The Athena Doctrine: How Women (and the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future

  • December 10, 2013
  • posted by Holloway Zaiser Group

John Gerzema, Michael D’Antonio –

What if we lived in a world where instead of men thinking like men, they thought more like a woman? This is a fascinating book. The Athena Doctrine offers convincing proof that the future requires us to embrace traits and values traditionally linked to women. This book is the outcome of a two-year survey of 64,000 people in 18 nations and 80 on-the-ground interviews in 13 countries with start-ups, political leaders, NGO’s, educators and more. Results indicated that two thirds of those surveyed felt the world would be a better place if men thought more like women!

The authors illustrate real world examples, backed by rigorous data and reveal how men and women alike, are recognizing significant value in traits commonly associated with women, such as nurturing, cooperation, communication, and sharing. Informally, and in countless ways, they are following the Athena Doctrine, named after the Greek Goddess, the warrior whose strength came from wisdom and fairness. This marks a global trend away from the winner-takes-all, masculine approach to getting things done.

Femininity is not just some girl thing…it is the operating system of 21st century prosperity!

Negotiation Skills for Managers – Steven Cohen

  • August 6, 2013
  • posted by Holloway Zaiser Group

This is one of the most useful, hands-on manuals for applying interest-based negotiations to daily practice.  It is the one book that I recommend in all of my negotiation classes for daily use after the class.  Unlike many books that are focused on theory and complex examples of application, this is guide offers tips, cautions, tools, and practical advice in the sidebars to assist in making the transition from understanding to application.

Don’t be scared off by the title if you are not a manager.  Even the author admits that the subtitle for  the book should say………..”and Everyone Else”.  This is an acknowledgment that we all have to negotiate with others on a daily basis in order to co-exist.

The author also has a website that offer more information on how this style of negotiation is used in a variety of situations.  You will find more at

Three Quotes about Conflict

  • July 23, 2013
  • posted by Holloway Zaiser Group

Some recent reading has uncovered a trio of great quotes that give helpful insights into conflict and conflict management.

“Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict — alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence.”
Dorothy Thompson

This quote stresses the idea that conflict itself need not be feared or avoided. What we want to avoid is poor conflict management, which allows conflicts to become destructive.

“While substantive conflict, if handled correctly, can be very productive, personalized conflict is almost never a good thing. First, personalized conflict is fueled primarily by emotion (usually anger, frustration), and perceptions about someone else’s personality, character, or motives. Second, because personalized conflict is about emotion and not issues, problem-solving almost never works, because neither party is really interested in solving a problem…in fact, in extreme cases, the parties go out of their ways to create new ones, imagined or real. Third, personalized conflicts almost always get worse over time, if they cannot be converted to substantive conflict. That is because each person expects problems, looks for them, finds them, and gets angrier.”
Robert Bacal, Institute for Conflict Prevention

This quote highlights a central tenet of conflict management:  Separate the person from the problem; go hard on the problem, stay soft on the person.

“Conflict and disagreement offer wonderful opportunities to learn and grow. As long as you respect others’ differences and things don’t get personal, as long as you question the idea and not the person, then there will be room for discovery and movement toward the best solution.” — Matthew Gilbert, Communication Miracles At Work

And this last one really synthesizes the key points from the other two, drawing our attention to the potential that exists within conflict. Well managed conflict gives us an opportunity to learn about ourselves and others, and helps us create ideal solutions that we can all support.

Building Relationships to Build Performance

  • July 9, 2013
  • posted by Holloway Zaiser Group

The following quote from Daniel Goleman makes an excellent point about what it really takes for a company to be competitive:

“When it comes to technical skill and the core competencies that make a company competitive, the ability to outperform others depends on the relationships of the people involved.”

Compelling behavioral research shows that emotional intelligence — not IQ, advanced degrees or technical experience — is the single most important factor in people’s ability to build and sustain relationships. Consequently, for a companies to be competitive, it’s critical that they develop structures and processes that place value on emotional intelligence and foster true relationship building between team members.

Strategy Lessons from Proctor and Gamble

  • February 28, 2013
  • posted by Holloway Zaiser Group

Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works, by A. G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin, relays the strategic approach Proctor and Gamble CEO Lafley used to increase his company’s market value to $100 billion. It’s a book “about choices, including the choice to create a discipline of strategic thinking and strategic practice within an organization.”

They write that strategy is not about having a vision or having a plan, it’s about winning: making clear tough choices, like what businesses to be in and not be in, how you will win where you play, what capabilities and competencies to turn into core strengths, and how your internal systems will turn those choices into excellent performance. One of the best books I’ve read!

5 Tips for Better Meetings

  • February 25, 2013
  • posted by Holloway Zaiser Group

Just read Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable About Solving the Most Painful Problems in Business by Patrick Lencioni. He writes that “there is simply no substitute for a good meeting — a dynamic, passionate and focused engagement — when it comes to extracting the collective wisdom of a team.”

Here are Lencioni’s five tips for better meetings:

  1. Know the purpose of your meeting. Is it about solving a tactical, short-term problem, or a critical strategic issue? Are people meant to debate, offer alternatives, brainstorm, or just sit and listen?
  2. Clarify what’s at stake. Do participants know what could go wrong if bad decisions are made?
  3. Hook them from the outset. How will you get people engaged?
  4. Ensure enough time. The mark of a great meeting is that it ends with clarity and commitment from participants.
  5. Provoke conflict. Conflict should be ideological, not personal. Ensure opposing views are aired completely.

Building Relationships Through Negotiation

  • February 20, 2013
  • posted by Holloway Zaiser Group

In their book, Getting Together: Building Relationships As We Negotiate, Roger Fisher and Scott Brown suggest a strategy of being “unconditionally constructive.” They explain this strategy as follows: “do only those things that are both good for the relationship and good for us; whether or not they reciprocate.”

This strategy requires us to remember that negotiations are never just about the subject at hand, they are also always about relationships. Regardless of how the other party behaves, we must continue to ensure that we behave in a way that aims to improve the relationship. This can be so difficult in an emotionally charged situation, but is always beneficial in the long run.

Harnessing the Power of Introverts in your Workplace

  • February 13, 2013
  • posted by Holloway Zaiser Group

Author Susan Cain has written a book and recently given a TED talk on the strengths of introverts, and society’s current failure to take advantage of the skills they bring to our workplaces. In Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, Cain writes that we often assume introversion is connected to shyness or antisocial behaviour. She corrects that assumption, explaining that introversion describes the way a person responds to stimulation.

Introverts really are at their most energized when they’re in quieter, low-key environments, while extroverts need high quantities of stimulation to feel at their best. Introversion is not antisocial, it’s simply a preference to socialize in quieter ways.

At work, introverts would rather solve problems quietly, casually, one-on-one, and behind the scenes. Getting everybody in a department together and hammering it out with 10 people contributing ideas all at once is not a strategy well-suited to introverts.

Cain also points out that workplaces are being designed more and more for extroverts, with pods of desks, open floor plans, and no walls. Introverts function better in quieter environments where they are not constantly bombarded with distraction.

Nine Skills of Good Leaders

  • February 13, 2013
  • posted by Holloway Zaiser Group

We just read a terrific article, “How Poor Leaders Become Good Leaders,” by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman. The article talked about a group of 71 leaders who were able to elevate their leadership effectiveness from the 23rd percentile to the 56th percentile. They accomplished this through significantly improving their ability to execute nine particular leadership skills:

  1. Improving communication effectiveness.
  2. Sharing knowledge and expertise more widely.
  3. Encouraging others to do more and to be better.
  4. Developing a broader perspective.
  5. Recognizing their status as role models and the need to set a good example.
  6. Championing their team’s new ideas.
  7. Recognizing when change is needed.
  8. Developing the ability to inspire and motivate others.
  9. Encouraging cooperation rather than competition.

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