The Advantage

The Advantage

Citation for Book:  Lencioni P.  The Advantage:  Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business.  Jossey-Bass; 2012

Recommended by:  Todd Sorensen,

Star Rating (1-5): 5

Review:  If you are a fan of Patrick Lencioni’s previous work (Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Death by Meeting), you’ll appreciate the way Lencioni weaves concepts from multiple books into a focused discussion on what creates healthy organizations.  If you’ve not read any of Lencioni’s previous works, you’ll appreciate the opportunity to gather some of his most important insights from years as a business consultant in one book.

The strength of The Advantage is how Lencioni takes the critical concept of “organizational health,” which has not been covered with this specificity or depth in his previous books, and creates an effective narrative via a combination of familiar concepts with new insights and effective stories from the field.  Lencioni states that organizational health is about “an organization being whole, consistent and complete.”  That it is “healthy” when its management, operations, strategy and culture fit together and make sense.  Unfortunately over his many years consulting with both large and small organizations, Lencioni has observed that achieving organizational health is illusive.  And in his experience, achieving organizational health by integrating these dimensions provides the foundation that establishes a key competitive advantage in the market sector of that organization.

While The Advantage does bring into its narrative several familiar Lencioni concepts, its notable for those who will have read prior books that The Advantage does not feel like a retread of that material.  It doesn’t seem redundant.  The focus is on collating key concepts in a way that provides guidance to a reader to address larger organizational issues than what had been the focus of those individual works previously.  It adds additional meaning and applicability to the concepts of team development, vision and organizational communication, allowing The Advantage to stand on its own with a distinctive message.

One thing that will quickly become clear to those who’ve read other books by Lencioni – The Advantage does not employ the fictional story narrative style.  This book is written in the first person from Lencioni’s perspective.  While the fictional story style was effective in illustrating key concepts and strategies, it doesn’t feel like it would be an effective writing strategy for the diversity of material presented here.


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Filed under Instructor Resources, Organizational Change/Excellence, Uncategorized

How will you measure your life?


Citation for Book: Christensen CM, Allworth J, Dillon K. How Will You Measure Your Life?. HarperBusiness; 2012

Recommended by:  Kyle Turner,

Star Rating (1-5): 5

Review: How will you gauge the outcomes of your personal and professional life? What will success look like? In his book, How Will You Measure Your Life, Harvard business professor Clayton Christensen discusses how to find answers to these important questions. Using a series of real-life vignettes, Christensen applies the issues of the modern business world to personal and professional life as a means to discover answers to three important questions:

• How can I be sure I find satisfaction in my career?
• How can I be sure my relationships become enduring sources of happiness?
• How can I avoid compromising my integrity – and stay out of jail?

This lecture-turned-text covers subjects such as personal motivation and incentives, intentional planning vs. unexpected opportunity, aligning resources, strategy and values, long term relationship investment, creating a consistent culture, troublesome outsourcing, the impact of small decisions, and more!

Readers will find this book to be insightful, motivating and deeply reflective. Regardless of your personal or professional background, the theories and ideas presented will aid in peeling back the layers of your life and help you determine if your own ship is sailing to your desired destination.

This book belongs on every person’s shelf. Teachers and learners will find it invaluable as they investigate and teach self-awareness, ethics and values, goal setting, career planning and more.

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Filed under Character/Values, Inspirational, Instructor Resources, Pharmacy Students-All

5 Voices: How to Communicate Effectively with Everyone You Lead


Citation for Book: Kubicek, J and Cockram, S.  5 Voices:  How to Communicate Effectively with Everyone you Lead.  Hoboken, NJ:  Wiley, 2016.

Recommended by:  Alan Spies,

Star Rating (1-5): 5

Review: Leadership is relational.  This book is a simple, powerful tool for improving the quality of relationships.  There are many books that promise to “change your life” or “maximize your capacity” but this book delivers because of its powerful simplicity. The reader can easily apply these proven principles in home and workplace. Jeremie and Steve (the authors) have masterfully created a resource that should be a mandatory read for every person who wishes to communicate and lead more effectively. I know it has humbly changed the way I view my own communication style. Before I read this book, I minimized and often resented the other four voices. Now, I actually seek voices that differ from mine. That is true transformation! If I could give this book 6 stars, I would do it.

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Filed under Personal Development, Pharmacy Students-All, Uncategorized

Power through partnership: How women lead better together


Citation for Book: Polk, B. & Chotas, M.E. (2014). Power through partnership: How women lead better together. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Recommended by:  Kerry FIerke, Ed.D., University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy

Star Rating (1-5): 3 (liked it)


The book Power through partnership: How women lead better together, Polk and Chotas describe the differences between men and women as partners.  More importantly, there aren’t many women business partner role models to show the way.  The authors describe several benefits of healthy female partnerships — flexibility, confidence, freedom, steady support, mutual accountability and happiness.   There are stories of other women who have navigated the partnership realm.

According to Polk and Chotas “the intense give- and take of partnership is a natural fit for the interpersonal, collaborative leadership skills women so often possess and tend to undervalue rather than appreciating them for the meaningful tools they are” (34).  When looking for partners, there are three qualities 1) complementary skills, talents, and interests; 2) shared values; and 3) compatibility.  These were the most consistent qualities found in the partners interviewed for the research.

The book also covers areas of decision making, risk taking, and leveraging conflict amongst partners.  It explains how women can find their own creativity outside of the partnership (known as the rubber band theory).  The authors share ways that one can take advantage of having a partner “freedom to be yourself, the incredible support, the confidence, the equity and power that can result through it, and the ability to operationalize big goals, knowing there are at least two accountable partners to keep track and do the work.”

Power through partnership shares perspectives on partnerships through real-life examples.  Stories from women who have navigated the partnership realm as artists, musicians, business owners, non profit, and other various examples.  These stories highlight the positive experiences and challenges that can take place with today’s demands on women, including ways to conduct them. The book provides a start of a foundation on how to begin the process of partnerships, an example of women working together.

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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking


Citation for Book:  Cain, S.  Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.  New York, NY:  Random House, Inc,; 2012.

Recommended by:  David Fuentes, Pacific University Oregon

Star Rating (1-5): 5 Stars


Through a thoughtful and insightful examination of the differences between extroverts and introverts, Susan Cain provides readers seeking to embrace their own authenticity in the workplace with a solidly researched four-part book featuring eleven chapters and titled, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking”.

Published in 2012, the book takes the reader on journey beginning with the research behind the extrovert mentality and why this has been adopted by the mainstream in career development as the “ideal”. The second part of the series connects the concepts of introvert and extrovert to biological beginnings and discusses useful strategies whereby introverts can access their own authenticity. Challenging the reader to self-examine and self-explore, the second part reviews the science behind our identities and our unique responses to stimuli. The third part explores the qualities of the extrovert in different cultures and discusses how different cultures express their preferences for, and against, traits commonly seen in both introverts and extroverts.

The final part emphasizes tools on how both introverts and extroverts can hone their skills for maximum effectiveness. Additionally, emphasis is placed on how individuals with different dispositions can best communicate with one another though seemingly speaking a different language. The book ends with a look to the future regarding how we, as educators, parents, and leaders can cultivate the skills of our younger introverts to help them embrace their unique preferences, recognize the differences between introverts and extroverts at early ages, develop necessary skills from both categories and better navigate through their early environment to maximize their mental, social, and physical development.

Anyone seeking to enhance their effectiveness in the workplace and in life would benefit from the simple, yet powerful, messages conveyed by Cain through a review of the relevant science and literature pertaining to introverts and extroverts.

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Filed under Changing Perceptions/Paradigms, Personal Development

The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace – Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People

appreciation at workplace

Citation for Book: Chapman G. White P. Revised and Updated: The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace – Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People. Chicago, IL: Northfield Publishing, Inc.; 2012.

Recommended by:  David Fuentes, Pacific University Oregon

Star Rating (1-5): 5 Stars

Review: This book is for anyone seeking to maximize relationships and results in the workplace with natural extensions into one’s personal life. Chapman and White present a revised and updated work, “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” as 209 pages of reading addressing the five key areas of appreciating our colleagues in the professional realm. The concepts of this book were adapted to fit the workplace and address both the perspectives of hiring managers (or employers) and their employees as they provide a good discussion on the five different appreciation styles. Chapman and White urge us to also pay attention to our blind spots related to our least common (or comfortable) area of both giving and receiving appreciation. Finally, they end with the notion of what must be done in order to inculcate these languages in the workplace, as well as provide an overview of what the costs of not doing so may be. Books may also be accompanied by an Access code to find your own primary appreciation language to help guide your development. Overall, a quick, thoughtful and informative read.

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Filed under Instructor Resources, Personal Development, Skill Building

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t

Leaders Eat Last

Citation for Book: Sinek, Simon. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t.  New York, New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2014

Recommended by: : Jack J. Chen, Marshall B. Ketchum University

Star Rating (1-5): 5

Review: Leaders Eat Last. This sums up leadership behavior. The title of the book is derived from an observation of culture in the US Marines in which the leaders eat last, placing the needs of others above their own, and illustrating that leadership privilege comes at the expense of self-interest. Another corollary example he gives is that leaders provide cover from above; allowing the people on the ground to feel safe. This instills loyalty and drives people to excel in situations.

Writing in an easy to understand manner, Mr. Sineks speaks about leadership from an anthropological voice and utilizes facts and observations to illustrate his points. Much of what is discussed relates to organic attributes (such as empathy, integrity, sense of belonging, teamwork, selfishness, distrust, and trust) and how a leader can be more in tune with these primal elements to foster an environment for a healthier organization. The title of the book resonates with me because I immediately understand it’s anthropological underpinnings. As a parent, I often eat last and provide cover from above to my family and children. As an organizational leader, the challenge will be to live up to this credo.

In this book, the anthropological and primal concept of the Circle of Safety is introduced. Leaders, by reducing the threats people feel inside an organization, allows them to focus more time and energy to protect the organization from external threats and to seize opportunities for the advancing the collective. He gives illustrations on how incentive structures within organizations can penalize employees for behaviors such as cooperation, information sharing, or reaching across the organization to ask for or offer help; behaviors that are necessary for maintaining the Circle of Safety. Mr. Sinek devotes 2 chapters on discussing and illustrating the role of neurotransmitters and molecules (e.g., cortisol, dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin, serotonin) as organic mediators of human behavior, neurocognition, stress, trust, and the Circle of Safety. Mr. Sinek then weaves these organic concepts throughout his book.

Leadership is about taking responsibility for lives and not numbers. Mr. Sinek believes this and provides corollaries to describe the modern state of business cultures in which the sheer scale of systems has made human lives, resources and services into an abstraction of numerical metrics. He provides a clarion call for managers of metrics to become leaders of people. Values alignment is heavily emphasized. If people have values consistent with the organization and they feel trusted and connected, they will excel.

Mr. Sinek speaks about the role of technology throughout the various “generations” (e.g., Gen X and Y), and how it has allowed the unprecedented “upscaling” of world and certain elements such as acquisitions, economies, performances, and processes. As I reflected, I realized that in the world of education, despite technological advances in instructional tools and delivery, our students’ inherent “learning speed” cannot be scaled up by technology (despite what we or our students think) and that time-tested, traditional methods of andragogy/pedagogy still have a fundamental place in the classroom. My students are someone’s children. Their parents worked hard to give their children an opportunity for a good life and education. As an academician, I have responsibility for that education.

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Filed under Changing Perceptions/Paradigms, Defining Leadership: Theories & Models, Instructor Resources