Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

October 17, 2011 - by: Dan Oswald 1 COMMENTS

What really motivates people at work? Is it money? Is it recognition? Not according to Daniel Pink.

Pink, in his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, maintains there are three things that truly motivate us:

  1. Autonomy – the freedom to choose task, time, technique, and team
  2. Mastery – the desire to get better and better at something that matters
  3. Purpose – the desire to pursue a cause larger than ourselves

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More on “As We Speak: How to Make Your Point and Have It Stick”

September 28, 2011 - by: Mike Maslanka 0 COMMENTS

Employment law attorney Mike Maslanka of Dallas takes a look at the chapter on having difficult conversations with employees from  As We Speak: How to Make Your Point and Have It Stick by Peter Meyers and Shann Nix.

Previously, I wrote about As We Speak: How to Make Your Point and Have It Stick by Peter Meyers and Shann Nix, but it’s so good, I thought it deserved revisiting. There is a great chapter on conducting conversations with employees, and I wanted to tell you about it. They call it “Bridges to Dialogue.” It’s essentially a step-by-step process on dealing with employee issues. First, the authors advise you to define your outcome. They write that you should tell yourself that by the end of a conversation with an employee, the employee will do “X” or you will be on the road to “X.”

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As We Speak: How to Make Your Point and Have It Stick

August 31, 2011 - by: Mike Maslanka 0 COMMENTS

Employment law attorney Mike Maslanka reviews As We Speak: How to Make Your Point and Have It Stick by Peter Meyers and Shann Nix.

If you’re thinking about a presentation you need to give, take a look at As We Speak: How to Make Your Point and Have It Stick, a new book by Peter Meyers and Shann Nix. Unfortunately, when you’re about to give a presentation, your reptile brain tells you to focus on your fears because that is how you will survive. After all, it worked 30,000 years ago. But Meyers and Nix advise against becoming a hostage to your fears. When we do that, we ask ourselves the wrong questions ― e.g., What is missing from my talk? Will I forget what to say? Will the audience find out I’m not as smart as they think I am?

Instead, the authors toss out this idea: Ask yourself questions that are embedded with positive presumptions ― e.g., What is the best part of this presentation? What am I most passionate about in this material? How can I make a difference? Meyers and Nix note that “positive presumption” questions aren’t positive thinking, which they describe as “trying to hypnotize yourself into a different mindset.” By contrast, positive presumption questions force you to think of new possibilities and shift your thinking from “Will I succeed?” to “How will I succeed?” The final advice is to wire your brain with the right questions well before the event.

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Blind Spots: Why We Fail to Do What’s Right and What to Do about It

June 29, 2011 - by: Mike Maslanka 0 COMMENTS

Employment law attorney Micheal Maslanka reviews Blind Spots: Why We Fail to Do What’s Right and What to Do about It, finding it provides real insight into the ethics of judging employees on their outcomes and not their methods.

In Blind Spots: Why We Fail to Do What’s Right and What to Do about It, authors Max H. Bazerman and Ann E. Tenbrunsel recount an experiment they conducted. Group A read that a researcher submitted a drug application and included data points that were earlier tossed out on a technicality. The drug was approved, but the patients who took it died. In Group B, the researcher faked the data points, the drug was approved, and it was a success. After the study participants read one or the other’s story, they were asked how unethical they believed the researcher to be. Those who read Story A were much more critical of the researcher than those who read Story B and felt that he should be punished more harshly.

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Awake at Work: 35 Practical Buddhist Principles for Discovering Clarity and Balance in the Midst of Work’s Chaos

June 22, 2011 - by: Mike Maslanka 0 COMMENTS

Employment law attorney Micheal Maslanka reviews Michael Carroll’s book Awake at Work: 35 Practical Buddhist Principles for Discovering Clarity and Balance in the Midst of Work’s Chaos. Maslanka offers a solution from a Harvard Business Review blog post for the problem of idiot compassion that Carroll identifies in the book.

In  Awake at Work: 35 Practical Buddhist Principles for Discovering Clarity and Balance in the Midst of Work’s Chaos, author Michael Carroll observes that helping your coworkers isn’t simple or easy. Often, well-intentioned individuals aren’t equipped to give effective help. When they try, it’s like the road to hell ― paved with good intentions. A greater mess is created by well-intentioned but uninformed people than by those who simply leave matters alone.

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Buy-in: Saving Your Good Ideas from Getting Shot Down

May 11, 2011 - by: Mike Maslanka 0 COMMENTS


Employment law attorney Michael P. Maslanka reviews Buy-in: Saving Your Good Ideas from Getting Shot Down by John P. Kotter, finding that it gives good advice on handling common objections to new ideas.

I highly recommend John P. Kotter’s new book Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down, which teaches you how to save an idea under attack by coworkers. First , he says don’t fire back if your idea is attacked. Instead, make efforts to understand the person’s point of view and respond respectfully.

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Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions

April 27, 2011 - by: Mike Maslanka 2 COMMENTS


Employment law attorney Michael P. Maslanka reviews Guy Kawasaki’s book Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions and shares some key points on persuasion that can easily be adapted to your business.

Less Is More

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Fire Somebody Today: And Other Surprising Tactics for Making Your Business a Success

April 06, 2011 - by: Mike Maslanka 1 COMMENTS


Employment law attorney Mike Maslanka reviews Bob Pritchett’s Fire Somebody Today: And Other Surprising Tactics for Making Your Business a Success.

In his book Fire Someone Today: And Other Surprising Tactics for Making Your Business a Success Bob Pritchett nails why managers are always afraid to fire someone: They fear admitting they made a mistake in the hiring process.

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The Wisdom of Crowds

March 02, 2011 - by: Paul Knoch 0 COMMENTS

HR practitioner Paul Knoch reviews The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki. He finds that while the book is a bit heavy on theory and light on real-life examples, the examples that are provided are revealing and the book raises the important question of whether businesses should look beyond a small field of experts or managers when making decisions.


Remember the game-show sensation “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” Contestants vied for a prize of one million dollars by answering a series of questions correctly. The questions started out fairly easy and became increasingly difficult. When stumped, a contestant could choose from three “lifelines” for help. One lifeline removed half of the possible answers, leaving the contestant with a 50/50 chance of guessing correctly. Another lifeline allowed the contestant to call a more knowledgeable friend and ask for help. The third lifeline simply polled the audience. If you watched the show, you may recall that the audience was almost always right.

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The Checklist Manifesto

January 31, 2011 - by: Dan Oswald 1 COMMENTS

I had been thinking recently about the importance of a good “to do” list, so when I stumbled upon the Atul Gawande’s book The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. I decided it was fate and bought a copy. Now I must admit, I had not heard anything about the book despite the fact that it was a New York Times bestseller and had won “Best Book of the Month” from Amazon back in December 2009.

So I began to read assuming that my affection for “to do” lists was going to be confirmed. What I discovered was much more. Gawande may give a nod to the traditional “to do” list, but his checklists are a whole lot more. The checklists that Gawande advocates in his book are a concise list of standard operating procedures for any task, even some of the most complex imaginable.

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