You can review the latest Business in Vancouver book reviews below, which feature contributions from UBC Library’s Jan Wallace and UBC Bookstore’s Treena Chambers.
This article from Business in Vancouver May 11-17, 2010; issue 1072
Building a better business through the power of the mind
The Brain Advantage
By Madeleine L. Van Hecke, Lisa P. Callahan, Brad Kolar and Ken A. Paller
Applying current brain research to improve management practices seems like a stretch, but understanding human behaviour is essential to running a good organization.
By the time business leaders have advanced through the ranks, they have considerable confidence in their decision-making, people-management and leadership styles – confidence in the way their brains have learned to function. But recent research in cognitive science can help leaders improve the way they approach problems and opportunities at work. Not only can managers better understand the way their own brains function; they can also use the research to manage other people more effectively.
For example, researchers working with chimpanzees at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, found that chimps react withviolence, sabotage and retaliatory non-compliance when they perceive they are being treated less fairly than other chimps. Humans also react when they perceive unfairness, resulting in increased employee theft, attrition, lowered productivity and an atmosphere of griping and complaining. How then can managers treat their people fairly – not necessarily equally, but fairly? The chapter on fairness explores these concepts and makes actionable recommendations for managers.
Other chapters deal with trust, social exclusion, mood contagion, the multi-tasking trap, paying attention and other topics. In each chapter, the science of the brain is explained and related in a very readable way to real situations that occur in management. Stories and “minicases” then illustrate how leaders might change the way they manage based on specific research.
There were many “aha!” moments for me while reading this book. Have you ever wondered why seasoned leaders surround themselves with a few superhero “experts” instead of crowd-sourcing opinions? Or how human error can cause mistakes, even when detailed checklists are used to prevent them? If hiding negative emotions causes personal and physical stress, how can those emotions be explored in a healthy way in the workplace? This book is not only fascinating to read, but offers many practical concepts and devices for translating what we are learning about the human brain into new ways of improving your own – and your organization’s – chances for success. •
Jan Wallace is head of the David Lam Management Research Library at UBC’s Sauder School of Business.
Perfect Phrases for Professional Networking
By Susan Benjamin
Do you need help breaking the ice in social situations? In Perfect Phrases for Professional Networking you can learn techniques that will help you start making connections today. Create and steer conversations, or use the versatile phrases and concrete advice to help you find leads or make cold contacts. No more fumbling or staring at your shoes! Know what to say – and when to say it.
Perfect Phrases for Presenting Business Strategies
By Don Debelak
Perfect Phrases for Presenting Business Strategies is your language toolbox that will allow you to create and communicate compelling business strategies. Whether the focus is internal or external, you will find the help you need to tailor your message for any audience. Your business presentations will be informative, professional and impactful. Short on price but long on advice, this book will arm you with techniques to solve problems and create strategic advantages.
Perfect Phrases for Communicating Change
By Lawrence Polsky and Antoine Gerschel
Have you faced change and found yourself at a loss for words? Perfect Phrases for Communicating Change tailors phrases to reflect many communication styles and messages, offering a phrase for everything and everyone. Whether you are implementing, executing or sustaining change within your organization, this book will help you communicate common goals, resolve conflicts and cultivate trust. •
Treena Chambers is the marketing technology co-ordinator at the UBC Bookstore.