Book Review – Negotiating Outcomes

Negotiating outcomes


This is another of the books from the useful Pocket Mentor series from the Harvard Business School Press. The book titled, Negotiating Outcomes, focuses on helping people:


  • Understand the basic types of negotiation
  • Prepare for, conduct and close a negotiation
  • Develop and maintain good relationships

Most of us spend time and effort negotiating with people in some shape or form and being able to do it effectively is essential. This short book which spans just 100 pages can give us some ideas on how to become better negotiators.

The book has two major parts. The first section contains the main reading content with 8 sections which cover:

  1. Types of negotiations
  2. Multiphase and multiparty negotiations
  3. Concepts such as BATNA, ZOPA and the reservation price.
  4. Nine steps to a deal
  5. Negotiation tactics
  6. Barriers to agreement
  7. Cognitive traps
  8. The skills of effective negotiators

The second part of the the book has tips and tools which can help you work on your negotiation skills such as worksheets, a short quiz to test yourself, frequently asked questions (FAQs), key terms and a reference to resources that can teach you more about negotiation.

When I go through these books I usually look at one key thing I can learn from the book. The key learning point for me from this book was the nine steps to a deal. Summarily the nine steps are:

  • Step 1 – Determine satisfactory outcomes.
  • Step 2 – Identify opportunities to create value.
  • Step 3 – Identify your BATNA and reservation price.
  • Step 4 – Improve your BATNA.
  • Step 5 – Determine who has authority.
  • Step 6 – Study the other side.
  • Step 7 – Prepare for flexibility in the process.
  • Step 8 – Gather objective criteria to establish fairness.
  • Step 9 – Alter the process in your favour.

Despite being a small book, it has lots of information and you can certainly learn one or two things that will improve your negotiation abilities.


Managing Teams – Four Key Lessons

Managing Teams

Some time ago I reviewed one of the Harvard Business Review Pocket Mentor books titled, Managing Teams (you can read that review here). I revisited the book and identified four key ideas to curate from the book. These ideas describe four obstacles that can hamper team effectiveness and how to overcome them. I have briefly described them below:

  1. The obstacle of low participation where team members don’t participate wholeheartedly in team meetings and activities.
  2. The obstacle of poor communication when teams communicate poorly and prevent the team from achieving its goals.
  3. The obstacle of ineffective team leadership when the team leader is the obstacle because they don’t  lead the team properly.
  4. The obstacle of destructive conflict where teams are experiencing the type of conflict that has negative impacts on the team.

These are four key issues that team leaders and managers cannot overlook and the book gives some great ideas on how to tackle them. Regarding my vision for Justbookideas, I am turning the four ideas into a learning tool that consists of a book summary and  group session that anyone can use to teach others about the four obstacles and how to overcome them. So please watch the space.

Book Review – Training Practice By Penny Hackett

Training PracticeTraining Practice by Penny Hackett is one of those old books that still has a lot to offer in our current learning and development landscape. You might think because it has ‘training’ in the title, the book is not relevant, but that is simply not true. While there is some information you should not attention to anymore in the book, it has a lot of practices which I believe learning and development practitioners should go back to. For instance, it reminds us of what training is, the difference between training and learning and what makes training work. Continue reading

Book Review – Delegating Work

Delegating work

Another book in the Harvard Business Press Pocket Mentor series, this one focuses on helping managers to delegate work more effectively. The aim of this book is to show managers how to:

  • Identify tasks to delegate
  • Assign tasks and monitor their progress
  • Handle any problems with delegated tasks

Written by Thomas L Brown, this book has just 77 pages and is split into two main sections. One with the main content titled, Delegating Work: the basics, and a second section with extra tips and tools on the subject.

The first section is further divided into five topics, each of which I have reviewed briefly below.

What is delegating?

Here you will read some useful information on what delegating is. The purpose of delegating, benefits of delegating and concerns managers have about delegating are discussed. You will also learn about the difference between empowerment and delegating. Here are two nuggets for you: Continue reading

Book Review – Fostering Creativity

Fostering creativityThis is another book in the Harvard Pocket Mentor series, titled Fostering Creativity and written by Dorothy Leonard, a professor at Harvard Business school. Among other lessons this book aims to help us understand how to:

  • Identify opportunities for innovative solutions
  • Develop an environment conducive to creativity
  • Move a team from brainstorming to project execution

This book has just 78 pages and the content, which is really useful, is split into two main sections, the reading content titled Fostering Creativity: The Basics and a section with extra tools titled , Tips and Tools. I review both sections very briefly below.

Fostering Creativity: The Basics

 This section has five topical areas.

What is creativity?

This is a good start for a book on creativity as the author takes the time to define what creativity is. Here’s the definition used:

A process of developing and expressing novel ideas that are likely to be useful.

This is contrasted with innovation defined as:

The embodiment, combination, and / or synthesis of knowledge in original, relevant, valued new products, processes, or services.

Personally I found this definition on innovation to be unclear. But then author does clarify that innovation is the end process of creativity. Continue reading