Decoding the Workplace by John Ballard

Decoding the Workplace

50 Keys to Understanding People in Organizations
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Sound advice for interacting with others at work.

This debut has all the elements of a useful business book: lots of examples, authoritative advice, highlighted “keys” explaining main concepts, and short, easy-to-read chapters. Ballard covers a lot of territory, addressing such issues as the differences between people, working in groups, organizational structure and culture, how leaders gain power and influence, job satisfaction, and the meaning of work. Although some of his observations might be unsurprising to those experienced with workplace interactions, others are sure to be eye-opening, particularly for younger workers. For example, the author’s discussion of how one can be more successful at making decisions by adopting a “systems perspective” contains a valuable lesson: “Thinking of organizations as being systems…can be a strength,” Ballard writes. “Too often people see their parts of the organization as fiefdoms or silos separated from the rest of the organization.” Just as important are the numerous messages about how perception becomes reality; Ballard suggests that one’s perceptions of one’s performance are more important than the actual performance itself, as are the impressions one creates. The author shares deep insight into the culture of organizations and dramatizes the impact of the culture on the worker: “Differences between what an organization preaches and what it does could reveal the real core of an organization’s culture,” he asserts. He’s also acutely aware of how personal interactions relate to the quality of one’s work: “Even if you are not a manager, your effectiveness can be affected very strongly by your relationships with others.” This is the kind of high-level perspective that only a former management consultant and current professor of management could share, and it’s sure to be helpful to managers and lower-level workers alike.

Astute and keenly observed business advice, yet down-to-earth in its use of real-world workplace examples and everyday language.

Pub Date: May 12th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4408-3826-2
Page count: 184pp
Publisher: Praeger
Program: Kirkus Indie
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