APPA has an active relationship with FranklinCovey, recognizing that management and leadership ideas can help facility officers succeed in a difficult environment. If you missed this summer’s virtual conference, the books reviewed this month will give you an opportunity to catch up. Even if you attended, these books should be on your shelf. They can also be used with other APPA educational programs.
MANAGEMENT MESS TO LEADERSHIP SUCCESS: 30 CHALLENGES TO BECOME THE LEADER YOU WOULD FOLLOW
Scott Jeffrey Miller, Mango Publishing, Coral Gables, FL, 2019, 226 pp., hardcover ($24.99).
Just as in the process of evolution, improvements must be made through experimentation. It’s a painful process, but it’s not possible to find all solutions in life by reading a book. That said, Management Mess to Leadership Success does a good job of identifying how to create opportunities for experimentation by getting colleagues and subordinates involved in the experiments.
Thomas Edison was a great experimenter and inventor whom we took for granted many years ago. He achieved success by staffing his lab with many colleagues and employees and allowing them to conduct experiments that discovered new things. He might have taken more credit for those discoveries than he should have (or casual history has awarded him more credit than he deserved), but the discoveries occurred, and we have all benefited.
In Management Mess, Miller offers leaders some valuable approaches to experimentation and innovation. He provides the reader with a 30-day calendar of challenges to attack—in fact, these are really habits to implement. Obviously, they can’t become habits if they are only practiced for one day; the new habits must be repeated, and in this case, older habits are used as a foundation for the most recent habit. It’s a great way to make real, personal change. These 30 habits are divided into three sections, providing a helpful organizational tool. The three sections also connect nicely with APPA’s Leadership Academy; they are not completely parallel with the academy’s program but can be integrated with it.
As with many FranklinCovey publications, Management Mess is closely connected to Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. If one has difficulty understanding the seven habits or implementing them, Management Mess rolls them out in smaller steps and with some extra ideas. The point of the book is to help leaders to evolve, experiment, test, fail, and find success in the mess that is life.
MULTIPLIERS (REVISED AND UPDATED): HOW THE BEST LEADERS MAKE EVERYONE SMARTER
Liz Wiseman, Harper Business, New York, 2017, 344 pp., hardcover ($29.99).
Personal habits and work relationships can have either a beneficial or detrimental effect on one’s work outcomes. That’s the focus of Multipliers. What it boils down to is that while not everyone can be a leader, they can interact with others and have the effect of a leader. At the same time, just because someone has been identified as the leader doesn’t mean they can lead well. Huh?
The fundamental premise of Multipliers is that how one behaves and works with others creates or destroys synergy (the multiplier effect). Without telling the reader exactly on what side of the synergy factor they fall, whether “diminisher” or “multiplier,” Wiseman explains how to recognize where one falls from several perspectives and how to move along a continuum of behaviors to become a better leader (i.e., multiplier).
While the diminisher essentially takes a staff of n and produces results of less than n, the multiplier gets more out of everyone, individually or as a team. While the terminology of Multipliers is clear and straightforward, it still requires an explanation of how to move from one side of the leadership spectrum to the other. However, the steps in both directions are identified so that one can track behavioral changes. Ideally, the reader will concentrate on moving from diminisher to multiplier, but the other steps are identified as well. There’s a clear warning of when to stop digging.
Identifying what makes a good leader has been the subject of many books, too many to list. Ignoring comparisons between noted leadership books and Multipliers, it’s well worth adding to one’s personal library or shared office library. It’s also helpful to read while attending APPA’s Leadership Academy.
Ted Weidner is an associate professor at Purdue University and consults on facilities management issues primarily for educational organizations. He can be reached at email@example.com. If you would like to write a book review, please contact Ted directly.