Described by the author as an ‘essay’ this slim, self-published book will give you food for thought after its 45 minute read. Ladimeji seeks to provide a career guidance tool in the form of a concise summary of the ways in which the traditional employment model is being eroded by the introduction of robotic ‘workers’. This inevitable transition wherein artificial intelligence devices will take over tasks as diverse as driving vehicles, brick-laying and serving fast food is something that we should become aware, familiar with and accepting of.
From the outset, Kate Davies makes it clear that this book is for people “who want to know how they can create environments that encourage people to participate to the full extent of their abilities.” It is primarily for people new to line management.
Early on, she summarises the basis of her views on engagement: it is about capability, control and purpose. In this context, capability focusses particularly on having skills that can be enhanced through a desire for learning; control is about have the choice about how much to give oneself to one’s work; and purpose – having focus, making a difference and being able genuinely to enjoy what one is doing. The author uses a number of sources to describe what she means by engagement and does this simply and descriptively. More of the examples used to illustrate engagement in action would have benefitted from being in the organisational / business world – many of the stories used are from the sports and personal-endeavour environment.
Ed Schein, an academic with a 50-year distinguished record in organisational psychology, has written a hugely-reflective book that brings to bear the rich experience arising from his pioneering career. He describes the purpose of the book as being to support the development of positive relationships and he defines ‘humble inquiry’ as “the fine art of drawing someone out, asking questions to which you do not already know the answer, of building a relationship based on curiosity and interest to the other person”.
In his preface, Richard Barrett describes his purpose as being to launch a book “for leaders, change agents and consultants on how to build a values-driven organization.” No mean ambition.
I picked up this book with considerable interest: I am accredited to use the culture-transformation tools that the author has developed (www.valuescentre.com) and have become fascinated by the role that values, personal authenticity and leader role-modelling play in developing corporate culture and employee engagement.
Understanding the thinking and concepts of this book comes from a reading of the preface, which provides the reader with a summary of the author’s experience and influences. Cholle has certainly had a varied past and having this appreciation really helps to engage with his writing. His underlying thinking is well summarised in a quote from later in the book (p159): “Logic is powerful but rarely deep, because it is dualistic in nature …. we necessarily need to go past logic.”