Book Reviews: Training and Development

The 2001 ASTD Training and Performance Yearbook, by John A. Woodsand and James W. Cortada. McGraw-Hill Priority Processing.
General reference and overview for training and development. Presents articles, abstracts from recent literature, data on training salaries and budgets, case studies, summaries of research findings, and extensive annotated directories of professional organizations, consultants, training programs, resources online, journals, newsletters and other training resources. Materials provide current and authoritative thinking to serve as a problem-solving resource for practitioners. Highly recommended. 509 pp. 2001.

Coaching CLUES: Real Stories, Powerful Solutions, Practical Tools, by Marian J. Their, Nicholas Brealey Publishing (London).
The book conveys the author's approach and techniques for effective coaching, starting with a model to help an observer see the big picture, followed by eleven stories to examine coaching in action, and twelve coaching tools used with success in the field. A highly useful and insightful book that brings the reader, to the extent words permit, into contact with the coaching process. Very highly recommended. 168 pp. 2003.

Creating, Implementing, & Managing Effective Training and Development: State-of-the-Art Lessons for Practice, by Kurt Kraiger. Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers.
Provides guidelines for implementing and maintaining training and development (T&D) programs. Captures insights from theoretical advances made over recent years. Offers a foundation for grounding processes such as strategic planning and needs assessment, training design and media selection, training delivery, transfer of training and training evaluation, and long-term maintenance of learning programs. Chapters cover: a perspective on the impact of the science of training on planning and managing the training function; how position T&D and plan for effective programs; eight T&D imperatives; a model of training effectiveness; use of cognitive task analysis in assessment; discussions of T&D best practices; leadership development through coaching and mentoring; use of computer technology; guidelines for designing and delivering team training; and the transfer of training. This is a content-rich book. Highly recommended. 395 pp. 2002.

Developing Global Executives: The Lessons of International Experience, by Morgan W. McCall and George P. Hollenback. Harvard Business School Press.
The aim of this work is to shed light on what makes a successful global executive and how individuals and their organizations can develop this type of leader. Based on the findings of 101 in-depth interviews with international executives, the book offers insights and perspective on the meaning, conduct, and future of international leadership at the top. The author defines the global executive, identifies requisite knowledge, skills, abilities and values, and suggests a number of actions for companies to develop and improve the performance of these employees. Key findings are highlighted in tables. A unique contribution. Well worth reading. 257 pp. 2002.

Facilitating with Ease! Core Skills for Facilitators, Team Leaders and Members, Managers, Consultants, and Trainers, by Ingrid Bens. Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers.
Details core facilitation tools and techniques. Chapters cover: understanding facilitation, facilitation stages, assessing and understanding participants, creating participation, effective decision making, facilitating conflict, meeting management, process tools for facilitators (e.g., visioning, exit surveys, brainstorming), and process designs. This is a well-organized soup-to-nuts reference that includes customizable worksheets on CD-ROM. Excellent. 214 pp. 2005.

The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management: Quick Tips, Speedy Solutions, Cutting-Edge Ideas, by Eric Verzuh. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
One of the finest books on how to be a successful project manager. The author has written a self-study guide that is extremely comprehensive and well-organized. Key points are fully highlighted. The details of project management are fully spelled out, including: the definition of success; balancing cost, scheduling and quality; project management functions; the role of each stakeholder; formulating and communicating the rules; planning the process (including risk management, work breakdown structure, realistic scheduling, accurate estimating); controlling the project (building the team, communication, measuring progress); and applying the discipline. A treasure trove of insights and guidelines. 416 pp. 2005.

Foundations of Human Resource Development, by Richard A. Swanson and Elwood F. Holton. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
Provides a solid, very comprehensive introduction to and overview of the field of HRD. Major sections cover: definition, purpose, context, and core beliefs; themes, process, and world views; history of HRD; theory and philosophy; paradigms and perspectives; training and development; organization development; nature of organizational change; OD practices ranging from organization and individual levels; strategies for advancing HRD; accountability in HRD; and globalization and technology challenges to HRD. This text is jam-packed with informational content and perspectives and provides some of the very best overviews we have seen, for example, there is a profile of ten schools of strategic thinking which captures the essence of each in two and a half pages. One page summarizes the HRD metrics of leading thinkers. Very highly recommended. 439 pp. 2001.

Games for Legendary Away Days by Karen Cooley and Kirsty McEwan. Ashgate Publishing Company (Gower).
The book is a collection of 33 games specifically designed for a wide range of circumstances. The games consist of icebreakers, energizers, team games, and individual exercises. Each game is geared to one or more of 11 Away Days agendas: 1) celebration, 2) challenge of change, 3) conference, 4) consolidation, 5) consultation, 6) creativity, 7) decision making, 8) morale, 9) planning, 10) problem solving, and 11) team building. [For more about planning Away Days see Legendary Away Days, in which the authors detail how to design and run a whole event.] Each game presented in this book is fully-described, including purpose, type of game, most suitable for, numbers, time required, preparation, materials, and specifics on game content, steps, debriefing, and pitfalls. Includes a 22 page opening guide for successfully using games. For any one who trains and develops others, this is a terrific resource. 170 pp. 2004.

Go Team!: Take Your Team to the Next Level, by Ken Blanchard, W. Alan Randolph, and Peter Glazer. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
Using discussions, case examples, and questions to consider, this book is a field guide that: shows team leaders and members how to use information sharing to build high levels of trust and responsibility; clear boundaries to create the freedom for team members to act responsibly; and develop self-managing skills to make good team decisions. Clearly written and to-the-point. 144 pp. 2005.

The Handbook of Coaching: A Comprehensive Resource Guide for Managers, Executives, Consultants, and Human Resource Professionals, by Frederic M. Hudson, Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers.
A very comprehensive introduction and guide to coaching. Major topics covered include: the types, purposes and roles of coaches; the process; the coach-client relationship; coaching as a profession; psychological theories of adult development; a conceptual model for coaching; coaching for high performance in human systems; coaching throughout the adult life cycle. This book is content-rich, for example, Hudson details the eight steps coaches should take in creating a relationship with a client. Includes extensive annotated lists of resources (books, associations with contact information). A 'must' for professionals and students. Very highly recommended. 264 pp. 1999.

High-Impact Learning: Strategies for Leveraging Business Results from Training, by Robert O. Brinkerhoff and Anne M. Apking. Perseus Books.
The book provides an approach to successful training. The authors provide extensive guidance and examples of how variations of this central theme play out in practice. Five principles of high-impact training are presented and guide the material presented in the book. The book shows how to bridge the gap between employee and organizational goals and launch training initiatives of visible and lasting impact. Filled with detailed discussion, techniques and examples. Recommended. 240 pp. 2001.

Implementing Mentoring Schemes: A Practical Guide to Successful Programs, by Nadine Klasen. Butterworth-Heinemann.
The book is written from the perspective of a person responsible for designing and implementing a structured mentoring scheme. It is primarily intended for organizations wanting to set up an internal mentoring program. It provides an in-depth understanding of both the process and program design of mentoring. Among its many subject areas, the book excels at considering mentoring techniques, the mentoring process and phases of the mentoring relationship. It gives an outstanding guide to implementing mentoring schemes, including the illustration of a globally implemented program. It also covers different objectives of mentoring, factors that influence mentoring relationships, characteristics of mentors and mentees, conducting a needs and readiness analyses, training, and evaluation. Klasen provides an outstanding treatment of the subject! 332 pp. 2002.

Information Literacy and Workplace Performance, by Tom W. Goad. Quorum Books / Praeger Publishers.
This well-organized and meticulously researched book starts by examining the concept of information literacy and then moves into the system of interdependent skills that must be mastered for success in the future workplace. Goad offers a sixteen step model that provides a template applicable for most information-related challenges. Chapters then explore: communication skills; thinking and decision making skills; creativity, innovation and risk-taking that enhance thinking skills; computer literacy; subject matter literacy; learning how to learn; sources for help. Goad also discusses how to cope with the increasing interweaving of our work and private lives. The subject of this book is of highest importance for success in the Information Age and Goad does a first-rate job of explaining essential skills the reader needs! 232 pp. 2002.

Managers as Mentors: Building Partnerships for Learning, by Chip R. Bell Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
Explains power-free facilitation of learning and teaching through consultation and affection, rather than constriction and assessment. Provides approaches and techniques for forging a partnership with learners to help them develop new competencies and confidence. Includes a Mentor Scale instrument to assess the personal attributes you bring to mentoring, responses to which are a key in using the book. Expanded from the 1996 edition. References. Very highly recommended. 190 pp. 2002.

The Partnering Intelligence Fieldbook: Tools and Techniques for Building Strong Alliances for Your Business, by Stephen M. Dent and Sandra Naiman. Davies-Black Publishing.
Partnering intelligence requires partnering quotient (PQ) which consists of certain attitudes, skills and behaviors. The book is a companion to Dent's earlier work, "Partnering Intelligence." Part one provides an assessment to measure your PQ and tools and tips to improve your ability to partner. The book offers a step-by-step guide for using the Partner Continuum model—a process that outlines the stages of task and relationship development that occur naturally in successful partnerships. Recommended. 263 pp. 2002.

Pfeiffer's Classic Activities for Building Better Teams, by Jack Gordon, ed., Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.
A collection of the best-rated training games, role-plays and exercises for team building. Subjects covered are: orientation to team concepts; communication and group-focused issues; solving problems and making decisions; stress and conflict; clarifying roles; giving and receiving feedback; and problem solving and conflict. The contents are of the highest quality; strongly recommended. 2003.

Pfeiffer's Classic Activities for Managing Conflict at Work, by Jack Gordon. Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.
A comprehensive resource to help individuals, teams and organizations deal with conflict. Contains background reading material, experiential learning activities plus inventories, questionnaires, and surveys. A top-notch reference and training kit. Highly recommended. 2003. (8/05)

Pfeiffer's Classic Activities for Managing Conflict at Work, by Jack Gordon, ed., Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.
A collection of the best-rated training games, role plays and exercises for managing conflict in the workplace. Covers: presentation and discussion resources; experiential learning activities; conflict and the individual; conflict and the organization; and inventories, questionnaires and surveys. The contents are of the highest quality; strongly recommended. 2003.

The Practical Guide to Facilitation: A Self-Study Resource, by John D. Farrell and Richard G. Weaver, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
Beginning with a facilitation skills self-assessment and a discussion of the different facilitation roles (leader, manager, facilitator), the book helps the read learn about differing styles and the role of facilitator in a variety of situations including: clarifying the charge to a group; group development; conflict resolution; decision making; and facilitating change. Extremely well structured and rich in content, providing detailed guidelines and exercises. 188 pp. 2000.

The Project Management Workshop, by James Taylor. AMACOM.
The book is written for trainers to offer guidance in structuring a fundamental, two-day project management course intended for inexperienced managers. The author's "A Survival Guide for Project Managers," AMACOM, provides greater detail on the tools and concepts presented in this book. The Workshop provides: detailed explanation of content; an agenda with time estimates; slides with training notes; typical Q & As; tips on delivery; and handouts. Separate sections for slides and overheads to facilitate photocopying. 450 pp. 2001.

The Secrets of Facilitation: The S.M.A.R.T Guide to Getting Results with Groups, by Michael Wilkinson. Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers.
A very comprehensive resource for guiding group facilitation. Each chapter begins with a list of questions that will be answered. The book is organized around 60 secrets, which are presented in the back of the book as a quick guide. These secrets are clustered by chapter under major headings. The major secrets (and chapters) are): questioning, preparing, starting, focusing, recording, information gathering, closing, managing dysfunction, consensus building, energy, and agenda setting. The closing chapter covers applying the secrets to special situations, very small or very large groups, conference design, conference calls, and remote participant facilitation. This book has an abundance of solid content, and its organization is excellent. 318 pp. 2004.

The Skilled Facilitator Fieldbook: Tips, Tools, and Tested Methods for Consultants, Facilitators, Managers, Trainers, and Coaches, by Roger M. Schwarz. Jossey-Bass.
Central to this work is the Skilled Facilitator approach (TSF), a systematic, values-based approach to group facilitation at the heart of which is the idea that the way we act and the consequences we create begin with the way we think. Chapter one delineates the 10 key features of TSF approach. It is used to help groups and entire organizations to address issues and make significant change, as well as coaching, training, and HRD/OD initiatives of all types. This ambitious resource is bursting with 62 contributions clustered into seven parts: 1) understanding the skilled facilitator approach [summarizes the approach and describes its major principles and features]; 2) starting out [using TSF in a variety of basic ways]; 3) deepening your practice [refining intervention and diagnosis skills, and increasing personal awareness]; 4) facing challenges [dealing with most difficult situations]; 5) seeking your path [integrating the TSF approach in practice and life]; 6) leading and changing organizations [creating major change in leadership and organizational functioning]; and 7) integrating the skilled facilitator approach in your work life and non-work life [shows how to integrate TSF with other approaches and roles]. The book is further enriched with: definitions; key points; examples; tools and techniques and samples of outcomes they produce; reflections; model conversations; and resources. As a consultant in organizational analysis, design and change, as well as a reviewer, I was was drawn to Chapter 51, "Do Surveys Provide Valid Information for Organizational Change?" by Peg Carlson, who concludes what we at Stern & Associates have found to be true of surveys—they are useful for spotlighting likely issues, (and they put 'hard' numbers on the table), but they do not deliver depth of analysis and meaning required, nor the motivation for learning and deep change. This chapter is illustrative of the books' quality of thought. In a nutshell, this book is outstanding, and I very highly recommend it. 570 pp. 2005.

Strategically Integrated HRD: Six Transformational Roles In Creating Results-Driven Programs, by by Jerry W. Gilley and Gilley, Ann Maycunich. Perseus Books.
Argues that HRD practitioners must abandon their traditional image as the training department and become strategically allied with line managers in projects and programs aimed at improving overall organizational performance and achieving business goals. A model and specific guidelines are presented showing how to integrate HRD into the fabric of the organization. Seven steps to the successful transformation of HRD are discusses along with six transformational roles, with a chapter is devoted to each. The book is chock-full of diagrams and tables highlighting key ideas and points. Must reading for all HRD practitioners. 298 pp. 2002.

Structured On-the-Job Training: Unleashing Employee Expertise in the Workplace, by L. Ronald Jacobs, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
This book offers a very comprehensive guide to on-the-job training, providing a how-to approach to design, deliver and evaluate programs to develop employee expertise. Specific steps of the process are discussed in detail. An appendixes present 1) an excerpted portion from a groundbreaking study that first introduced structured OJT and 2) trainer and trainee evaluation forms. Numerous references. I great how-to guide that packs a lot of practical punch. 300 pp. 2002.

Teamwork From the Inside Out Fieldbook: Exercises and Tools for Turning Team Performance Inside Out, by Susan Nash, Davies-Black Publishing.
The book is built on the core theme of the importance of individual patterns of behavior and their impact on team performance. It centers on a model of teamwork which has five factors: (1) Strategy; (2) Clear roles and responsibilities; (3) Open communication; (4) Rapid response; and (5) Effective leadership (SCORE). The author provides a collection of 79 exercises for a wide variety of team-building purposes including gaining insight about you and others using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. We recommend first reading Turning Team Performance Inside Out, (1999) by Nash. Well organized and extremely thorough. 287 pp. 2003.

The Team-Building Workshop: A Trainer's Guide, by Vivette Payne. AMACOM.
Provides guidelines and numerous techniques, assessments, planning guides, lecture notes, examples, problems and other materials to allow line managers or trainers to design and lead a two-day workshop. At the core of the book is a six step team-building process. The book is filled with rich content that makes it a thorough and in-depth resource. It also includes an extensive set of overheads. Highly focused and practical. Extremely well organized and written. Highly recommended. 447 pp. 2001.

Three Keys to Development, by Henry Browning and Van Ellen Velsor. Center for Creative Leadership.
The book describes how to use assessment, challenge, and support to drive leadership development. It shows how to enhance the value and impact of development experiences and to keep the learning momentum going after the experience ends. 29 pp. 2003.

TLC at Work: Training, Leading, Coaching All Types for Star Performance, by Donna Dunning. Davies-Black Publishing.
Dunning provides development guidelines and explores training, leading and coaching (TLC) competencies and techniques. Key subjects include: 1) building relationships, 2) facilitating development of core competencies, 3) self-responsibility, 4) communication, 5) mindfulness, 6) productivity and 7) proactivity (anticipating and adjusting to change, fulfilling career and life goals). Chapters begin with a brief self-assessment, provide guidelines, and highlight quick tips. Special challenges and considerations regarding different personality types are discussed. Highly valuable for supervisors, trainers, and coaches. 290 pp. 2004.

The Training Manager's Quick-Tip Sourcebook: Surefire Tools, Tactics, and Strategies to Solve Common Training Challenges, by Susan C. Patterson. Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers.
A compilation of the thinking and planning of many experts, distilled into approaches and techniques covering a broad range of topics including: planning; budgeting; e-learning; developing a training RFP; diagnosis of training; needs assessment; selling programs; assessing costs; determining return on investment; performance improvement; training and knowledge management; coaching and mentoring; new-hire orientation; training as a recruitment tool; training's role in employee develop; diversity training; how to avoid discrimination in training; and strategies for running a small training department. The book is filled with easy-to-apply guidelines, step-by-step processes, tables, outlines, cases, questionnaires, and references for more information sources. A terrific reference! 276 pp. 2003.