Book Summary: Leading Professionals – Power, Politics, and Prima Donnas by Laura Empson

Professor Laura Empson of London’s Cass Business School and Harvard Law School reports on intensive research into how to lead professional firms, such as law offices, and complex organizations, such as hospitals and universities. Her scholarly work, packed with citations and cross-references, details how leadership functions in a professional services environment. This layered study, funded by Great Britain’s Economic and Social Research Council, includes findings from interviews with 500 professionals in 16 countries. Empson’s exemplary and surprisingly engaging text could be a go-to guide to organizing and managing professional firms.

Summary of Leading Professionals - Power, Politics, and Prima Donnas by Laura Empson
Summary of Leading Professionals – Power, Politics, and Prima Donnas by Laura Empson

In this summary, you will learn:

  • Why leading a professional firm is so difficult.
  • What constitutes a “leadership constellation”.
  • What 10 paradoxes confront professional firms.

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Book Summary: Open to think – Slow Down, Think Creativity, and Make Better Decisions by Dan Pontefract

Citing the title of Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” as an example of something people think they know but often get wrong, consultant Dan Pontefract offers a strategy for thinking more clearly and making better decisions. As he explains how his “dream, decide, do” system works, he provides real-life examples of “open thinkers” whose accomplishments stem from their deliberative cognitive practices. People tend to rush to conclusions, accept misinformation, skip nuance or trust shallow assumptions. Instead, Pontefract says, pause to ponder. The effectiveness of your thought process depends on how well you sort evidence, reflect upon it and challenge your conclusions.

Summary of Open to think - Slow Down, Think Creativity, and Make Better Decisions by Dan Pontefract
Summary of Open to think – Slow Down, Think Creativity, and Make Better Decisions by Dan Pontefract

In his book, Dan Pontefract explains how his “dream, decide, do” system works while providing real-life examples of “open thinkers” whose accomplishments stem from their deliberative cognitive practices.

In this summary, you will learn:

  • How “open thinking” balances “reflection and action”
  • How to welcome new ideas
  • How “creative,critical and applied thinking” improve decision making.
  • How to implement open thinking by using 10 basic guidelines.
  • Agility and flexibility

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Format and Essential of Employee Handbook Content

You may think operating without an employee handbook gives your organization flexibility. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Format and Essential of Employee Handbook Content. Source: ShutterStock
Format and Essential of Employee Handbook Content. Source: ShutterStock

A good employee handbook is essential for effective people management and litigation prevention. Without one, employees don’t know where to turn for basic information on your company policies. You may think operating without a handbook gives your organization flexibility. Nothing could be further from the truth. Or perhaps your CEO wants to maintain an open-door policy and doesn’t want to be tied to written rules. It’s your job to persuade her that a well-drafted employee manual actually creates flexibility and paradoxically fosters an open-door atmosphere.
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Reflections on Defining Success

How I overcame ‘Superwoman Syndrome’

I started as a junior secretary in a law firm and eventually became admin to a senior partner. In my personal life, I raised two children, helped save for their educations and sent them to good colleges. I head up projects for several organizations as well as for my church. But despite all these accomplishments, I felt that I had to accomplish even more.

Reflections on Defining Success, How I overcame 'Superwoman Syndrome' and Assistants Must Excel at the Fundamentals. Source: ShutterStock
Reflections on Defining Success, How I overcame ‘Superwoman Syndrome’ and Assistants Must Excel at the Fundamentals. Source: ShutterStock

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High Performance On A Low Budget (Or No Budget!): 5 Inexpensive Actions With Big Rewards

Sure, perks such as daily catered lunches or fancy trips to industry conferences help some companies boost employee satisfaction and productivity. Organizations with limited resources, however, needn’t despair. Plenty of creative, effective ways exist to develop a thriving workplace culture without breaking the bank.

High Performance On A Low Budget (Or No Budget!): 5 Inexpensive Actions With Big Rewards. Source: ShutterStock
High Performance On A Low Budget (Or No Budget!): 5 Inexpensive Actions With Big Rewards. Source: ShutterStock

Here’s a look five areas in which an employer’s inexpensive actions can result in a big payoff。
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