Book Reviews: Motivation, Participation and Teams

Abolishing Performance Appraisals: Why They Backfire and What to do Instead, by Tom Coens and Mary Jenkins. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
Argues against the use of performance appraisal (PA) and pay-for-performance. In detail, the authors refute a host of assumptions underlying PA and performance-based rewards (PBR). Here are two examples: 1) people want feedback and need development; counter-argument: healthy adults need to be responsible for their own feedback and development; 2) people withhold effort without extrinsic rewards; counter-argument: healthy people are intrinsically motivated when work is meaningful. Also argues that extrinsic rewards diminish intrinsic motivation. The conclusion, that PA and PBR have negative consequences and should be nixed, relies on research but findings are not presented. The authors conclude with a process for change. But their message is not to design an alternative system but create a culture that enables commitment to emerge and is based on healthier assumptions about human nature. Challenges your thinking. 338 pp. 2002.

Beyond Teams: Building the Collaborative Organization, by Michael Beyerlein, Sue Freedman, Craig McGee and Linda Moran. Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.
The collaborative organization is designed for effective coordination, shared decision-making, and decision implementation, spanning interaction across the constraints of silos. Multiple perspectives, synergies and commitment are fostered. After distinguishing between teams, team-based organizations and collaborative organizations (CO), the authors profile a collaborative culture, all features of which are found in the CO. They introduce the concept of collaborative capital (a process and relationship system)--a concept unique from social or relationship capital. The book examines the principles of a CO and their application in manufacturing, service and other areas, and strategies for their implementation. A well-written gem, rich with solid thinking and stimulating ideas. 247 pp. 2002.

Bridging the Boomer Xer Gap: Creating Authentic Teams for High Performance at Work, by Hank Karp, Connie Fuller and Danilo Sirias. Davies-Black Publishing.
Based on considerable research, the authors highlight generational differences and present a four-phase process for team-building that brings together members of the boomer and X-er generations. This book is very rich in research finding and gives detailed guidelines for team-building. Highly recommended. 182 pp. 2002.

Contagious Success: Spreading High Performance Throughout Your Organization, by Susan Lucia Annunzio. Portfolio-Penguin Group.
Based on a study of 3,104 knowledge workers in the U.S. and 9 other countries, the author has identified the qualities of high-performing groups (those that get financial results by being the best at developing and introducing new products, services and markets). The overall conclusion of Ms. Annunzio is that high-performing workgroups are comprised by knowledge workers who work in environments in which they 1) are valued, 2) can do their best thinking, and 3) have the freedom to seize opportunities. Such workgroups are adaptable, knowledgeable, and resourceful. The book goes into many factors that explain the success of these groups, offering many case examples drawn from the extensive research. The insights of this book are readily accessible. Most importantly, the book offers some mind-broadening findings. Speaking as an organization consultant as well as a reviewer, this book proves informative and well worth the reading. 269 pp. 2004.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, by Patrick Lencioni. Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.
This book tell a story of team performance undermined by behavioral tendencies. The five dysfunctions, based on the author's study of leadership, are; absence of trust; fear of conflict; lack of commitment; avoidance of accountability; and inattention to results. The author provides a fifteen item assessment of teams on these dimensions, a profile of teams displaying each of weaknesses, and offers specific suggests for overcoming these common foibles. Absorbing and informative. Recommended. 224 pp. 2002.

Handle With CARE: Motivating and and Retaining Employees, by Barbara A. Glanz. McGraw-Hill, Inc.
Starting with highlights of a survey of employees earning an average of $8 an hour, working in a number of leading companies, Glanz concludes that what people want more than money is a feeling that their work is important and appreciated and they are respected and valued as human beings and partners. The books details ways managers can motivate employees using a model, CARE, standing for: creative communication; atmosphere and appreciation; respect and reason for being; and empathy and enthusiasm. The message may not be new but Glanz crystalizes essential insights and shows how to translate them into action. Well worth reading by everyone who manages people. 316 pp. 2002.

Harvard Business Review on Motivating People, by Harvard Business School Press.
A collection of eight outstanding articles from the pages of the Harvard Business Review. 2003.

Leading High Impact Teams: The Coach Approach to Peak Performance, by Cynder Niemela and Rachael Lewis. High Impact Publishing.
Provides insights and guidelines for team development. Examines: the role of the coach and team leader, the top ten practices of high performance teams, phases of team development, establishing team contracts and working arrangements, setting performance goals, and how to spot and resolve team conflict. Practical and well-organized. Recommended. 206 pp. 2002.

Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances, by J. Richard Hackman. Harvard Business School Press.
The book's focus is on work teams. Its message is that with wise and assertive team leadership, a team can achieve creativity, agility, and learning while still maintaining reasonable levels of consistency, control and alignment with organizational objectives. Hackman identifies the key conditions any leader can put in place to strengthen the probability of team success: 1. creating the qualities of a real work team (a team task, clear boundaries, specified authority, membership stability over some reasonable period of time); 2. clear direction; effective structure and processes; 3. a supportive organizational context (e.g., resources, reward system); and 4. available expert coaching whenever needed. Hackman also explores reasons why teams, no matter how well designed and lead, fail. This is an absorbing, in-depth treatment of the subject that is exceedingly informative. 312 pp. 2002.

Leading Your Team: How to Involve and Inspire Teams, by Andrew Leigh and Michael Maynard. Nicholas Brealey Publishing (London).
The books aim is to provide practical guidelines for how to make teams work in a variety of settings. Information is drawn from a wide range of resources, including the authors' experiences. There are twelve chapters covering How to: run an inspired team meeting; give inspirational briefings; set goals; grow self-managing teams; support team development; review progress; ask for the moon and get it; inspire change in behavior; encourage inner-team working; be an adaptable leaders; harness team power; and work with multicultural teams. Others topics include team characteristics, virtual teams, a strategic view of teams, plus an introductory survival kit and tips. One of the best books on the subject, loaded with how-to information. 264 pp. 2002.

The Motivating Team Leader, by Lewis E. Losoncy, St. Lucie Press, Div. of CRC Press.
Aims at helping the reader acquire the encouraging strategies of the motivating leader. Discusses ways to motivate and inspire a positive purpose in people. Presents 43 approaches for motivating teams and lists things to remember and do, along with checklists, exercises, and bibliography. A valuable book for team leaders filled with explicit how-to guidelines. 244 pp. 2003.

New Corporate Cultures That Motivate, by Adolf Haasen and Gordon F. Shea. Quorum Books / Praeger Publishers.
Analyzes several advanced, exceptionally productive and motivating organizational cultures, based on interviews with employees from the shop floor to the CEO. The book also examines several negative examples. A new concept of employee ownership emerges from these studies, based on joint responsibility for decisions, and actions leading to a range of organizational and management characteristics that make for success. The book is filled with examples and highlights, and offers a wealth of insights into effective organization. Highly recommended. 220 pp. 2003.

The Passion Plan at Work: Building a Passion-Driven Organization, by Richard V. Chang. Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers.
Provides a seven-step plan achieving organizational change, focusing on employee motivation, commitment, and morale. The steps cover: making a leap from reason-based to a passion-driven organization; identify the core of the organization's passion; clarify purpose and direction; define actions; perform with passion; spread excitement; and stay the course. Recommended. 304 pp. 2001.

Rewards and Intrinsic Motivation: Resolving the Controversy, by Judy Cameron and W. David Pierce. Bergin & Garvey, (Greenwood Publishing Group).
Presents study findings and provides an in-depth discussion on the question of whether or not extrinsic rewards negatively affect intrinsic motivation. The authors conclude, on the basis of over 100 experimental investigations, that there no support to the claim that rewards produce significant and substantial decreases in people's intrinsic interest. They also conclude that rewards can be used to enhance performance and motivation. This is a scholarly work of outstanding quality and clearly addresses a controversy that, to this day, divides managers and academics. Highly recommended. 255 pp. 2002.

Team Troubleshooter: How Find and Fix Team Problems, by Robert W. Barner. Davies-Black Publishing.
This team tool kit includes practical solutions for: diagnosing problems; resolving intra-team, inter-group and member-leader conflicts; overcoming setbacks; developing better foresight; securing senior management sponsorship; managing virtual teams; fostering innovation; and strengthening customer relationships. Provides 51 tools including forms, audits, techniques, and more. An exceptionally valuable resource. 326 pp. 2001.

Unstuck: A Tool for Yourself, Your Team, and Your World, by Keith Yamashita and Sandra Spataro. Portfolio-Penguin Group.
This short book is filled with good ideas for situations in which you or your team feels directionless, overwhelmed, alone, exhausted, helpless, or generally blocked. The book takes a big-picture view of problem diagnoses and provides creative ideas for energizing and getting you, your team or organization back on track. Includes lots of briefly stated cases. A great source for inspiration. Abundant ideas for getting things moving forward, fast. 173 pp. 2004.

Training Budgets Step-by-Step: A Complete Guide to Planning and Budgeting Strategically-Aligned Training, by Diane C. Valenti. Pfeiffer.
Valenti takes you through a ten-step planning process, that leads you to the end-result: building a training plan and budget. Some of the ten steps are: gathering data; deciding on current and new courses; determining delivery methods; and deciding whether to make or buy the program. The book presents questions to ask, a running case study, and clear templates to complete. It also helps the reader determine if training is the best response to the challenge at hand. The book is filled with high-quality content from start to finish. Strongly recommended. 151 pp. 2004.

Whale Done! The Power of Positive Relationships, by Ken Blanchard. The Free Press.
Using a parable, the book shows how the principles of positive reinforcement used for training whales apply to people. The main theme is 'catching people doing something right' versus wrong. Recommended. 128 pp. 2002.