The views expressed in these reviews are strictly those of Max Wideman.
The contents of the books under review are the copyright property of the respective authors.
Published here July 2018

Introduction to the Books
Book 1 - What if Common Sense was Common Practice in Business?
Introduction | Book Structure | What We Liked
Book 2 - A Pocket Guide to Stakeholders' Management Engagement
Introduction | Book Structure | What We Liked | Conclusion

What We Liked

For clarity, author Rex Conner provides some examples of fuzzy directions, fuzzy guidance and/or fuzzy expectations such as:[9]

  • We need more teamwork
  • Be a self-starter
  • Take some initiative
  • Provide world-class service
  • Make better decisions ...

Editor's Note: Have you spotted the fuzzy phrases? (Teamwork; self-starter; initiative; world-class; better decisions and similar.) To this list you can probably add most, if not all, project management so-called disciplines like: governance; program; project; and project management. All of these are "subjective" unless defined "objectively" so that there can be no misunderstanding of what is required.

The last three chapters of Rex's book cover:[10]

  • How to: Create Just One People Performance System™
  • How to: Reduce Conflict to Retain High Quality People, and
  • A Common Sense Assessment Tool

These chapters provide actual examples of the application of Rex's advice in tabular or graphic form, as applied to any professional health system.[11] For example, a "Complete Job Description" covering health care shows three columns covering Task List, Skill List and Job Requirements respectively. There is also a Performance Analysis Flowchart.[12]

Developing standards, or references, such as these takes a lot of careful thought and practical testing through live feedback. But if the outcome is more efficient work and happier workers, the effort is well worthwhile. So in summary, a key part of using objective language is to be to make sure you are describing an outcome, and not a process, i.e. what it looks like — not how to do it.[13] In our experience, this is a very common failure.

A feature that we enjoyed, in what could otherwise be rather dry material, is the lavish use of DILBERT cartoon strips carefully selected to emphasize the topic at hand. So get a copy and keep it handy for your next project.

Book Structure  Book Structure

9. Ibid, p8
10. Ibid, pp100-120
11. Ibid, p104
12. Ibid, p109
13. Ibid, p64
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