An easy-to-follow introduction to motivating employees and maximizing performance.



A professional educator and mentor offers advice on keeping employees engaged in the workplace.

In this business book, Couillard uses a stool as a metaphor for the elements of worker engagement that employers should understand and strive to improve. The stool’s three legs are control, competence, and connection while its base represents the uniting force of purpose. In the author’s formulation, frustration is the main hurdle workers face, leading to disengagement and low performance, so managers can achieve success through developing a shared sense of purpose and keeping employees motivated. The guide often relies on extended metaphors, like a World War II battleship (staffed by a crew united by a common goal) and the first man labeled “Public Enemy Number One” (less notorious than Al Capone or Bonnie and Clyde but extremely dangerous), that vividly depict common workplace problems and solutions. In addition, Couillard’s taste for dramatic language (“That is the first sign of engagement, the first spark from the fire that burns beneath the surface”) keeps the text from becoming a dry read as it delves into the facets of employee performance. The manual delivers both specific action items, such as surveying workers to find out what they think the organization’s purpose is, as well as more general platitudes on leadership and management. Quotes from several of the author’s corporate clients provide real-world context for many of the concepts presented in the volume. The text is concise and well organized, making it easy to digest in a single sitting or to focus on a discrete section. While many of the notions will be familiar to frequent readers of books on management, less advanced bibliophiles will find plenty in the guide to learn from and implement in their own workplaces. The information is presented effectively and with clarity, and Couillard writes with the tone of an enthusiastic mentor. Additional materials are available on the author’s website (, as he reminds readers throughout the manual.

An easy-to-follow introduction to motivating employees and maximizing performance.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-5255-5520-6

Page Count: 105

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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