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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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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Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements

June 08, 2011 - by: Wendi Watts 0 COMMENTS

HR Hero Line editor Wendi Watts reviews Brains on Fire by Robbin Phillips, Greg Cordell, and Geno Church, finding useful insight into engaging both employees and customers.

Do your customers and employees love you? Do you love your customers and employees?

Most HR people would readily admit that a large number of their employees are burned out from all the layoffs, hiring freezes, and constraints the economy has put on businesses. When employees are doing the same work that used to be done by three or four (or more) employees and they haven’t had a raise in more than a year — more than three or four years for some — is it realistic to think that you can get employees passionate about doing their jobs, interacting with your customers, and working for your organization? Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements says, yes.

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Profit at the Bottom of the Ladder

June 01, 2011 - by: admin 0 COMMENTS

In her book Profit at the Bottom of the Ladder: Creating Value by Investing in Your Workforce, Canadian researcher Jody Heymann analyzes hundreds of interviews with front line employees to C-suite executives and concludes that your company can profit more from improving worker conditions than cutting wages, benefits, and other workforce expenses.

As an example of that theory Heymann gives the example of a small manufacturing company in Europe that used flexible policies and a team approach in production. The team approach rewarded the team for performance and gave everyone an incentive not to take time off if they didn’t need to, while flexible policies made it possible to take time off if needed. After three years with the two factors in place, absenteeism dropped by 28 percent in the summer and 39 percent in the winter, Heymann reported.

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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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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Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization

November 03, 2010 - by: Sarah Hulsey 2 COMMENTS

Sarah Hulsey, PHR, reviews Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization by David Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright, finding it insightful and a must-read for HR and management at all levels.

It isn’t often that I read a business management book that I can’t stop talking about, but I absolutely loved Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization by David Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright.  Over a 10-year period, the trio studied 24,000 individuals in 24 organizations, researching employee behavior in terms of the groups they form (tribes) and those who assume leadership roles (tribal leaders).  In particular, the authors wanted to find some link between the tribes and their leaders that explains how great leaders emerge, develop new skills, and leave a standing legacy where they work.

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Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

October 06, 2010 - by: Sarah Hulsey 0 COMMENTS

Sarah Hulsey, PHR, reviews Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh’s book Delivering Happiness and finds it uplifting and motivating but not necessarily belonging in the business section of the bookstore.

You’d have to be living in a cave to not have heard about Zappos and the work CEO Tony Hsieh is doing to improve customer and employee satisfaction. Regardless of whether you drink the Zappos Kool-Aid, his first book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose is a worthy weekend read, but perhaps not for the reasons you’d think.

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You Don’t Have to Be Blind to See

June 09, 2010 - by: admin 0 COMMENTS

In his blog The Oswald Letter, M. Lee Smith Publishers’ President Dan Oswald shares a story from YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE BLIND TO SEE by Jim Stovall about a woman determined to find her kidnapped baby. Ever the businessman, Oswald draws a connection between this mother who triumphs over adverse conditions that paralyze the village’s best warriors and the sort of dedicated employee every employer wants and that Oswald believes we all should strive to be. He challenges readers with the question “At work, do you care enough to go to any length to get the job done?”

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