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Real-world situations and genuine, tough decisions are behind the 35 case studies author Alan Clardy lays out in The Management Training Tool Kit (AMACOM, 2012). Clardy doesn’t just list cases. He provides an easy structure for readers to follow so they can use this book and even adapt the cases, tailoring them to their own workplaces.
Trainees get a worksheet to help them analyze the cases by identifying the problems at hand, brainstorming, evaluating options and describing their chosen solutions. Each case in the book includes discussion questions with answers—though Clardy notes that in many work situations, there is no single solution.
Cases also offer the possibility for role-playing exercises. Another tool is a case reporting worksheet trainees use to assess challenging situations they currently face.
Clardy’s cases, representing a wide variety of industries and workplaces, cover issues such as human resource problems, discipline, team building, termination, coaching, discrimination and much more.
This book can be purchased online from the SHRM Store.
What could a child care center, a small business making golf putters, Domino’s Pizza, and certain professional football and basketball teams have in common? All struggled with problem teams, and all turned those teams around for business or sports success. In Team Turnarounds (Jossey-Bass, 2012), authors Joe Frontiera and Daniel Leidl examine these and other cases for lessons to answer the question, “How can any leader work to bring a team from the bottom to the top?”
Frontiera and Leidl discovered that, whatever the type of business or size of the enterprise, the leaders who succeeded in turning teams around went through the same six stages.
Stage one is as low as things get—the team is failing, and customers are walking away. The leader needs to assess why performance is so bad. Once you understand what’s going wrong, you can build the case for change. After that first, painful step, the organization or team must commit to growth. This second stage is where the leader and the team work out a vision for where the team is going and a plan to get there. But vision and values can seem vague, and the authors demonstrate how real teams made those ideas concrete and specific to their workplaces.
The third stage is changing behaviors on the team. Examples show how employers got specific changes into place, how leaders can model new behaviors personally and how to reinforce change within the team.
Once the team is accepting change, it also needs to accept—even embrace—challenges and adversity. Stage four is about taking on challenges, and a key example is how Domino’s Pizza used customer service problems as an opportunity to improve.
Stage five is achieving success, but leaders can’t stop there. Success brings the question, “What next?” At this point, leaders and teams must define what success means and adapt that definition in order to keep growing. Teams that turn around reach stage six, where they must maintain a culture of excellence to continue succeeding. Readers learn how organizations keep innovation going over time and how to maintain the organization’s culture and values.
An intractable employee won’t consider anyone else’s point of view, and you need to get her to open up to other ideas. So what do you say? “There is probably more than one way to look at this” or “You’re as stubborn as a mule”? Or is there something you can say that lies between the conciliatory and the downright rude.
From tactful and professional phrases down to combative and confrontational ones, the ready-to-use lists in The Leader Phrase Book (Career Press, 2012)demonstrate myriad ways you can respond to others in a host of situations. Author Patrick Alain—developer of best-selling video games including Grand Theft Auto—cautions that while the book sets out lists, readers must use their own judgment to decide how to use these words.
Alain organizes phrases based on a continuum, from those that are the most measured and professional to those with more punch to responses that are rude or curt. He groups the lists by situation—at work, in a conflict, in a negotiation and so on.
For example, in a list on how to put off a task, the continuum of possible responses ranges from civil (“I wish I could address this, but I’m completely tapped out right now” or “I’d be delighted to set aside time to go over this”) to more direct (“I’ll have to delay” or “We’ll deal with that some other time”) to blunt (“Ask me next week if I care.”). You could use anything on this list, depending on the context, the person with whom you’re talking and the stakes involved.
Alain’s phrase lists include tips on communicating in certain contexts—general communications, at work, during conflicts, for diplomacy, in negotiation and to problem-solve.
This book can be purchased online from the SHRM Store.
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Books compiled by Leigh Rivenbark, a freelance writer and editor in Vienna, Va.
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