Tightly structured and deftly delivered; an original take on change management.

NO ONE'S LISTENING AND IT'S YOUR FAULT

GET YOUR MESSAGE HEARD DURING ORGANIZATIONAL TRANSFORMATIONS

A business consultant emphasizes effective communication in this debut book about managing change.

Change is a business topic of seemingly unending variations. Here, Marmon has managed to find a different perspective by connecting change to leadership communication. She does so through the commonly used technique of an acronym, in this case, “LESS (listen, empower, speak, solve).” The volume is divided into four parts, each centered on one of these elements. In some respects, “LESS” might also describe the content, because the work, at under 170 pages, is shorter than most business books. This is not to say the material is lacking; on the contrary, despite the abbreviated length, the author does an excellent job of providing both insightful observations and authoritative counsel on change management. From the outset, she is blunt about a leader’s responsibility: “If you lead an organization and people tell you they don’t know what’s going on, it is your fault.” Part 1 of the book offers several reasons why people may not be listening, client anecdotes that demonstrate the importance of “organizational alignment,” and a description of a change-management “Readiness Assessment.” Part 2 is largely focused on engaging others within the organization to help champion a leader’s cause. Marmon advises, perhaps surprisingly, “Your most valuable players are your middle managers.” Part 3 comprehensively covers communicating through a six-step channels strategy and offers valuable insights into such techniques as storytelling and slanting language usage to particular audiences. Part 4 concerns why and how to measure message effectiveness. The only part with just one chapter, this section seems somewhat light on details. It could have offered an opportunity to further reinforce the other parts of the volume. The author points readers to her website for additional resources, including checklists and articles, but perhaps a few of these items could have appeared in an appendix. Still, Marmon’s specific focus on the importance of communication in change management is a welcome shift from the more typical broad approach. Her own written communication skills make this book eminently readable as well.

Tightly structured and deftly delivered; an original take on change management.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5445-0711-8

Page Count: 166

Publisher: Lioncrest Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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