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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

 

Versatility by Francie Dalton - Book review


Versatility

How to Optimize Interactions When 7 Workplace Behaviors Are at Their Worst


By: Francie Dalton

Published: August 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover, 160 pages
ISBN-10: 0880343001
ISBN-13: 978-0880343008
Publisher: ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership





"With broad implications for organizational America and for the nonprofit sector specifically, coping successfully with these changes will elevate the function of management to a veritable art form. Paramount among the managerial competencies required is versatility", writes speaker, management consultant, and CEO of Dalton Alliances, Inc., Francie Dalton in her perceptive and practical book Versatility: How to Optimize Interactions When 7 Workplace Behaviors Are at Their Worst. The author describes how to achieve versatility and become a successful manager of people through recognizing and working with difficult personalities for positive results.

Francie Dalton employs a mixture of humor and insightful observations as she shares the seven most challenging workplace personalities. Each type of problem person is different, and provides their own special difficulties for peers, subordinates, and their superiors. The seven challenging behavior types are:

* Commanders: Relentless, driven, unstoppable implementers
* Drifters: Fickle, flighty, creative geniuses,
* Attackers: Caustic, hostile, conquerors
* Pleasers: Sensitive, friendly, humanizers
* Performers: Cunning, manipulative, charismatic ambassadors
* Avoiders: Diffident, enigmatic, spectators
* Analyticals: Micromanaging, procrastinating, masters of process



Francie Dalton (photo left) recognizes that a manager, who reads this book, won't be able to change the personalities of the people in the organization. What the author does is provide the skills to recognize the challenging character types, and shares the tools to work with those difficult people effectively. With a more clear understanding of the motivations of the other people within the organization, a manager can reach better decisions collectively, in a much shorter length of time. The ability to assess and interact in an optimum form with different types of people is a critical skill for a manager in the modern organization. Francie Dalton lists ten guiding principles to help managers become more effective at optimizing talent that affects every part of the business or nonprofit organization. The ability to optimize interactions is a core management value that is essential for the practice of versatility.

For me, the power of the book is how Francie Dalton presents the seven challenging behavior types in a non-degrading format, through humor and example. The ability of the person behind the personality barrier, when approached and optimized correctly, is of tremendous value to the organization. The author shares ten guiding strategies that build on the ability to assess the seven personalities, and transform those individuals into strong contributors to the business. The author's combination of gentle humor, theory, and practical skills arms the manager with the background and tools necessary for gaining the attribute of versatility. As an added bonus, Francie Dalton provides access to to a versatility self assessment test that will benefit all managers in their striving for the achievement of versatility. Combining the results of the test with the skills taught in the book is a very valuable and important opportunity for any manager.

I highly recommend the insightful and informative book Versatility: How to Optimize Interactions When 7 Workplace Behaviors Are at Their Worst by Francie Dalton, to any manager seeking to improve their ability to optimize interactions with people who are perceived to be problem personalities. The assessment and management techniques described in this fine book will help a manager to utilize the talents of all employees, peers, and superiors for the overall benefit of the organization.

Read the useful and essential book Versatility: How to Optimize Interactions When 7 Workplace Behaviors Are at Their Worst by Francie Dalton, and discover how to work successfully with individuals with even the most challenging personality types. This critical knowledge will assist the manager in helping all members of the organization to contribute to their fullest extent. This book teaches versatility for the manager in all areas of managing and motivating people of all types. That ability will provide you and your company with a powerful competitive edge.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

 

Michelle T. Johnson: The Diversity Code - Blog Business Success Radio

Listen to Wayne Hurlbert on Blog Talk Radio



Columnist and workplace diversity coach, and author of the thought provoking and complacency disrupting book The Diversity Code: Unlock the Secrets to Making Differences Work in the Real World, Michelle T. Johnson describes how workplace diversity goes far beyond rules and regulations. She points out that companies may be great at compliance and following the rules but be terrible at creating authentic diversity. Michelle Johnson addresses the difficult questions surrounding diversity and cross-cultural employee issues. She shares how to recognize differences in others, how to manage those differences, and in reconciling and valuing those differences. Learn the value of true diversity to any organization and how to understand and share in diversity for the benefit of all.

Michelle T. Johnson is my internet radio show guest on Blog Business Success; hosted live on BlogTalkRadio.

The show airs live on Tuesday, November 30, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time; 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

Columnist and workplace diversity coach, and author of the thought provoking and complacency disrupting book The Diversity Code: Unlock the Secrets to Making Differences Work in the Real World, Michelle T. Johnson describes how workplace diversity goes far beyond rules and regulations. You will learn:

* What workplace diversity really means

* How some common ideas about diversity are no longer valid

* How to introduce diversity effectively beyond a rules and legal approach

* The benefits of a diverse workplace in the globalized economy



Michelle T. Johnson (photo left) is a native of Kansas City, Kansas, and has been working while black since the age of 14. One of her earliest jobs was at a library, where her interest in books flourished into a love of the written word. Michelle attended school in Kansas City, Missouri, and continued to feed her hunger for all things literary by working in libraries while in high school and in college at the University of Kansas.

While at KU, Michelle was bitten by the reporting bug and majored in newspaper journalism. She had summer internships at newspapers in Rochester, New York and Louisville, Kentucky. One of the highlights of her college experience was working as a columnist for the campus newspaper, which gave her the opportunity to interview Gordon Parks, a personal hero whose autobiography “Choice of Weapons” inspired her on her path.

Once she received her journalism degree in 1986, Michelle worked at the Philadelphia Daily News for a short stint before working the duration of her journalism career at the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Austin American-Statesman. Michelle was able to combine her concern for community and civic issues and her love of writing by covering the neighborhoods, and transportation beats at the Louisville Courier- Journal, and the drug and alcohol and county government beats at the Austin American-Statesman.

Upon deciding that the role of mere observer was not her strong suit, Michelle decided to pursue a career in law. Michelle attended the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, where in 1994 she was named, by the Missouri Supreme Court, as the Top Moot Court Oralist of her law school. She received her juris doctorate in 1995. With a strong interest in employment law springing from both her personal experiences and those observed, she focused on the concentration of employment litigation.

Moving back to Kansas City, Missouri to be near her family, Michelle has worked the bulk of her years as an attorney in litigation law firms representing companies whose employees have brought complaints against them. To give herself a well-rounded experience in the field of employment law, Michelle opened her own law firm, and briefly worked as a solo practitioner, primarily representing employees who had complaints against their employers. During this time Michelle also worked as an administrative hearing officer for the city of Kansas City, Missouri, conducting hearings for citizens who have brought complaints regarding violation of the city human rights laws.

Currently, Michelle uses her skills and experience working as a mediator and human resources consultant in Kansas City where she lives with her dogs Hilbert and Henry. In her free time, Michelle knits, walks, reads, is a member of Center for Spiritual Living and writes fiction and non-fiction.

My book review of The Diversity Code: Unlock the Secrets to Making Differences Work in the Real World by Michelle T. Johnson.

Listen live on Tuesday at 8:00 pm Eastern, 5:00 pm Pacific time.

BlogTalkRadio.com

If you miss this very informative show, it will be available for free download as a podcast for iPod, iTunes, and MP3 players; or play it right on your computer. To download this, or any other of my guest interviews, go to the Blog Business Success host page and click on Archived Segments. Once there, click on the podcast icon at the end of the episode description, to download the show free of charge for your listening enjoyment. You can also subscribe to the show feed.

Add to iTunes

To call in questions for my guest, the number is: (347) 996-5832

Let's talk with columnist and workplace diversity coach, and author of the thought provoking and complacency disrupting book The Diversity Code: Unlock the Secrets to Making Differences Work in the Real World, Michelle T. Johnson, as she describes how workplace diversity goes far beyond rules and regulations. She points out that companies may be great at compliance and following the rules but be terrible at creating authentic diversity. Michelle Johnson addresses the difficult questions surrounding diversity and cross-cultural employee issues. She shares how to recognize differences in others, how to manage those differences, and in reconciling and valuing those differences. Learn the value of true diversity to any organization and how to understand and share in diversity for the benefit of all on Blog Business Success Radio.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

 

Black Faces in White Places by Randal Pinkett & Jeffrey Robinson with Philana Patterson - Book review



Black Faces in White Places

10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness


By: Randal Pinkett, Ph.D., Jeffrey Robinson, Ph.D., Philana Patterson

Published: October 28 2010
Format: Hardcover, 288 pages
ISBN: 9780814416808
Publisher: AMACOM









"We are officially retiring the glass ceiling and suggesting as a replacement a new metaphor that we call 'the ever-changing game'", write co-founder, chairman and CEO of BCT Partners, Randal Pinkett, Ph.D.; leading business scholar at Rutgers Business School, Jeffrey Robinson, Ph.D.; and business news editor for the Associated Press, Philana Patterson, in their eye opening and landmark book Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness. The authors describe the often uncomfortable reality and challenges faced by African American men and women as they enter the exclusive boardrooms, and the highest levels of academia and politics in America, and how they must redefine the rules of the game along the way.



Randal Pinkett, Ph.D. (photo left), Jeffrey Robinson, Ph.D., and Philana Patterson recognize the challenge for African Americans is to change the game from one where the rules don't work for everyone. For Randal Pinkett, that game changing moment arrived on the reality television series The Apprentice, where he was asked by Donald Trump to accept being a co-winner. Until that point, the show had featured only one winner per competition. Donald Trump was attempting a rule change in the middle of the game. Randal Pinkett refused the ruling, and created his own game changing moment. That type of game changing event is faced by African Americans every day, and the authors present a groundbreaking set of techniques for leveling the playing field. The authors don't seek an entirely color blind America. Instead, they envision a diverse and multi-cultural country where differences and alternative voices and are embraced as part of the fabric of a dynamic society.



Jeffrey Robinson, Ph.D. (photo left), Philana Patterson, and Randal Pinkett, Ph.D. move beyond the outdated glass ceiling metaphor, and describe the situation facing African Americans and other diverse groups, as one of an ever changing game. The good news, according to the authors, is that the game can be modified to suit the participants, as the rules are not fixed in position. The authors point out that the modern African American experience consists of identity, society, meritocracy, and opportunity. The authors modify these rules to change their focus from equal treatment to equal respect as people of diverse culture, heritage, and individuality. To strengthen their case, the authors present ten important strategies to to empower and inspire African Americans.



For me, the power of the book is how Philana Patterson (photo left), Randal Pinkett, Ph.D., and Jeffrey Robinson, Ph.D. share concepts that are grnuine game changers that enhance opportunity while celebrating the diversity offered to all organizations by Black voices. With the world becoming a global marketplace, the recognition of multicultural, multi-ethnic, and multinational diversity represents not only a competitive advantage, but an understanding of the reality of globalization now and in the future. This not just another book on success, but one that takes very seriously the still unresolved challenges facing minorities in a majority white culture.

Instead of the usual platitudes about working harder and attempting to fit in, the authors provide actionable real world strategies that make a difference. By making the bold analogy of organizational behavior as a game, the authors remove the psychological barriers for initiating change. By describing the current rules of the game as being in constant flux, the authors empower African Americans to make changes to those rules that recognize diversity and accord respect to all individuals.

I highly recommend the indispensable and must read book Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness by Randal Pinkett, Ph.D. and Jeffrey Robinson, Ph.D. with Philana Patterson, to anyone seeking a book that offers an empowering alternative to the usual success manuals. The authors provide a powerful and workable set of recommendations for African Americans to achieve more than mere success, but also respect and recognition of their individuality. In a world where diversity is now the rule, and not the exception, this book provides a valuable guide for changing the old rules to create new ones that better suit the current and future reality.

Read the important and groundbreaking book Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness by Randal Pinkett, Ph.D. and Jeffrey Robinson, Ph.D. with Philana Patterson, and discover how to embrace diversity, while changing the game to provide greater opportunity, respect, and empowerment to everyone in the organization. This book provides the tools necessary for African Americans and members of other minorities, to achieve success and respect on their own terms. This brilliant and timely book provides the blueprint for building more diverse organizations, and a better society for all people.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

 

Brand Rewired by Anne H. Chasser & Jennifer C. Wolfe - Book review



Brand Rewired

Connecting Branding, Creativity, and Intellectual Property Strategy


By: Anne H. Chasser, Jennifer C. Wolfe

Published: July 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 224 pages
ISBN-10: 0470575425
ISBN-13: 978-0470575420
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons












"The key to economic success in developing and maintaining brands is to design intellectual property strategy into the creative and innovation process", write intellectual property thought leader Anne H. Chasser and intellectual property attorney Jennifer C. Wolfe, in their insightful and groundbreaking book Brand Rewired: Connecting Branding, Creativity, and Intellectual Property Strategy. The authors describe the importance of a holistic approach to innovation that includes intellectual property considerations from the very beginning of the conceptual and design process.



Anne H. Chasser (photo left) and Jennifer C. Wolfe recognize the importance of brands to a company. Whether the organization is protecting or reinventing a century old brand, or developing an innovative new branded product, a strong brand image represents a clear competitive advantage. The authors demonstrate the critical importance of the brand, and the innovation it contains, represents valuable intellectual property. The authors take the position that brand development, due to its intellectual property component, must be rewired to reflect the realities of the modern marketplace and customer empowerment. The authors point out that there is no inherent conflict between strategic design thinking and intellectual property considerations. In fact, the authors make a powerful case that the inclusion of intellectual property concepts enhances the creative process through lower costs in innovation and legal protection, increased revenue, and a longer lasting and sustainable brand presence.



Jennifer C. Wolfe (photo left) and Anne H. Chasser understand that a decline in brand value can represent a financial disaster for a company. The recognition on the part of the most innovative organizations, that brands are a critical store of value, has led to a fusion of several key components in the creative process. The traditional separation of creative thinking from that of marketing, branding, and intellectual property has all but disappeared in the corporate innovation leaders. In its place is the rewired branding principle described by the authors. Through collaboration of teams drawn from widely disparate departments, and through input from customers, the innovation process has been transformed into holistic endeavor. Through the introduction of intellectual property consideration at the inception of the creative process, the value of the brand is strengthened and additional value is very often discovered for extraction.

For me, the power of the book is how Anne H. Chasser and Jennifer C. Wolfe describe how incorporating an intellectual property strategy into the innovation process strengthens the brand, increases revenue, and lowers present and future costs. The authors combine a strong theoretical framework for rewiring the brand development process with practical advice on how to utilize this innovation into any organization. The authors bring their own legal expertise in the field of intellectual property to the book, adding perspective from the judicial and legalistic viewpoint. Those legal concerns, when brought into the creative process from the very beginning, are demonstrated as crucial to gaining the full value from any new or existing brand.

The book contains valuable case studies from several successful corporations that have integrated the rewiring concept into their innovation. These real world examples add depth to the principles shared in the book, while illustrating the concept brand rewiring in action. With the application of an intellectual property strategy, a company not only develops a growing brand inventory, but also an ever increasing intellectual property portfolio. The competitive advantage resulting from this proactive approach to product development is reflected in greater profit potential and increased market share.

I highly recommend the important and must read book Brand Rewired: Connecting Branding, Creativity, and Intellectual Property Strategy by Jennifer C. Wolfe and Anne H. Chasser,to anyone seeking an improved and integrated approach to product and brand development. The information contained in this useful book will transform the way that any company approaches innovation and the creative process.

Read the essential and enterprise building book Brand Rewired: Connecting Branding, Creativity, and Intellectual Property Strategy by Anne H. Chasser and Jennifer C. Wolfe, and put the power of collaborative innovation through brand rewiring to work for your organization. The addition of intellectual property considerations to the development process will leave your competition far behind.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

 

Perform Like a Rock Star and Still Have Time For Lunch by Orna W. Drawas - Book review



Perform Like A Rock Star ...and Still Have Time for Lunch

By: Orna W. Drawas

Pubiished: April 1, 2010
Format: Paperback, 216 pages
ISBN-10: 0984265104
ISBN-13: 978-0984265107
Publisher: ROI Marketing









"When you perform like a rock star, something special happens. People notice you. People come to admire you. And people want to be associated with you", writes international speaker and goal achievement workshop instructor Orna W. Drawas, in her inspirational and peak performance building book Perform Like A Rock Star ...and Still Have Time for Lunch. The author describes how to maintain the focus necessary for achieving peak performance and provides the essential actions for maintaining the resulting positive momentum.

Orna W. Drawas equates being a peak performer with being a rock star. The comparison is an apt one as peak performers attract people, accomplish seemingly impossible feats, and become famous within their own context. Unfortunately, as the author points out, most people are far from achieving anything close to rock star status. People simply aren't performing at the peak level that elite rock stars demonstrate on a regular basis. The good news, according to Orna W. Drawas, is that anyone can become a rock star with a little practice and the right instruments. For the author, the opening act for any budding rock star is to take stock of their own current activities and obligations. Chances are that little things, ranging from e-mail to those routine daily interruptions, are keeping a person from becoming the peak performance rock star that is within them.



Orna W. Drawas (photo left) uses a combination of stories and delightful drawings to remove the curtain that so often surrounds success. While the concept of success is often discussed, but seldom explained adequately, the author provides the reader with an easy to understand description from which to work. When a person understands and recognizes what is really wanted in life, Orna Drawas points out that achieving those goals is much less difficult than is usually thought. The author provides the good advice of focusing on what is important, what helps to reach the desired goals, and then stopping doing what distracts from that target. Orna Drawas emphasizes priorities, and avoiding the time wasters, that get in the way of those priorities. With these side tracking time users removed from the to do lists, and the time that they consume focused instead on the ultimate goal, precious hours are made available for productive use. Through delegation, the containment of email, and better handling of meetings, the author guides a person away from the worst time wasters in most people's days.

For me, the power of the book is how Orna W. Drawas demonstrates, in clear and understandable language, how to focus on what is really important to success, and how to better use time during the day. Not only does the author share the theoretical concepts of superior goal setting, time management, and greater focus, but also shares a proven program for peak performance. The practical and easy to apply time management techniques will work for anyone, including those people who insist they have no time available in their schedule. Orna W. Drawas points out that much of what is thought to be important is really distraction. The book contains some very good advice for taming email to a manageable level, and also for using meeting time more effectively. As the reader goes through the concepts presented in the book, the recognition of time wasters and lack of focus becomes clear. With that realization in place, the reader is then ready to achieve rock star levels of peak performance.

I highly recommend the time saving and enjoyable book Perform Like A Rock Star ...and Still Have Time for Lunch by Orna W. Drawas, to anyone seeking a readable and useful book on superior time management and for achieving peak performance. The author shares the essential tools, in a usable and easy to put into practice format, for becoming a rock star.

Read the Perform Like A Rock Star ...and Still Have Time for Lunch by Orna W. Drawas, and discover how to discover your real goals, and how to achieve them. This book provides the tools necessary for achieving success, and you will still have time for lunch.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

 

World Class Diversity Management by R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr. - Book review



World Class Diversity Management

A Strategic Approach


By: R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr.

Published: August 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1605094501
ISBN-13: 978-1605094502
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers











"Practicing World-Class Diversity Management means operating a level that is the best in the world with respect to diversity management", writes renowned human resources expert, and CEO of Roosevelt Thomas Consulting & Training, Inc., R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr. in his landmark and thought provoking book World Class Diversity Management: A Strategic Approach. The author describes how to achieve a globally recognized high standard of diversity management through application of his Four Quadrant model and his trademarked Strategic Diversity Management Process.

Roosevelt Thomas understands that any diversity management program, to be recognized anywhere in the world, must have develop an established standard of excellence and best practices. In order to create a common set of practices and standards, the author provides his Four Quadrant model of diversity management, as a starting point. The four quadrants include the core diversity values:

* Managing workforce demographic representation
* Managing demographic relationships
* Managing diverse talent
* Managing strategic mixtures



R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr. (photo left) expands on the concepts presented in the Four Quadrants by providing in depth reasons why each quadrant is important. Not only does each quadrant present goals, motivations, and challenges but also expresses an unspoken and unnoticed way of thinking behind the stated purpose of each quadrant. The author delves deeply into the underlying assumptions that are associated with diversity management that goes beyond the usual superficial analysis. For the creation of a global standard for diversity management, the author recognizes that the systemic approach must go farther than race, gender, or culture. The method must also be useful to the organization and the workforce, and not become loaded down with value statements that fail to address the complexity of the issues. As a result, Roosevelt Thomas examines both the overall benefits of a diversity management program, and the obstacles in the path of its implementation by the organization.

For me, the power of the book is how R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr. presents a powerful and workable framework for establishing a global diversity standard, but also provides the practical steps necessary for achieving that goal. While the goal of creating a workable and readily applicable diversity standard is a daunting task, the author demonstrates that such is system is not only possible but is usable in a wide variety of local, national, and international organizations. Roosevelt Thomas shares his program in detail, complete with a full understanding of its benefits, challenges, and possible obstacles to implementation.

The author takes a global and strategic perspective to the issues involved in diversity resulting in an objective and useful model that promotes discussion, acceptance, and analysis that works around the world. To illustrate the ideas presented in the book, the author shares the story of the fictitious CEO Jeff Kilt, who faces the diversity issues confronting business leaders, on a regular basis in a rapidly evolving global workforce. The actions taken by Jeff Kilt reflect how real world challenges are met through the principles described in this excellent book.

I highly recommend the seminal book World Class Diversity Management: A Strategic Approach by R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr., to any organizational leaders in the public, private, or not for profit sectors seeking a richer understanding of the concept of diversity and how to embrace the opportunities presented by a diverse workforce. The principles offered in this fine book are workable, and present a framework for developing and enriching the diversity and cross-cultural aspects of a globalized workplace. The concepts shared by the author are equally effective in a local, national, or multinational setting.

Read the business transformational book World Class Diversity Management: A Strategic Approach by R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr., and embrace the potential and opportunity presented by a diverse workforce. The future is multinational and cross cultural, and this book provides a guide to achieving success in that globalized present and future.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

 

Peter Block & John McKnight: The Abundant Community - Blog Business Success Radio

Listen to Wayne Hurlbert on Blog Talk Radio



Leading training and development expert and Partner in Designed Learning, Peter Block, and Emeritus Professor of education and social policy and coordinator of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University, John McKnight, co-authors of the visionary and thought provoking book The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods, describe the invisible but immeasurable impact consumerism has had on families and communities. Purchases of essential products and services are made from outside the community. Services and necessities of life are outsourced. Because people look outside of their own community for products and services, they think of themselves as consumers and not as citizens and neighbors. The authors offer an alternative concept for creating a satisfying life. They share the possibilities that result from forming a community that nurtures both families and useful citizens. The authors offer practical ideas for developing voluntary and self-organizing structures within a community. The ideas can help rebuild families, neighborhoods, entire communities and strengthen their local economies.The authors offer hope for building peoples' lives on their own terms for their mutual benefit.

Peter Block and John McKnight are my internet radio show guests on Blog Business Success; hosted live on BlogTalkRadio.

The show airs live on Tuesday, November 23, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time; 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

Leading training and development expert and Partner in Designed Learning, Peter Block, and Emeritus Professor of education and social policy and coordinator of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University, John McKnight, co-authors of the visionary and thought provoking book The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods, describe the invisible but immeasurable impact consumerism has had on families and communities. You will learn:

* Why consumerism has created unhappy and dissatisfied communities

* Why communities possess the people and resources to revitalize themselves

* How to develop the spirit of giving and sharing and of building citizenship

* How communities can rebuild themselves, their people, and their neighborhoods



Peter Block (on left in photo left) is an author, consultant and citizen of Cincinnati, Ohio.

His work is about empowerment, stewardship, chosen accountability, and the reconciliation of community.

Peter is a partner in Designed Learning, a training company that offers workshops designed by Block to build the skills outlined in his books. He is the author of Flawless Consulting, Stewardship, The Answer to How Is Yes, and Community. He is the recipient of numerous awards, most recently the Organization Development Network's 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2008 Community: The Structure of Belonging was published, and his latest book, The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods, co-authored with John McKnight, came out in May 2010.

He has also authored Flawless Consulting Fieldbook & Companion: A Guide to Understanding Your Expertise (2000). The Answer to How Is Yes: Acting on What Matters (2002) won that year's Independent Book Publisher Book Award for Business Breakthrough Book of the Year. Freedom and Accountability at Work: Applying Philosophic Insight to the Real World was co-authored with consultant and philosopher Peter Koestenbaum (2001).



John McKnight (on right in photo left) is emeritus professor of education and social policy and co-director of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University.

He is the co-author of Building Communities from the Inside Out and the author of The Careless Society. He has been a community organizer and serves on the boards of several national organizations that support neighborhood development.

My book review of The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods by John McKnight and Peter Block.

My book review of Community: The Structure of Belonging by Peter Block.

Listen live on Tuesday at 8:00 pm Eastern, 5:00 pm Pacific time.

BlogTalkRadio.com

If you miss this very informative show, it will be available for free download as a podcast for iPod, iTunes, and MP3 players; or play it right on your computer. To download this, or any other of my guest interviews, go to the Blog Business Success host page and click on Archived Segments. Once there, click on the podcast icon at the end of the episode description, to download the show free of charge for your listening enjoyment. You can also subscribe to the show feed.

Add to iTunes

To call in questions for my guest, the number is: (347) 996-5832

Let's talk with leading training and development expert and Partner in Designed Learning, Peter Block, and Emeritus Professor of education and social policy and coordinator of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University, John McKnight, co-authors of the visionary and thought provoking book The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods, describe the invisible but immeasurable impact consumerism has had on families and communities. Purchases of essential products and services are made from outside the community. Services and necessities of life are outsourced. Because people look outside of their own community for products and services, they think of themselves as consumers and not as citizens and neighbors. The authors offer an alternative concept for creating a satisfying life. They share the possibilities that result from forming a community that nurtures both families and useful citizens. The authors offer practical ideas for developing voluntary and self-organizing structures within a community. The ideas can help rebuild families, neighborhoods, entire communities and strengthen their local economies.The authors offer hope for building peoples' lives on their own terms for their mutual benefit on Blog Business Success Radio.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

 

The Abundant Community by John McKnight & Peter Block - Book review



The Abundant Community

Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods


By: John McKnight, Peter Block

Published: June 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 200 pages
ISBN-10: 1605095842
ISBN-13: 978-1605095844
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers





"There is a growing movement of people with a different vision for their local communities", write community organizers John McKnight and Peter Block, in their visionary and thought provoking book The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods. The authors describe how mainstream concepts about consumerism have done real harm to the fabric of communities, resulting in a deep dissatisfaction with life, and offer an alternative based on viewing the community as a place of abundance and of renewed connections and relationships.

John McKnight and Peter Block present a sensitive and personal approach to community organization and redevelopment. The authors demonstrate how individuals, families, and neighborhoods have become isolated and alienated through the atomization of consumerist behavior. Instead of providing happiness and a satisfying and fulfilling life, the transition from citizen to consumer has caused a deep disconnection from other people and the entire community. For the authors, the essential tools and means of changing the misguided principle of people as consumers to one citizens, neighbors, and community. Everyone within the community, regardless of their status or marginal position, has something to offer to the overall benefit of all. The authors teach how to nurture and draw out this innate capacity for giving and sharing that transforms the entire community from one of scarcity to one that realizes its fullest abundance.



Peter Block (on left in photo left) and John McKnight (on right in photo left) believe in the power of human ability to self-organize, and work together as citizens, for the benefit of the entire community. The authors point out that consumerism, and a dependence on outsourcing much of individual, family, and community responsibilities has created an outer directed worldview. The authors consider this loss of community cohesiveness to have unraveled the very fabric that unites people as families and neighbors. At the root of this destruction of the fiber of the community, according to the authors, is a loss of the sense of citizenship and its replacement by one of consumerism. With its promise of the good life and happiness through ever more purchases, the consumer ethos has torn apart the social fabric of communities, while also removing the personal responsibility of good citizenship. The authors propose a return to the roots of good citizenship through creating the giving and sharing community. Consumerism assumes scarcity, according to the authors, while the concept of citizenship supports the concept of the very abundance of all types, already found in the community.

For me, the power of the book is how Peter Block and John McKnight challenge the consumer ethos as one that is not only empty in its promises, but destructive of the very fabric of entire communities. The authors present a persuasive case for reweaving the tattered social fabric of our communities. They offer a powerful and human based alternative to the emptiness of the declining consumer culture. Instead of the divisions created by the search for external solutions, John McKnight and Peter Block show people how to turn that paradigm upside down. They guide communities toward a position of giving, sharing, and recognizing the value of every member of the community.

This elevation of self worth, and the dignity of everyone in the neighborhood, reignites the importance of citizenship. The authors not only present a compelling case for rebuilding community, with the emphasis on abundance and citizenship, but they share very practical techniques for achieving an abundant community. The theory is supported by useful tools for the successful reestablishing families, neighborhoods, and communities in a positive, collaborative, and sustainable manner.

I highly recommend the brilliant and insightful book The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods by Peter Block and John McKnight, to anyone seeking a blueprint for revitalizing communities, rebuilding communities, and reasserting the right of citizenship to all people. The authors present the essential road map for remaking the social fabric that rampant consumerism, and the seeking of external answers and solutions, has left in tatters. The authors point out that despite its wear and tear, the tapestry of our communities can be rewoven to reflect the internal abundance and the opportunity for people to rebuild lives, neighborhoods, and their own personal self worth.

Read the empowering and hope filled book The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods by John McKnight and Peter Block, and discover how the tools for rebuilding your community already exist with you, your neighbors, and the community itself. There is abundance of value, of goodwill, of giving and sharing within all communities. Scarcity is an illusion that must be overcome, and abundance embraced as not only possible but as the solution. Combined with citizens, empowered beyond consumerism, the greater community can reweave its social fabric, and become a truly abundant community.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

 

PBS NEWSHOUR Paul Solman: Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera



As part of his ongoing coverage “Making Sen$e” of financial news, Paul Solman sat down with Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, co-authors of All the Devils are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis.

Bethany McLean, famous for breaking the Enron story, is a contributing editor of Vanity Fair magazine, and Joe Nocera is a columnist for The New York Times.

The two share several basic opinions about the financial collapse: that rating agencies were the No. 1 culprit; that Republicans and Democrats hold equal political blame; and that subprime lending was never really about home ownership – it was about predatory lending.







JEFFREY BROWN: Next: a "who done it?" look at the financial crisis. NewsHour economics correspondent Paul Solman has our conversation.

It's part of his reporting Making Sense of financial news.

PAUL SOLMAN: At the Museum of American Finance on Wall Street: the co-authors of "All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis."

Bethany McLean, famous for breaking the Enron story, is a contributing editor at "Vanity Fair" magazine, Joe Nocera, a columnist for The New York Times.

Bethany McLean, Joe Nocera, welcome.

JOE NOCERA, co-author, All the Devils are Here: Thank you.

BETHANY MCLEAN, co-author, All the Devils are Here: Thank you.

PAUL SOLMAN: You frame this book as a look back at the whole financial crisis, so I thought I would frame this interview as a: Who is the biggest culprit?

JOE NOCERA: I certainly would put the rating agencies right at the top of my list of bad guys, or my list of devils.

A place like Moody's took a culture that had a reputation for some integrity, and completely corrupted it in a drive for market share and profits.



Bethany Mclean and Joe Nocera (both in photo left)

PAUL SOLMAN: So, biggest culprit, ratings agencies; you agree?

BETHANY MCLEAN: I do agree. If they hadn't taken subprime mortgages and rated enormous quantities of them AAA, meaning they gave those bonds the same credit rating as the U.S. government debt has, this -- this whole thing couldn't have happened, because debt that is rated AAA is precisely the debt that is snapped up by the largest quantity of buyers all around the world, buyers who are not capable of doing the detailed work to analyze these bonds by themselves.

And yet there is still this myth that these buyers are supposed to be sophisticated buyers, and they're supposed to understand what they're getting into. And the cornerstone of this myth, the thing that makes it all work, is the rating agencies, because the investment banks say, well, we sold AAA securities.

PAUL SOLMAN: But don't you cut ratings agencies any slack? I mean, the incentives are all there for the ratings agencies to do what they did, no?

JOE NOCERA: I don't cut them any slack at all. They are supposed to be protecting investors. That's what their job is. They're not supposed to be in cahoots with the Wall Street firms that are ginning up these securities.

And yet that's what they did. They used to rate normal, old- fashioned corporate bonds. And then -- then this new form of finance arose called structured finance. And that's all these, you know, mortgage-backed securities bundled into CDOs, so on and so forth, all this complicated stuff.

It became a growth area, a profit area that far outstripped the old fuddy-duddy business of rating government bonds. So, the rating agencies raced, jumped on it. And it just flew. And then the top executives really started to drive the place around the profitability of structured finance. And that's really what happened, more than any other single thing.

PAUL SOLMAN: But isn't that what happened at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

BETHANY MCLEAN: A slightly more complicated story with Fannie and Freddie, because they were set up to serve this noble purpose, to enable home ownership. And we can have a debate about how noble a purpose that -- that actually was.

But there were these odd entities that were half-private and half-public, meaning they had this mission to serve the public good by boosting home ownership, but they also were privately-held companies that were traded on the stock exchange, with a responsibility to produce profits for the bottom line, and, even more importantly, executive bonuses that were tied to those bottom-line profits.

JOE NOCERA: The dirty little secret of Fannie and Freddie is that they jumped into subprime, not for political reasons, but because they were being left behind by the private market, and they were losing market share because, subprime was becoming so big, it was kind of starting to take over the securitization market. Fannie and Freddie needed to be in the securitization market, so they dove in with both feet.



Paul Solman (photo left)

PAUL SOLMAN: OK, Republicans or Democrats, who is more responsible?

(LAUGHTER)

BETHANY MCLEAN: Both.

JOE NOCERA: Both. Republicans want to blame Fannie and Freddie and the government, because they have a hard time accepting the notion that the market failed. Democrats want to blame it on the marketplace, on Wall Street and subprime companies, because they have a hard time accepting that the government didn't do its job. The fact is, neither party did their job.

BETHANY MCLEAN: And, after the crisis, it has become very popular for Republicans to say, well, the Democrats caused this with their focus on homeownership, on putting people in homes who couldn't afford those homes.

But one of the really interesting things, if you go back to the 1990s to the birth of subprime lending, it was never about homeownership.

PAUL SOLMAN: What do you mean it wasn't about homeownership?

BETHANY MCLEAN: It was never about homeownership, because subprime lending grew out of cash-out refinancings, meaning the ability of somebody to go to a bank, refinance their mortgage, and take cash out of their house in order to live on that cash.

And that enabled consumer spending through the 1990s and through the early part of -- of this decade. Most of the business of the major subprime lenders, from Countrywide, to Ameriquest, to New Century, was cash-out refinancing. It wasn't the first-time purchase of homes by homebuyers. And this was celebrated by Republicans, as well as Democrats.

JOE NOCERA: Homeownership was a giant fig leaf, particularly for the rise of subprime.

I was stunned, in the reporting of this book, how much subprime was about predatory lending. And it was way more than I thought. And then, when you find that a company like New Century, which really, you know, 85 percent of its business is refinancing, 15 percent of its business is homeownership, that's astounding.

PAUL SOLMAN: What does predatory lending mean in this situation?

JOE NOCERA: Taking advantage of unsophisticated people to put them into loans that -- knowing, absolutely knowing, that they can never pay them back, often lying about what the interest rate hike is going to be, prodding them to lie themselves about their income, about their true financial condition.

BETHANY MCLEAN: I -- I started this book with a bias toward personal responsibility, and, if consumers got in over their head on their mortgage, that was their fault.

And one of the big discoveries to me in the course of reporting the book is the extent to which these loans were sold; they weren't bought. And one of the most telling moments were these internal documents from Washington Mutual, one of the big subprime lenders, around 2003 talking about how to get consumers who really wanted safe 30-year fixed-rate mortgages to take out these dangerous option ARMs instead.

PAUL SOLMAN: ARMs meaning adjustable rate.

BETHANY MCLEAN: Adjustable rate mortgages -- how to sell those to people, and how to confront a consumer who said, but it doesn't feel right to me. I want to pay back my mortgage every month. This is what my parents did.

How do you get these people to take out a risky mortgage instead? You told them that home prices could only go up. And the reason Washington Mutual wanted to sell these option ARMs, instead of the 30-year fixed rate mortgages, is that Washington Mutual could turn around and sell these to Wall Street for a lot more money than it could sell the old 30-year fixed-rate loans.

JOE NOCERA: The astonishing thing about the run-up to the crisis is that this situation was happening all over the country. Lots of people on the ground could see it. And, yet, no one in government, whether it was the Fed, whether it was the regulators, whether it was Congress, was willing to do anything about it.

And -- and not only that. In some cases, like the bank regulators, they actively pushed back and stopped anybody trying to stop this kind of lending.

PAUL SOLMAN: Is Wall Street any worse than it ever was?

BETHANY MCLEAN: Yes, I think it's worse.

Wall Street, by the very sleaziness and impenetrability of its practices, set up its own run on the bank, because, when push came to shove, there was no transparency. And, even though in -- you can argue that this was a run on the bank, it was a run on the bank created by the way Wall Street did business. So, in the end, they only have themselves to blame.

PAUL SOLMAN: Some people have argued that this wasn't not quite a plot or a conspiracy, but a means by which Americans who had companies with stuff to sell could get money into the hands of people whose incomes were stagnant, so they could buy this stuff, that is, lend them the money.

BETHANY MCLEAN: I do not think that was ever an explicit plot. In other words, I don't think any group of people ever sat in a dark room and said, here's what we are going to do, and it's eventually going to bring the financial system down, but we are going to keep this party going while we can.

But I absolutely think that was an implicit plot. In other words, in order to keep the U.S. economy going, you had to keep consumer spending strong. In order to keep consumer spending strong, you had to have consumers whose income otherwise wasn't keeping up have a ready source of cash.

That was cash-out refinancing, by using their homes as piggy banks, and no one wanted to stop that party.

PAUL SOLMAN: You agree with that?

JOE NOCERA: Totally, 100 percent.

PAUL SOLMAN: Joe Nocera, Bethany McLean, thanks very much.

BETHANY MCLEAN: Thank you.

JOE NOCERA: Thanks for having us.





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Saturday, November 20, 2010

 

Toni Yancey: Instant Recess - Author interview



Professor in the Department of Health Services and Co-Director of UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, Toni Yancey, MD, MPH, in her inspirational and health transformational book Instant Recess: Building a Fit Nation 10 Minutes at a Time.

Toni Yanceypresents a compelling case that a lack of physical activity is costing employers and the community money, time, and lost production due to the sedentary lifestyle of employees and the general public.

Thanks to Toni Yancey, MD, MPH for her time, and for her tremendous and comprehensive responses to the questions. They are greatly appreciated.

What was the background to writing this book Instant Recess: Building a Fit Nation 10 Minutes at a Time?

Toni Yancey: I've been working on promoting physical activity in a variety of population groups for the past two decades, and have become increasingly frustrated by the lack of progress. The idea of incorporating brief bouts of physical activity into daily routine seems to resonate with people across different sectors and groups, and addresses the major obstacles to regular participation, for example, association with obligation or exertion vs. fun or stress relief, perceived or actual lack of discretionary time or money, no strong biological drive like hunger to prompt being active, concerns about messing up hair and make-up, distaste for gyms or sports, or lack of fitness or movement skills.

I want to catalyze the activity movement most in the field recognize is necessary, and need to extend and expand the dialogue about these issues beyond the public health field. When I began working with professional athletes on this, I came up with the mission of making prolonged sitting as socially unacceptable as smoking, or driving and drinking. For this reason, I targeted the book, stylistically, to sophisticated lay audiences, although the scientific grounding is there for health professionals and scholars.

Many people believe that physical fitness is their own choice, but you write that a fit population benefits the entire community. What do you mean by that?

Toni Yancey: Freedom of choice is illusory, when most of the environment conspires to chain us to our desks or couches. Though most people pay lip service to the importance of regular physical activity--and likely believe that it would be beneficial to them, fewer than 5% of adults actually meet minimum recommendations, especially in communities with little park space, absent or poorly maintained sidewalks, lack of safety, and few appealing vistas like trees, mountains or beaches.

Even in predominantly affluent communities like the West Side of Los Angeles, nearly a third of the population is sedentary--getting less than 10 minutes per week of continuous moderate to vigorous activity. Activity levels have plummeted during the past few decades and it's not because people suddenly value physical activity less--it used to be necessary to meet our basic survival needs. The individual costs of sedentariness are clear cut--diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke, depression, back pain--but the larger societal costs are tremendous in terms of lost productivity and high workers' comp and health care costs.

If private business and government spent less on these costs associated with obesity and sedentariness, they would be more competitive globally, in less of a budgetary crisis and have higher longevity and quality of life across the population.

The level of physical fitness in the population has declined, along with lower levels of activity in general. Can this situation be reversed for the benefit of the community?

Toni Yancey: Of course it can be reversed! I argue in the book that we have to stop focusing so much on motivating individuals, and rather, convince leaders already motivated to achieve their organizational objectives that Instant Recess breaks and other "push" or "opt-out" practices and policies that make the active choice the easy or default choice and the inactive choice more difficult or inconvenient (ex: auto-free zones around schools and workplaces, walking meetings, making stairs more convenient and accessible than elevators for the non-disabled).



Toni Yancey (photo left)

One of the central themes of the book is that good physical fitness enhances the bottom line. What do you mean by that?

Toni Yancey: Physical activity not only enhances the health of the individual, but also improves productivity through higher morale, less "presenteeism" (being in your seat but not performing at optimal levels) and absenteeism, less employee attrition (saving recruitment and training costs), and, ultimately, lower health care costs. Brief bouts of structurally integrated activity (on paid time or woven into the regular conduct of business) are easy to implement, with minimal upfront investment and, because they deliver a small amount of activity to a large proportion of people with the most sedentary the most likely to participate and benefit, a high return on investment

Should companies consider adding fitness programs to their daily organizational routines to achieve these benefits?

Toni Yancey: Absolutely! Fitness programs run the gamut from minimal investment (exercise breaks at certain times of day or in long meetings, restricting nearby parking or employee drop-off) to comprehensive wellness initiatives. Obviously the greatest gains are associated with the greatest investments, but that's usually only possible for large companies. Any company can implement Instant Recess breaks, even if they don't have dedicated wellness staff or facilities. Thus, Instant Recess and other "push" or "opt-out" practices and policies deliver a greater return on investment, particularly in the short run, when benefits must be demonstrated to maintain the investment.

Will companies add what you call ‘Instant Recess’ when they discover the financial, personnel, and competitive advantages of doing so?

Toni Yancey: I certainly hope so! It's been my experience that certain leaders ("early adopters") who are always on the lookout for such an advantage are persuaded by the documented benefits and the minimal upfront investment (start-up costs).

Are companies making the move toward more physical activity in the workplace now?

Toni Yancey: The growing awareness of the obesity epidemic and its consequences for employers is creating an opening to get more of them involved. However, my concern is that if they don't adopt the kinds of policies and practices that are most effective, they'll drop them and label the whole approach as unworkable. I recently gave a talk for the National Business Group on Health's obesity initiative, and heard from several people there that the interest is high and growing, but the strategies they've traditionally implemented (ex: fitness facilities on site, lunchtime walking clubs, before- or after-work exercise classes) are not working.

Is the entire concept of workplace fitness based on having the leadership of the organization on board, or must individuals within the company take the initiative themselves?

Toni Yancey: This is a top-down and bottom-up process. Individual employees who are not highly placed in the organizational hierarchy will find it difficult to implement these policies and practices without upper management support. At the same time, if the rank and file aren't included from the beginning to build their investment and ownership, fitness activities will fall by the wayside--they'll be "on the books" but not actually operating, like the poor compliance with state physical education mandates in schools.

What is the first step a company should take toward incorporating ‘Instant Recess’ and better physical fitness into their organizations?

Toni Yancey: Identify one or a few departments or divisions with individuals who'll be likely to be excited by the opportunity and readily get on board. My experience is there are two key types of these program champions--someone who's into fitness, for example, a former athlete, fitness instructor, or dancer, and someone who's entrenched in the company rank and file and who others look to for guidance as a peer (if Mary Lou's doing it, then it must be OK).

If there's an employee wellness advisory committee, solicit their buy-in. Market and promote a launch date for a few weeks before the start, and make sure that the bosses make a visible commitment through their participation--doesn't have to be every day or even every week, but if the boss is conspicuously absent even when s/he is in town, that will clearly communicate a low priority. And, in human capital management terms, Instant Recess participation is a great way for the C-suite to directly connect with the average Joe or Jane in a way that's not artificial, demonstrating themselves to be "regular people," creating camaraderie and engendering loyalty.

What is next for Toni Yancey?

Toni Yancey: I've got my hands full with this mission of increasing fitness population-wide for at least a generation! The First Lady is aiming to get it done within a generation and I'm pulling out all the stops to help her as a member of the Board of Directors of the non-partisan Partnership for a Healthier America, supporting her Let's Move campaign.

*****************

My book review of Instant Recess: Building a Fit Nation 10 Minutes at a Time by Toni Yancey.

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Instant Recess by Toni Yancey - Book review



Instant Recess

Building a Fit Nation 10 Minutes at a Time


By: Toni Yancey, MD, MPH

Published: November 3, 2010
Format: Paperback, 280 pages
ISBN-10: 0520263766
ISBN-13: 978-0520263765
Publisher: University of California Press










"The societal benefits of of physical activity cannot be fully realized until most people get moving", writes Professor in the Department of Health Services and Co-Director of UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, Toni Yancey, MD, MPH, in her inspirational and health transformational book Instant Recess: Building a Fit Nation 10 Minutes at a Time. The author presents a compelling case that a lack of physical activity is costing employers and the community money, time, and lost production due to the sedentary lifestyle of employees and the general public.

Toni Yancey offers a simple but highly effective solution to the declining physical fitness of the American population. The solution is the concept of instant recess. In the form of a brief, low impact group workout, suitable for everyone from children to adults, instant recess provides a fun and active way to improve physical fitness. The technique can be used anywhere, from workplaces, to community centers, to schools, to create an activity that fits into any busy schedule or program. For employers, instant recess fits well into the workplace, increasing fitness and activity levels of employees, while providing bottom line improvements as well. Toni Yancey shares research evidence that demonstrates how structured physical activity while at work results in a healthier and more productive workforce. With lower absentee rates and lower health care eosts, there are tangible benefits for the organization, at very little expenditure in terms of money and time.



Toni Yancey (photo left) shares some easy to incorporate fitness ideas, that any organizations can adopt, with no loss of time or cash outlay:

* Ten minute exercise breaks during meetings and regularly during the work day
* Use standing ovations as the standard for showing appreciation
* Post stair prompts and have managers lead in using the stairs
* Include fifty percent or more healthy food choices in machines and cafeterias

While these concepts provide fitness, at no cost to the organization, they also build teamwork, provide motivation for incorporating other changes into the company, and boost employee morale. The resulting productivity increase, from healthier and more engaged employees, benefits the company as well as the individual employees. Toni Yancey asserts, and with the backing of strong research, that the individual and company level fitness improvements translate as well to enhancement of the overall well being and quality of life in the larger community as well. The application of fun and easy group events not only builds bodies but it creates stronger social bonds as well, providing both tangible and unseen benefits for all.

For me, the power of the book is how Toni Yancey describes the benefits to individuals, organizations, and communities of a physically fit population. The author backs her concepts with the latest research into fitness and its relationship to health, productivity, and personal well being. Toni Yancey also provides an extensive reference section for further study. Along with the theoretical research and ideas, the author shares easy to organize group exercises, as well as initiatives that individuals can take on their own. For companies, the author provides evidence of benefits for productivity, employee job satisfaction, and the overall profitability resulting from a more engaged and healthier workforce.

Toni Yancey goes far beyond the usual nutritionally based advice for individuals and organizations. While she includes sections on healthy eating, the author emphasizes the importance of combining a balanced diet with regular, intense physical activity. Toni Yancey also shares methods for overcoming cultural objections to the concept of physical activity, and the value of instant recess as a means of clearing these cultural obstacles.

I highly recommend the practical and personally transformational book Instant Recess: Building a Fit Nation 10 Minutes at a Time by Toni Yancey, to any business, organizational, political, or community leaders seeking an easy and enjoyable method of increasing the overall physical fitness of their constituencies. As the book's subtitle points out, just ten minutes of physical activity per day will begin the transition from a sedentary population to one of improved health and energy levels. Everyone benefits from the added productivity and lowered health costs that result from an active and fit organization, community and nation.

Read the timely and essential book Instant Recess: Building a Fit Nation 10 Minutes at a Time by Toni Yancey, and begin the journey to better health and physical fitness in your business or community. Not only are the suggestions in the book easy and fun, but they build bonds between people that overcome barriers. Everyone loved recess while at school. The idea of instant recess should prove effective and enjoyable for everyone as well.

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