitab to conduct an analysis.

This book is a good reference and will be most useful to individuals engaged in continuous process improvement and Six Sigma, and those teaching, training or conducting analyses using Minitab.

Kunita R. Gear
Bridgeton, MO

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