A veteran corporate manager shares strategies for improving relationships between CEOs and board chairpersons.
In this debut business book, Nüssli draws on her own experience as chairperson of an unnamed family-owned corporation, management theory, and her own research to help readers understand conflicts between corporate leaders. She conducted dozens of interviews for this book, with leaders all identified only by their first names. The book often presents the dialogues as two-sided case studies, allowing readers to understand the perspectives of both the chairperson and the CEO involved. In this way, the author effectively shows how personality conflicts or differing thought processes can transform into ongoing feuds with negative implications for corporate performance. Nüssli also leads readers through psychological theories about leadership behavior, with a particular focus on how birth order consciously and unconsciously drives human interactions; most of her subjects, she points out, were firstborn children, or took on the traditional role of one in their families. The author acknowledges that data-driven executives may be reluctant to embrace her research: “Interpersonal dynamics and psychology are considered irrational, even ‘fluffy’—corporate governance, by contrast, seems rational and reliable.” However, she offers a convincing analysis here before turning toward possible solutions. To that end, she offers strategies for understanding one’s own behaviors (mindfulness, self-awareness, coaching) and a framework that she calls a “Chairperson-CEO Collaboration Contract,” which both parties can use to define roles and responsibilities and establish trust. Throughout the book, Nüssli’s prose is engaging (“There will come a time when you’ve forgotten where you buried the hatchet or even how to use it, and this will feel good”), and her findings may be helpful to interested readers at all corporate levels.
A useful handbook for solving conflicts among top managers.
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").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)