Leadership, Coaching and Followership


Today I am reviewing Leadership, Coaching and Followership, written by Ann M. Brewer and published by Springer.

Everyone would agree that organizations are only as good as their employees. Still, many companies have not established a formal coaching and mentoring system to develop their most promising talent. Moreover, these companies do not capitalize on the vast knowledge and experience that veteran employees can pass down. Like the other useful books in the Harvard Business Essentials series, this volume is clearly written, easy to understand and brimming with practical advice. If your company already understands the value of coaching and mentoring, then you’ll be covering familiar territory here. But if you’re interested in learning the basics of a terrific business tool, we recommend this book as an excellent starting point.

  • As the title denotes, the Weekly Coaching Conversation is told as a story — and this makes it a refreshingly enjoyable read. But the power of the book lies in the meaning interwoven throughout the fictional storyline: namely, that every leader has the potential to not only get more from their team members, but to do it in a way that builds trust and rapport. The timing of Souza’s work couldn’t be more critical: in a slow growth economy everyone is being asked to do more with less. Unfortunately, this pressure exposes the unhealthy and limiting habits of the three unproductive management styles identified in the book: Do-it-all Managers, Micro-managers, and Nice-guy Managers. As a result, morale crashes, productivity falls, and teams limp along frustrated, disengaged, and unmotivated.The above sounds like a recipe for disaster, except for the one management style Souza makes the compelling case we have the ability to become: the Coach. The book draws deeply from historical examples that show how a “coach” time and time again transforms mediocrity into victory (and also why some high performers have a hard time transitioning into the coaching role.) The inclusion of such historical examples (ranging from Napoleon to Vince Lombardi) is what really takes Souza’s work above and beyond most management reads. In fact, this is the kind of book you want to keep readily on your bookshelf and return to it again and again.

    Finally, I think Souza is aware that the coaching skills outlined throughout will find themselves manifesting into one’s home and community. The empowering principles in the book will easily cross the professional / personal divide (which in my opinion is one of the true litmus tests for truly transformational works). I found The Weekly Coaching Conversation to be an engaging “must-read,” especially in today’s economic and social climate, and believe Souza’s work is destined to take its place amongst the classics in the genre.

  • Provides evidence, details and case studies that the reader can apply
  • Brings deep insights into the theory and practice of leadership, followership and coaching
  • Provokes thoughts for self-awareness

This volume presents evidence-based ideas on all three converging forces to suit an array of individuals and their organisations. The volume is rich with evidence, detail and case studies that the reader can draw upon and apply to their own situations.

Defining exactly what is leadership has been a persistent problem for researchers and theorists. Discovering how to generate or develop leaders likewise has been a difficult challenge over the years in all walks of life.

Written by an academic, executive and coach, the author focuses on three important converging aspects: leadership, followership and coaching. A focus on leaders is disproportionate to what actually occurs within most organisations especially the relationship between the leader and the followers. That leadership is tantamount with being in control of a situation is challenged, together with the belief that leadership capability is primarily shaped in line with a set of success criteria. The coach plays a significant part in this process although rarely visible.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Coaching Frameworks and Approaches – Coaching Wisdom and Assessment -Coaching and Followership – Critical Reflection – Defining Leadership – Ethical Leadership and Followership – Focus on Leadership in Organisations – Leadership is Practice – Organisational Culture and Gender – Organisational Learning – Processes of Communicative Competence -Relation between the Leader and the Followers – The Importance of Focusing and Learning -Theoretical Heredity of Leadership – Understanding Followers – Workplace Deviance and Unethical Action

Related subjects » Organization – Human Resource Management – Personality & Social Psychology – Psychology


Proactive Intelligence

  I am reviewing Proactive Intelligence written by  John J McGonagle and Carolyn M. Vella published by Springer. This is a book that any smart executive involved with intelligence should have on their shelf.
The first three chapters deal with the definitions, terms and explanations involved in the discipline of competitive intelligence.
According to the authors:
“The tools and techniques that will enable you to produce your own CI for your consumption are out there, and have been honed by decades of work. But, you cannot just adopt them—you have to adapt them. When you get finished reading this book, you will still be thedata collector, the analyst, and the end-user. But traditional CI is premised on a reactive, two-part relationship—that is, a CI professional responding to what an end-user identifies as a need, usually the result of seeing another new threat. But,by doing this yourself, you can turn CI from being reactive to being proactive. As the decision-maker, you can get what CI you need, when you need it, and then use it almost seamlessly.”
This book will:
  • Educates working executives and managers about the power of competitive intelligence.
  • Provides real guidance on how to identify what competitive intelligence is needed and then how to get it.
  • Tells readers how to use competitive intelligence to develop competitive – and career – advantages

Traditionally, tapping into the power of competitive intelligence (CI) meant investing in the development of an internal CI unit or hiring outside consultants who specialized in CI.  Proactive Intelligence: The Successful Executive’s Guide to Intelligence offers an alternative: learn how to do it yourself and how to effectively manage the parts you cannot. The tools and techniques that will enable you to produce your own CI for your consumption are out there, and have been honed by decades of work. But, you cannot just adopt them – you have to adapt them.

Why? Because, when you finish reading this book, you will be the data collector, the analyst, and the end-user. Traditional CI is premised on a reactive, two part relationship – a CI professional responding to what an end-user identifies as a need; by doing this yourself you can turn CI from being reactive to being proactive. As the decision-maker, you can get what CI you need, when you need it, and then use it almost seamlessly. Written by two of the foremost experts on CI, Proactive Intelligence: The Successful Executive’s Guide to Intelligence:

•shows where and how CI can help you and your firm,

•provides practical guidance on how to identify what CI you need, how to find the data you need, and how to analyze it, and

•discusses how to apply CI to develop competitive- and career- advantages.

Each chapter is supported by important references as well as by an additional list of resources to support and supplement your knowledge. Proactive Intelligence: The Successful Executive’s Guide to Intelligence teaches you how to generate proactive intelligence and use it to advance your business and your career- making it an essential resource for managers and executives, as well as everyone who wishes to integrate CI into their daily work

Content Level » Professional/practitioner

Keywords » Competitive Intelligence – Decision Making – Management Planning – Strategic Planning – War Games

Related subjects » Business & Management for ProfessionalsLawOrganization – Human Resource ManagementProduction & Process Engineering

A Concise Guide to Market Research

Today I am reviewing an amazing book: A Concise Guide to Market Research written by Marko Sarstedt and Erik Mooi, published by Springer.
There are dozens of market research techniques, the authors does a great job of explaining them in clear and direct language. Showing which ones to use when, and how to use them to generate the strongest, most useful insights possible. That, after all, is the point of market research.Anyone who is thinking about how to best utilize market research should read this book; and keep it handy when then considering their next research project. It is concise (and best of all actionable) and will help anyone seeking to leverage customer insight determine how to structure the research. While Anne provides an overview of research techniques and how to use them, the core of the book and its most valuable point is the strategic framework she outlines early on (see page 3).

The strategic framework outlined and explained in this book will help anyone from marketing managers to research specialists get better results. Any businessperson who is responsible for understanding consumers, customers, prospects….should be thinking about the questions Anne outlines and incorporating her insights to help make their research efforts more effective and more useful.

I highly recommend this book to anyone involved in market research efforts.
  • Compact, hands-on and step-by-step introduction to quantitative market research techniques
  • Presents the most important techniques and shows how to translate theoretical choices into SPSS and how to analyze the output
  • Case study at the end of each chapter
  • Innovative supplementary online concept, including mobile tags, sample datasets and additional cases
This accessible, practice-oriented and compact text provides a hands-on introduction to the principles of market research. Using the market research process as a framework, the authors explain how to collect and describe the necessary data and present the most important and frequently used quantitative analysis techniques, such as ANOVA, regression analysis, factor analysis, and cluster analysis. An explanation is provided of the theoretical choices a market researcher has to make with regard to each technique, as well as how these are translated into actions in IBM SPSS Statistics. This includes a discussion of what the outputs mean and how they should be interpreted from a market research perspective. Each chapter concludes with a case study that illustrates the process based on real-world data. A comprehensive web appendix includes additional analysis techniques, datasets, video files and case studies. Several mobile tags in the text allow readers to quickly browse related web content using a mobile device.

Content Level » Upper undergraduate

Keywords » Market Research – Marketing – Marketing Research – SPSS – Statistics

Related subjects » Business, Economics & Finance – Business & Management for Professionals – Marketing

Fashion Branding and Consumer Behaviors


Today I am reviewing Fashion Branding and Consumer Behaviors edited by Tsan-Ming Choi and published by Springer.


This book truly gives a complete and well-delivered overview of the process of fashion branding. The author explores the different concepts and strategies involved in the branding process in a way that is easy to understand and relate to. He also does an amazing job of posing questions and allowing the reader to understand the difficulties and challenges associated with the branding process. Considering the scope of the topic addressed, the delivery and progression throughout the book is easy to follow. The information is presented in a way that gives depth and contextualization for each of the areas discussed. The references he makes between chapters is very easy to follow and the knowledge presented in the book builds on itself.

While most of the graphics and tables used were relevant to the topic, some did not necessarily illustrate the points that were made in the text. Dealing with a subject such as fashion branding of course lends itself to relevant exposure to the stylistic aspects of the industry. While creativity was certainly addressed well in the text, due to the heavy focus on the social, economic, and business concepts related to branding, the photos of high fashion advertisement and runway shows were more difficult to explain in those contexts. Fortunately, they do not detract from the subject as much as they occasionally seem superfluous.

The author writing style is easy to follow and well-developed. Some familiarity with the fashion industry is necessary to place a lot of examples in the proper context, but he also poses new ways to understand the branding process that even a seasoned veteran of the industry would find interesting. The continuation of themes that he explores throughout the text was very consistent without being overdrawn. Some basic information felt a bit repetitious where a reference to an earlier chapter may have sufficed, but he did an excellent job of contextualizing each aspect of the branding process. I found the text to be the perfect length, giving enough attention to the history behind branding, the progression of the branding process through recent history, and the current ideas being explored and implemented in the current scheme of the fashion industry. The balance of graphics and text was perfect, and even the pictures I found irrelevant did not dominate any section of the book.

The layout of the text is great, and the cover and packaging is very attractive. The references, end notes, and index are well-organized and extremely relevant. Some of the discussion questions at the end of each chapter felt a bit mechanical, such as asking the reader to re-state a concept that was well-defined in the text, but they worked well to place focus on important concepts that would carry into further chapters.

I would recommend this book to anyone studying the fashion industry, especially those who want to understand the failures and triumphs of certain brands and how to use branding in a social and business context. Those with an interest in brand history and who want a larger overview of the entire industry may be disappointed, for that is not the aim of the book. The objective of the author is clearly stated, developed, and successfully explored.

  • Covers fashion branding from a consumer behaviors perspective
  • Includes theoretical and applied research results
  • Provides both analytical and empirical models

Fashion Branding and Consumer Behaviors presents eye-opening theory, literature review, and original research on the mutual influence of branding strategies and consumer response. Contributors use multiple methods to analyze consumers’ psychosocial needs and the extent that their fulfillment goes beyond the usefulness or value of the items they purchase as well as the fashion industry’s means of communicating brand identity and enhancing brand loyalty. Along the way, these studies raise important questions about consumer behaviors, consumer welfare, environmental ethics, and the future of consumer research. Included in the coverage:

  • A symbolic interactionist perspective on fashion brand personality and advertisement response.
  • Optimizing fashion branding strategies in a fluctuating market.
  • An analysis of fashion brand extensions by artificial neural networks.
  • Domestic or foreign luxury brands? A comparison of status-  and non-status- seeking teenagers.
  • The impact of consumers’ need for uniqueness on purchase perception.
  • How brand awareness relates to market outcome, brand equity, and the marketing mix.

A breakthrough volume on the complexities of how and why we buy, Fashion Branding and Consumer Behaviors will captivate researchers and practitioners in the fields of consumer psychology, marketing, and economics.

Content Level: Research

Keywords » Consumer Attitudes – Consumer Behavior Related Fashion Branding – Consumer Behaviors – Consumer-based Branding and Operations – Fashion Branding Strategies -Marketing Science

Key Performance Indicators


Today I will review the book Key Performance Indicators by Bernard Marr, published by Pearson.


This book is amazing! It contains 75 measures that EVERY manager needs to know. These 75 KPIs are divided in 6 parts:

Financial Perspective
Customer Perspective
Marketing and Sales Perspective
Operational processes and supply chain Perspective
Employee Perspective
Corporate social responsibility Perspective

In each of these parts Marr gives us the essential metrics according to the business perspective, for example: On part 3- Marketing and sales has KPIs such as Market growth rate and Customer online engagement level, just to name a few. For each KPI described in the book the author uses the same framework outlining:

Why is this indicator important?
How do I measure it?
Cost/effort in collecting the data
Tips and warnings

   Effective managers and decision makers understand the performance of all key dimensions of their business by distilling them down into the critical KPIs. Not understanding key metrics can often cause anxiety and can hold people back. This book will demystify and explain in simple terms the most important KPIs in use today. It will equip you with the skills to understand, measure and interpret the most important aspects of any business.
                      Bernard Marr

I found this book very usefull, because these business perspectives used are shared across most organizations irrespective from the type of industry and sector. You can use this book in two ways:

1) As a reference guide, because it allows you to look for the KPIs you want to learn about.

2) To complete your performance management framework, business dashboard, banlanced scorecard or business intelligence strategy.

If you are interested in this book click here to download a free chapter.


Investing in your Knowledge


Today we will talk about Investing in your Knowledge. This investment will play a major part on your personal and career development. You don’t acquire knowledge just when you are on school, college or on a course. Knowledge is everywhere, on a book, on your experiences; basically it’s what you take from everything that happens in your life, good or bad. On a previous post I gave some links of free online courses and videos but today we will concentrate on reading.


I read once, on a Brian Tracy book that if you take 30 minutes of your day and start reading a book on your field, that will impact your career and your income. And it is true, because I did it myself.  Reading books, implementing new ideas on your workplace, and learning how to do new things will make you smarter and will also help with your lateral thinking and creativity – you’ll be able to combine knowledge from various disciplines in order to solve problems.

You can measure the results by logging on your diary or on your PDP to track your progress. Review that after 6 months and see how many books you read and see what changed, you will be surprised!

A lot of people say they don’t have time to read, but they sit and watch TV for hours every day, and these hours you will never get back in your life and they are unproductive. You can read on your way to work if you go by bus or train, you can cut some minutes of your TV time to read, or even if you drive there are thousands of audio books that you can download to your mp3 players, iTunes and even your smart phones. Really there is no excuse not to invest in yourself especially because you are the one who will be taking the most advantage and profit in the long term.


I just invested in myself with the HBR’S 10 Must Reads Collection by Harvard Business Review Press. This series is really good because each book has 10 of the best articles published by Harvard University on each topic. I think it is a must read for any ambitious manager, new or experienced leader.

It is easy to read, each book has approximately 300 pages. Each chapter is an article from great authors such as Peter F. Drucker, Theodore Levitt, Robert S. Kaplan, David P. Norton and others.  One of the things that I liked on these books is that each chapter has a box called Idea in Brief, which gives you an idea of the basic concept of the chapter and most of them has very interesting case studies as well.


I highly recommend you to get this collection because will inspire you with ideas and knowledge that will accelerate both your own growth and company. Each title includes timeless advice that will be relevant regardless of an ever-changing business environment. The titles include: Leadership, Managing Yourself, The Essentials, Change Management,Managing People and Strategy.

One of my favorite articles were:

What Makes an Effective Executive by Peter F. Drucker (HBR’S 10 Must Reads On Leadership)

Putting the Balanced Scorecard to Work by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton (HBR’S 10 Must Reads The Essentials)

Managing Oneself by Peter F. Drucker (HBR’S 10 Must Reads on Managing Yourself)

The Real Reason People won’t Change by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey (HBR’S 10 Must Reads On Change Management )

What Great Managers Do by Marcus Buckingham (HBR’S 10 Must Reads On Managing People)

The Secrets to Successful Strategy Execution by Gary L. Neilson, Karla L. Martin, and Elisabeth Powers (HBR’S 10 Must Reads On Strategy)

“Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes “ Peter F. Drucker

“The ability to change constantly and effectively is made by high-level continuity.” Michael E. Porter


How to be a Person of Influence


Today I just finished reading this amazing book, How to be like Women of Influence written by Pat and Ruth William with Michael Mink from HCI Books. Before we go any further to all our male readers please stay! Although the book is all about women’s don’t be put down by the title, because the main purpose is to learn how they made a difference, how they influenced their countries, the world and history.

The book is about how these extraordinaire women and how influenced the world and made great contributions to humanity. The authors had chosen 20 of the greatest women that lived on the 19th and 20th century. It was a great read, it’s not a biography, but you get to know a little about the life of these great women’s and how they succeed in their respective fields, how they stayed strong in face of adversity, overcame prejudices and pressed forward the boundaries of race, religion, politics, disability, culture and business to make their own contributions to the world.

Each chapter is dedicated to a woman such as: Eleanor Roosevelt, Mother Teresa, Anne Frank, Margaret Thatcher, Sandra Day O’Connor, Oprah Winfrey, Golda Meir, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller, Marie Curie, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Amelia Earhart, Florence Nightingale, Harriet Beecher, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Clara Barton, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Mary Kay Ash.

What I liked the most about the book (besides the content),is the way it was written. Each chapter is full of stories, anecdotes, historical facts and curiosities with well chosen quotes.

On the end of each chapter there is a section How to be Like Oprah Winfrey (for example) and it comes with 7 to 16 bullet points of the characteristics and actions that these women’s had that made it possible for them to achieve their goals, with an additional text in each one of them. On top of that on the end of the book there is a section called Book Club Questions for Discussion, which I thought it was really good.

The great lesson is how can we become a person of influence? What the 20 women in this book had in common was:

  • Each one figured out what the prime motivation in their life would be and pursued it with passion.

“Before I was even into my teens…My goal was to be the greatest athlete that ever lived.” Babe Didrikson Zaharias

  • Each one set specific goals related to their passion and worked toward these goals.

“Nothing in life happens. It isn’t enough to believe in something; you have to have stamina to meet obstacles and overcome them,to struggle.” Golda Meir

  • They didn’t just dream; they made things happen.

“It is the individual who can and does make a difference even in this increasingly populous, complex world of ours. The individual can make things happen.” Sandra Day O’Connor

  • They made things happen because they were willing to work hard.

“Happiness…that’s something you can’t achieve by taking the easy way out. Earning happiness means doing good and working, not speculating and being lazy.Laziness may look inviting, but only work gives you true satisfaction.” Anne Frank

  • Each woman had a strong core belief in what she was doing and never gave up on their dreams. They persevered in good and bad times with their focus on their mission.

“If you have a sense of purpose and a sense of direction, I believe people will follow you.” Margaret Thatcher

  • They all had an “I can do” attitude. In their minds there were no limits to what they could achieve.

“Don’t depend on forces outside yourself to get ahead.” Oprah Winfrey

  • These women of influence simply kept focused on their passion, never letting “that’s impossible” become part of their vocabulary.

“The first principle: never to let one’s self be beaten down by persons or by events.” Marie Curie

  • In every single case these women were individuals. They defined who they were and refused to let anyone change that. They were true to themselves.
  • They all realized there was someone or something greater than themselves and they practiced their faith and also felt the need to give back to the world.

“Be a living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.” Mother Teresa

  • They were courageous women, and each one ventured into unknown fields and were willing to take the risks necessary to achieve their dreams.

“Decide then whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is stop worrying. To worry is to add another hazard. It retards reactions, makes one unfit.” Amelia Earhart

  • These influential women took responsibility for their own lives. They didn’t blame others or circumstances. They took what life gave them and made the best of it.

“What basic objective I had, for many years, was to grasp every opportunity to live and experience life as deeply, as fully, and as widely as I possibly could. It seemed to me stupid to have a gift of life and not use it to the utmost of one’s ability.” Eleanor Roosevelt

  • Education was very important to all of them. They were all lifelong learners, contributors to society and understood the value of education.

“Books showed me there was possibilities in life, that there were actually people like me living in a world I could not only aspire to but attain. Reading gave me hope. For me it was the open door.” Oprah Winfrey

I highly recommend this book it’s a great read and very inspiring. It makes you think and give more value for the things we take for granted in life. It motivates you to aim for big goals and work hard to achieve them.