The good business book guide
Robert Heller reviews the latest business books
WORKING WITH EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
by Daniel Goleman. Bloomsbury £16.99
The best-selling author of Emotional Intelligence manages to be both right-headed and infuriating in this extension into management. Goleman's revelation, that emotional development is as important for effectiveness as intellectual, is a commonplace of psychology. Extended, it develops stupefying banalities: viz, all top executives need 'cognitive skills ... but being better at them does not make a star leader'. Top entrepreneurs operate on 'gut hunch', not only intellectual analysis. Really? And was 'study' of store managers really needed to establish that those 'most tense, beleaguered, or overwhelmed by job pressures' performed worst? The most original and useful part of an over-long, over-anecdotal book deals with training: changing behaviour - a lifelong process - is the object, not just imparting information.
P&G 99: 99 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES OF PROCTER & GAMBLE'S SUCCESS
by Charles Decker. HarperCollins £14.99
Unlucky timing: the hero, P&G, after disappointing results, is being remade, with an early bath for its chief executive. But readiness to re-examine and renew is perhaps the 100th principle behind P&G's long marketing pre-eminence. The 99 are sub-sets of an indisputable quartet: 'The consumer is queen: build superior products: create unique brands: maintain a long-term view'. You can't argue with the 99, either, from 'value is what the consumer says it is' to lessons for effective ads ('show the package in the first eight seconds'). The book doesn't seek profundity and the constant portrayal of P&G as paragon can be wearing, but this is a useable, pragmatic manual for practising marketers.
THE POWER OF CORPORATE KINETICS
by Michael Fradette & Steve Michaud. Simon & Schuster £17.99
Yet more consultants forcing the new wisdom into a catch-all mould ('kinetics').
The authors falsely presume that business was once almost predictable: long-term plans have failed since they first appeared. Unpredictability has demonstrably intensified, however, along with customer demands, technological change and competitive threats. New, looser, faster-moving corporate behaviours are the necessary response, unleashing all the human powers within the organisation. 'Kinetics' means allowing workers to 'seize embryonic opportunities the instant they appear' and to treat customers individually. The generalisations inevitably break down. For example, true kinetic leaders don't force through their ideas, yet Michael Dell is lauded because he 'continued to champion the cause within the company'. Despite over-selling, the proffered new wisdom is mostly wise. But 'kinetics'? Bah.
Home isn't where the graft is
Research shows that workwise, there's no place like the office
Despite the hype over working at home, a new survey suggests that the majority of British employees prefer to keep their professional and personal lives separate.
The ICL Lifestyle Revolution samples 1,000 workers, of which 44% prefer the office as a place of work. For would-be home workers pragmatism is the order of the day - 'quality time' with loved ones ranks a paltry third behind convenience and the joys of not having to commute.
PREFERENCE FOR HOME OR OFFICE
10% No preference
MAIN BENEFITS OF HOME WORKING
No time wasted commuting 47%
More time with family 27%
Freedom and independence 27%
Saving money 15%
Flexible hours 10%
Source: The ICL Lifestyle Revolution.
FOR THE LOVE OF A GOOD JOB
The bigger the 'buy in' the better the performance
Workers who are committed to their company and have a good understanding of their role are more likely to work hard and sing their employer's praises.
So says a new report, The Buy-In Benchmark, from The Marketing & Communications Agency. Over 45% of the so-called champions - employees with high levels of emotional and intellectual 'buy-in' - report that it greatly improves their performance at work. They are also up to one-third more likely to recommend their organisations than those with lower levels of buy-in.
IMPACT OF BUY-IN ON JOB PERFORMANCE
THOSE WITH HIGH BUY-IN ALL
Greatly improves 48% 26%
Slightly improves 35% 36%
Source: The Marketing & Communications Agency.
MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS
The business traveller's favourite hotel take-aways
Despite the fact that travelling is a routine facet of business life, finding themselves off the leash in foreign parts can bring out the devil in even the most sober-suited of business people. It seems that no business trip is complete without a souvenir provided at their hotel's expense.
In a recent reader poll in Business Traveller magazine, 82% of respondents admitted to appropriating some kind of reminder of their stay when travelling on the firm's time. After all, tiny bars of soap and cute mini-toothbrushes touch the inner child in all of us, and can be easily-secreted in the lightest of executive luggage.
The disappearance of bath taps, framed prints and even entire doors is harder to explain, however. Are some business travellers so used to living out of a suitcase they want the trappings of Hilton chic in their own homes?
THE OBJECTS OF DESIRE
82% take a souvenir
9% coat hangers
Source: Business Traveller.