Thursday, August 10, 2006

Brain Dump

Here's what I've been reading and working on these past days.

First, Break all the Rules, by Buckingham and Coffman
The book is written by these folks from Gallup who worked with a HUGE cohort of managers to find out what makes the best ones tick. It's interesting methodology and the conclusions are good. There is a list of things that they say every manager should be able to communicate to his/her employees and if their employees can be assured in those areas, everything will turn out fine and the employees will be happy--and turnover will be low. Here's where you can find that list.

A lot of the discussion centers around what a manager should do with an employee's talent (or lack thereof). The manager should be engaged in using what the employee has to offer and not trying to "put in what was left out." Sounds a lot like volunteer management!

Anyhoo, very much worth while. Again, here is a more in-depth review of the book that gives a detailed summary of points raised in the book.

Now, Discover Your Strengths, by Buckingham and Clifton
This book takes the ideas in the first book and has you apply them to yourself. Pretty interesting. You decide what you are good at and the idea is that you focus on those things and just worry about keeping your weaknesses from sabotaging you (as opposed to laboring over your weaknesses and not developing your strengths even more).

Buckingham is working on a "strengths-based" management moving you can learn about on his website.

Turnaround, by Mitt Romney
Now, I read quite a few non-fictiony business type books and this one was different. That's because it was really pretty technical, like a case study. For those who don't know, Mitt Romney is the venture capitalist governor of Massachussets. This book chronicles his handling of the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympics. I was living in Utah during a big chunk of the time period covered by this book, and, although I knew there was scandal surrounding the bid process, etc., I didn't realize the extent of the huge problems faced by the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. It was a mess, and Mitt fixed it. The book tells you how he did that, and that's what makes it different. It's not an A-list book, but if you're interested in real life examples of how things get done, this is an interesting read, and a page turner. Romney may also run for president, check out this site for more on that.

In unrelated news...

A post from the Blog Business Summit will probably be interesting to some of the blogoclump, since it reports on some research detailing styles that can be used/are observed in corporate blogging today.

An association hack is definitely Google's new spreadsheet application. It's web-based, BUT IT'S FAST. Also, you can share it. It is an awesome solution for committee and taskforce work and the versioning problems that come with it. To paraphrase the Good Book, "train up a committee in the way it should go, and when it is old it will not depart from it." What I mean by that is that of course, you'll have to tell people how to use it. But they should easily see the benefits.