Choosing Civility

Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct

by P.M. Forni

Choosing Civility is about counteracting the “coarsening of America.”  It was published in 2002, but is more relevant than ever.

“Being civil means being constantly aware of others and weaving restraint, respect, and consideration into the fabric of this awareness… When we approach others assuming that they are good, honest, and sensitive, we often encourage them to be just that.”

“Every act of kindness is, first of all, an act of attention… When we relate to the world as if we were on automatic pilot, we can hardly be at our best in our encounters with our fellow human beings.”

“Restraint is our inner designated driver. We all have it, and we all can learn to summon it whenever we need it… Restraint is an infusion of thinking—and thoughtfulness—into everything we do.”

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Turn the Ship Around

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Turn the Ship Around: How to Create Leadership at Every Level

by L. David Marquet , Captain, U.S. Navy (Retired)

Capt. Marquet writes about implementing a profoundly different management approach when he took command of the worst performing submarine in the U.S. Navy. “Within a year, the situation was totally turned around. We went from worst to first in most measures of performance, including the one I valued the most—our ability to retain our sailors and officers.”

“Disengaged, dissatisfied, uncommitted employees erode an organization’s [productivity] while breaking the spirits of their colleagues.” Marquet found the root cause of the problem to be the leader-follower structure, in which subordinates “have limited decision-making authority and little incentive to give the utmost of their intellect, energy, and passion… We had 135 men on board and only 5 of them fully engaged their capacity to observe, analyze, and problem solve.” Continue reading

Marketing Above the Noise

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Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing that Matters

by Linda J. Popky

Grounded in fundamentals and guided by strategic objectives, Linda Popky puts the hype around social media and big data in perspective. “It’s time to move the discussion away from today’s latest hot marketing tools and tactics to what really counts: convincing customers to trust you with their business—not just once, but time and time again.” Continue reading

The Power of Nice

the-power-of-nice

The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World With Kindness

by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval

You may not be familiar with the authors’ names, but you are probably familiar with their work. They are the founding partners of the advertising agency responsible for the Aflac duck campaign.  One of them wrote the “I want to be a Toys R Us Kid” jingle earlier in her career.

Their message is that being nice (but not phony) in personal and professional encounters builds goodwill, which can lead to big and small rewards.  Many examples are included in the book. Continue reading

The No Asshole Rule

The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t

by Robert I. Sutton

Assholes create a toxic work environment, destroying productivity. Sutton introduces the Total Cost of Assholes (TCA) metric. In the case of a salesman named Ethan, the cost was estimated at $160,000, including time spent by Ethan’s manager, HR professionals, senior executives, outside counsel, as well as the costs related to high turnover of support staff.

Sutton warns not to hire wimps and polite clones. “A series of controlled experiments and field studies in organizations show that when teams engage in conflict over ideas in an atmosphere of mutual respect, they develop better ideas and perform better. For this reason, Intel requires all new employees to take “constructive confrontation class.”

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Sutton, Robert I. The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t. New York: Business Plus, 2010. Buy from Amazon.com