Ed Schein, an academic with a 50-year distinguished record in organisational psychology, has written a hugely-reflective book that brings to bear the rich experience arising from his pioneering career. He describes the purpose of the book as being to support the development of positive relationships and he defines ‘humble inquiry’ as “the fine art of drawing someone out, asking questions to which you do not already know the answer, of building a relationship based on curiosity and interest to the other person”.
In his preface, Richard Barrett describes his purpose as being to launch a book “for leaders, change agents and consultants on how to build a values-driven organization.” No mean ambition.
I picked up this book with considerable interest: I am accredited to use the culture-transformation tools that the author has developed (www.valuescentre.com) and have become fascinated by the role that values, personal authenticity and leader role-modelling play in developing corporate culture and employee engagement.
Understanding the thinking and concepts of this book comes from a reading of the preface, which provides the reader with a summary of the author’s experience and influences. Cholle has certainly had a varied past and having this appreciation really helps to engage with his writing. His underlying thinking is well summarised in a quote from later in the book (p159): “Logic is powerful but rarely deep, because it is dualistic in nature …. we necessarily need to go past logic.”
It was with some trepidation that I picked up the Chartered Management Institute’s 2014 Management Book of the Year. Never has the pressure to review a book been so intense; and so it was with some relief that I noticed the interesting graphics that adorned the cover. They were not ‘serious’ or ‘high-brow’ or ‘forbidding’. In fact for so august a volume, the book’s cover-art seemed a little frivolous.
“Building the Pyramid” is about providing an approach to delivering a successful organisational growth journey. It is a different approach to describing the process of business planning and change management and the logic behind embarking on the necessary activities to achieve the intended beneficial outcomes. Much of it relates to the behavioural issues associated with change, which is not surprising since business-change success is usually largely about engaging, aligning and motivating people.
Subtitled “Improving performance, well-being and positive behaviour in others”, this is a useful book that will offer new insights for HR managers and line managers alike. Based on over 15 years’ of academic and practitioner research, the editors take readers on a journey of discovery about an aspect of psychometrics that is increasingly relevant in a turbulent and fast-moving world.
The book has three main parts: the first (chapters 1-9) is a description of the development of and basis for the Mental Toughness tool (MTQ48). The second part focuses on its application in a number of sectors and organisational environments. The book ends (chapters 19-27) with a review of mental toughness as it relates to coaching, fatigue, positive thinking, visualisation, relaxation, attentional control, goal-setting and research.