Friday, February 21, 2014

Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change by Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler

Influencer: The New Science of Leading ChangeInfluencer: The New Science of Leading Change by Joseph Grenny
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It has been a while since I have handed out five stars, so I am excited to be writing about Influencer. It isn't that it is a perfect book, but the ideas in this book about how to bring about real changes are 5-star ideas. I was able to think about past successes and failures in organizational change efforts and see why I got the results I did.

While all of the sources of influence are important, I have to say that the idea of structural ability was especially meaningful to me. Is the physical world around me set up to support my change efforts, or is it sabotaging my goals?

I recommend this book to everyone as a must read.

Five stars.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions by John S. Hammond

Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better DecisionsSmart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions by John S. Hammond
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The concepts were still not groundbreaking, but the various methods they proposed for making tradeoff decisions demonstrated a concrete way to deal with discrete factors in a decision. A lot of it still comes down to gut feeling, but by laying all of the data points out and making tradeoffs, it still feels good to have seemingly accounted for all of the known variables.

Phase 3: Stoic Completion. After the trade-off chapter I was back to the "just think really hard" style of answers and I had to force myself to finish it. I gulped it down like a handful of horse pill-sized vitamins.

Phase 4: Unconscious Application. So about a week after finishing the book, I found myself buying a car from a private party. I found myself analyzing my decision in terms of defining my real problem and stating my objectives before I rushed to solve what I felt was the immediate need. I found myself criticizing my limited efforts to collect data (is a Carfax report really necessary? Do I really need a mechanic to look at it?) I like to think that these were all common sense internal reminders, but the sheepish truth is that I WASN'T DOING MOST OF THEM. Bummer. I guess it is good I read this book.

So while I do think this book had some value in the end, I can't bring myself to give it very many stars. Even if the content is useful, the delivery was somehow not compelling enough to make me start realizing the value of the information as I read it. It reminds me of the quote by Charlie 'Tremendous' Jones: “Five years from today, you will be the same person that you are today, except for the books you read and the people you meet.” I guess that this is one of the books I read, and in a small way, I am changed [for the better.]