Monthly Archives: February 2015

Random Quotes from New Books This March

Jacket Cover of Make it Matter by Scott MautzMake it Matter: How Managers Can Motivate by Creating Meaning by Scott Mautz

       When we begin asking ourselves the why questions behind our work, we begin down the Path to Purpose. However, a sense of purpose and deep significance can also come when we ask ourselves what the work itself really means, in terms of its end result and impact on others; who our work serves; and how the work is done. The core of one’s work itself may be intrinsically meaningful, given the industry; it’s hard to argue the potential for purpose and meaning behind the work a schoolteacher does, for example. Of course, not all work is inherently meaning-rich. However, virtually all work can be imbued with a sense of purpose and meaning. It might just require some reframing, or looking at the work through a different set of lenses (page 59). 

Jacket cover of Just Listen, paperback edition, by Mark GoulstonJust Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone, Paperback Edition by Mark Goulston

       My daughter, preparing to interview with a senior manager at a Wall Street financial firm, asked me, “What question could I ask that would help me stand out from the crowd?”
       An hour and a half later, she beeped me in the middle of a meeting and excitedly said, “Dad, I asked him the question you suggested, and he reacted exactly like you said he would. He glanced up toward the ceiling for a moment and said, ‘That’s a great question and something I don’t have an answer to, but should.’ He really connected with me after that.”
       Here’s what my daughter said to earn this interviewer’s interest. When he asked her if she had a question, she responded with this:
       “I’d like you to imagine it’s a year from now, and you and your bosses are reviewing the people you’ve hired this year—and when it comes to this position, they say, ‘Get us 10 more like that one. That person was one of the best hires we’ve had in a long time.’ Can you tell me what that person did for them and you to get such a rave review?”
       I knew the question would work. I also told my daughter how she’d know it worked: by watching the interviewers eyes. Because at the moment he glanced up and away, she’d know she’d moved him from transaction to transformation (pages 155-6).

Jacket cover of The Stay Interview by Richard P. FinneganThe Stay Interview: A Manager’s Guide to Keeping the Best and Brightest by Richard P. Finnegan 

       When you travel to work each day, what things do you look forward to? This question brings the employee’s mind into the here-and-now. Research indicates that the primary drivers of engagement and retention are trusting one’s manager, liking one’s colleagues and respecting their work, and enjoying the job’s duties with some degree of challenge. This question starts the meeting positively and directs employees to think about these day-to-day aspects of their jobs.
      Note that the three primary engagement and retention drivers mentioned above—trusting the manager, respecting colleagues, and liking one’s duties—are all strongly influenced by the manager (pages 16-7). 

Jacket cover for Quick Team-Building Activities for Busy Managers, 2nd Edition by Brian Cole MillerQuick Team-Building Activities for Busy Managers: 50 Exercises that Get Results in Just 15 Minutes, Second Edition by Brian Cole Miller

My N.A.M.E.

This is… An Activity in which participants introduce themselves by presenting their first names as acronyms. 

The purpose is… Everyone knows everyone else’s name and some interesting things about each other. That information may prompt some small talk later. 

Use this when… One or more of the individuals’ names are not known; individuals do not know each other very well; You don’t have prep time and/or materials for anything more elaborate. 

Materials you’ll need… No materials are necessary for this activity. 

Here’s how… 1. Give group members 3 to 5 minutes to think of interesting facts about themselves that correspond to the letters of their first name. 2. Have each participant share his or her acronym. 

For example… “Hi, I’m Logan. L is for Led Zepplin, one of my favorite rock groups. O is for Ohio, which is where I live. G is for German, the only foreign language I know. A is for Aunt Wendee, my favorite relative. And N is for Nice, because I am a nice guy” (page 62)!

Jacket cover of Identifying and Managing Project Risk, 3rd Edition by Tom KendrickIdentifying and Managing Project Risk: Essential Tools for Failure-Proofing Your Project, Third Edition by Tom Kendrick, PMP 

       The time required to plan is also not a valid reason to avoid project management processes. Although it is universally true that no project has enough time, the belief that there is no time to plan is difficult to understand. All the work in any project must always be planned. There is a choice as to whether planning will be primarily done in focused early-project or periodic iterative exercises or by identifying the work to be done one activity at a time, day by day, throughout the project. All necessary analysis must be done by someone, eventually. An ad hoc approach requires comparable, if not more, overall effort, and it carries a number of disadvantages. First, there can be few, if any, meaningful metrics, and tracking project progress will at best be guesswork. Second, most project risks, even those easily identified, come as unexpected surprises when they occur. Early, more thorough planning provides other advantages, and it is always preferable to have project information sooner rather than later. Why not invest in planning when the benefits are greatest (page 26)?

Jacket cover of Export/Import Procedures and Documentation, 5th Edition by Donna L. BadeExport/Import Procedures and Documentation, Fifth Edition by Donna L. Bade

The United States has multiple rules to determine the country of origin of any finished good. For example, consider steel from China that is manufactured into steel blanks of specific dimensions in Thailand. Those blanks are then shipped to Mexico for further manufacture, including cutting, notching, and bending into specific sizes of steel panels. The manufactured panels are then shipped into the United States, where they are insulated, fitted with electrical components, and assembled into modular steel panels. What is the country of origin? The answer is… it depends, and it depends based on the reason you want to know! Do you want to determine the duty rate? Do you want to determine the origin marking on the item? Is it because you want to sell the item to the government? Is it because you want to sell the item to the government? Is it because you want to claim that the panes are “Made in the USA”? Why is it so important to determine a single country of origin (page 435)?

Want to sample other AMACOM books? Check out our Random Quotes from New Books series.


An Interview with Mark Goulston: Part 2

Photo of Mark Goulston, author of Just ListenThe following is Part 2 of an interview with Mark Goulston, author of Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone, discussing his techniques for productive communication. 

Read Part 1.

Isn’t getting through to “unreachable” and “impossible” people extremely challenging?   

As I often say, when it comes to reaching the people who don’t want to listen to you, you’ll find you have a lot in common with hostage negotiators. Almost all communication is an effort to get through to people and cause them to do something different than they were doing before. Maybe you’re trying to sell them something. Maybe you’re trying to talk sense into them. Or maybe you just need to impress them that you’re the right person for a job or a relationship. But here’s the challenge: People have their own needs, desires, and agendas. And they’re stressed, busy, and often feeling like they’re in over their heads. To cope with their stress and insecurity, they throw up mental barricades that make it difficult to reach them even if they share your goals, and nearly impossible if they’re hostile. Approach these people armed solely with reason and facts, or resort to arguing or pleading, and you’ll expect to get through—but often you won’t. Instead, you’ll get smacked down, and you’ll never have a clue why. The good news is that you can get through, simply by changing your approach. The techniques in Just Listen work for hostage negotiators in the most desperate situations, and they’re equally potent if you’re trying to reach a boss, a coworker, a client, a lover, or even an angry teenager. They’re easy, they’re fast, and you can hit the ground running with them.

Would you give us an example of one of your breakthrough techniques in action?                 

One of the most potent communication techniques is what I sum up as: Make the other person feel ‘felt.’ It’s easy to focus so intently on getting something from someone else—more work from a coworker, more respect from a boss, a sale from a client—that you lose sight of the fact that inside every person is a real person who’s just as afraid or nervous  or in need of empathy as anyone else. If you ignore that person’s feelings, you’ll keep hitting the same brick wall of anger, antagonism, or apathy. Make the person ‘feel felt,’ on the other hand, and you’re likely to transform yourself from a stranger into an ally. You’ll get less attitude, less obstruction, and more support—and you’ll get your message through. Sound too simple to be true? Try it, and you’ll be surprised. For example: Think of someone you’re trying to reach who either makes excuses or pushes back in some manner. Put yourself in the person’s shoes and ask yourself, ‘What would I feel in this person’s position? Frustrated? Scared? Angry?’ Then approach the person and say, ‘I was so busy feeling upset with you that I stepped on your toes instead of walking in your shoes. When I stopped to do that, I thought if I were you, I’d feel (frustrated, scared, angry—fill in the blank). Is that true?’ When the person tells you what he or she feels, find out what is causing that feeling and what needs to be different for the person to feel better and achieve more.

Is there anything else you’d like to emphasize to the readers out there?                           

Here’s one fact everyone should take to heart: You’re not just held hostage by the people who resist, bully, annoy, or get upset with you. You’re also held hostage by your own mistakes when you fail to break through to people who either don’t know you or don’t act like they care to know you. The biggest mistake people make is thinking, in frustration: ‘I could get somewhere if only I could get this person interested in me.’ The way to truly win friends and influence the best people is to focus more on listening to them than impressing them. The more interested you are in another person, the more you satisfy that person’s biological hunger to have his or her feelings mirrored by the outside world. The more you do that, the more intrigued the person is with you in return, and, the more empathy the person feels toward you. So to be interesting, forget about being interesting. Instead, be interested.

Jacket cover of Just Listen, paperback editionMark Goulston is a business advisor, consultant, coach, speaker, and psychiatrist. The author of Get Out of Your Own Way and other popular books, he blogs for Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and Psychology Today; cohosts a weekly radio show; and is featured frequently in major media, including The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Newsweek, Time, CNN, Fox News, and the TODAY show.
Connect with Mark Goulston:

An Interview with Mark Goulston: Part 1

Photo of Mark Goulston, author of Just ListenThe following is Part 1 of an interview with Mark Goulston, author of Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone, discussing the importance of listening and productive communication. 

How would you describe the response to your book, Just Listen?   

Every day, I hear from people around the world who tell me that Just Listen has changed their lives. These stories delight and inspire me, because I truly believe that we can ‘heal the world one conversation at a time.’ The comments I receive come from people in every walk of life. I hear from CEOs and homemakers, from ministers, salespeople, teachers, and cops. I’m humbled by these readers’ words, and I appreciate their willingness to take the time and effort to reach out to me. And I’m grateful to them for confirming two things that I’ve learned from my own experience. The first is that simply listening to people will change both their lives and yours. And the second is that nearly all people—no matter who they are—will respond to true, agenda-less listening in an authentic and heartfelt way. Here is another thing that readers tell me over and over again: Listening makes them care more about the people in their lives.

How did you come to develop your exceptional approach to productive communication?

I’m just an average guy—husband, father, doctor—but a long time ago, I discovered that I had a special talent. You could drop me into just about any situation, and I could reach people. I could persuade defiant executives, angry employees, or self-destructing management teams to work cooperatively toward solutions. I could get through to families in turmoil and married couples who hated each other’s guts. I could even change the mind of hostage takers and desperate people contemplating suicide. I wasn’t sure what I was doing differently from everybody else, but I could tell it worked. It worked with all kinds of people in every type of situation. In analyzing my methods, I found the answer. It turned out I’d happened on a simple, quick set of techniques—some I’d discovered on my own, and others I’d learned from mentors and colleagues—that create traction. That is, they pull toward me, even if those people are trying to pull away.

Would you share more insight into how your unusual methods work their magic?

Yes. To better understand it, picture yourself driving up a steep hill. Your tires slip and slide and can’t grab hold. But if you downshift, you get control. It’s like pulling the road to meet you. Most people upshift when they want to get through to other people. They encourage. They argue. They push. And in the process, they create resistance. When you use the techniques I offer in Just Listen, you’ll do exactly the opposite—you’ll listen, ask, mirror, and reflect back to people what you’ve heard. When you do, they will feel seen, understood, and felt—and that unexpected downshift will draw them to you.

Click here to read Part 2 of the interview.

Jacket cover of Just Listen, paperback editionMark Goulston is a business advisor, consultant, coach, speaker, and psychiatrist. The author of Get Out of Your Own Way and other popular books, he blogs for Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and Psychology Today; cohosts a weekly radio show; and is featured frequently in major media, including The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Newsweek, Time, CNN, Fox News, and the TODAY show.
Connect with Mark Goulston:

Webcast: 5 Proven Approaches for Mitigating Project Failure

Photo of Glen B. Alleman, author of Performance-Based Project ManagementThe American Management Association New Media team will host a webcast with Glen B. Alleman, author of Performance-Based Project Management: Increasing the Probability of Project Success. Alleman will discuss five principles that will help you increase the probability of project success and show you how to apply them to a broad range of projects.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Eastern
Fee: Complimentary
Meeting Number: 17874-00001
Register Here

Your schedule is set, the budget determined, talent deployed, best practices adhered to every step of the way—and still the project fails. Often missing are these five principles:

  1. Communicating your project’s success factors (or ultimately being “Done”) in meaningful units of measure to your decision makers
  2. Planning to reach “Done” at the needed time for the required budget
  3. Planning for all the resources that must be in place to reach “Done”
  4. Identifying what impediments you will encounter along the way to “Done” and how you are going to handle them
  5. Knowing how you will measure progress to your plan, to ensure that you are “Done” on or before estimated completion date, at or below your planned budget, and that project outcomes meet the needs of your customer

These five immutable principles have tailorable practices and processes depending on project domains, each based on the principles. But these principles are immutable in that they are the foundation of success for all projects.

While attending this program is FREE, reservations are required.

Register for Glen B. Alleman’s AMA Webcast.

Jacket Cover of Performance-Based Project Management by Glen B. AllemanGlen B. Alleman leads the Program Planning and Controls practice for Niwot Ridge, LLC. In this position Glen brings his 30 years of experience in program and project management, systems engineering, software development, and general management to bear on the problems of performance-based management. Glen’s Project and Program Management experience includes space, defense, enterprise IT, and software intensive systems in a variety of firms including Logicon, TRW, CH2M Hill, SM&A, and several consulting firms before joining Niwot Ridge, LLC. He is the author of Performance-Based Project Management® and writes the blog Herding Cats.

Webcast: Management Gone Social

Ted Coine, coauthor of A World Gone SocialThe American Management Association New Media team will host a webcast  with Ted Coiné and Mark Babbitt, authors of A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive. They will cover how companies and their managers can embrace the use of social media to improve business and stay ahead of the competition.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EasternPhoto of Mark Babbitt, coauthor of A World Gone Social
Fee: Complimentary
Meeting Number: 17871-00001
Register Here

Social media has become an insurmountable market force, changing how we innovate, collaborate, serve our customers, hire and develop team members, motivate others toward a common mission, communicate with stakeholders, display our character, and demonstrate accountability.

The Social Age is about everyone within the organization developing their own brand, and using that brand to enhance the brand-power through employee advocacy. Today, every manager must embrace social media — for their own career and to be a part of what their team, and perhaps the competition, is already doing.

This webcast explores how companies can leverage their managers to become active participants in this 24/7 conversation. You will also learn: 

  • How to manage social employees (the good, the bad, and when things turn ugly)
  • Tips for leveraging social to turn your organization into a customer-first, purpose-driven team
  • Ways to identify your brand champions and internal advocates—and leverage their passion and talent
  • How to enable an OPEN (Ordinary People | Extraordinary Network) circle of collaborators to innovate, solve complex problems, and achieve a common goal
  • How to build a socially-enabled team full of “Relentless Givers”
  • How to become the most valuable player on any Social Age team: the rare Social Leader (so rare we call them a “Blue Unicorn”)
  • How organizations, from the newest start-ups and mom-and-pops to IBM and their 400k+ employees, are turning each team member into brand ambassadors
  • How some companies doing social now—including early adopters—are doing social all wrong
  • And much more!

While attending this program is FREE, reservations are required.

Register for Ted Coiné and Mark Babbitt’s AMA Webcast.

Jacket Cover of A World Gone Social by Ted Coine and Mark BabbittTed Coiné is CMO of, the next generation content marketing tool for organizations and individuals. A serial business founder and three-time CEO, Ted is a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer and an Inc. Top 100 Leadership Expert. His stance at the crossroads of social and leadership gave Ted a unique perspective to identify the demise of Industrial Age management and the birth of the Social Age. He is coauthor of A World Gone Social.

Mark Babbitt is the CEO of YouTern, a talent community that enables those in career transition —from college students to workforce veterans—to become highly employable. Mark also serves as President of, a site and consultancy dedicated to leadership in the Social Age, and is CMO and cofounder of, a non-profit that assists military veterans to successfully transition into the civilian workforce. He is coauthor of A World Gone Social.