by Gregory E. Huszczo (Davies-Black Publishing, $28.95)
As you may know, the Davies-Black imprint is part of Consulting Psychologists Press, the firm that owns the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment tool with which most of us in the people business have been familiar for years (ENFJ! and you?). So it's not a surprise that the book's author is an industrial and organizational psychologist with a gold-plated resume that includes assignments with Ford Motor Co., DEC, Unisys, and Red Cross. But we aren't going to hold that against him, because his book is just fine, thank you very much.
Because it is so full of assessment tools, exercises, and checklists, I might re-title the book "The Field Guide to Building Teams." Even though I took my first Myers-Briggs over 25 years ago and haven't thought about it much since, there is plenty of material here for consideration and action.
The chapter that hit me between the ears is Chapter 4, "Knowing Why the Team Exists." We have all worked for organizations that establish committees, task forces, and advisory groups whenever they feel the need to fight necessary change. Very often these groups take on forms, cultures, and lives of their own, thereby sucking all the energy and initiative out of the organization they are supposed to serve. You've seen it. This is the opposite of what work life is supposed to look like—clear goals, sound strategies, and well-understood roles for everyone.
In Chapter 4 we learn how to establish a clear sense of direction, something every employee in every company craves more than chocolate chip cookies warm from the oven. We all have ideas about what will work and what direction we should take to complete a project, but nothing good comes of it unless there is one voice from many throats. Easier said than done. —S.C.