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Human Sigma: Managing the Employee-Customer Encounter Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Gallup Press; 1 edition (October 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595620168
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595620163
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John H. Fleming, Ph.D., is a Principal Fleming is a co-author of the Harvard Business Review article "Manage Your Human Sigma." Jim Asplund is The Gallup Organization's Chief Scientist for Strengths-Based Development. He leads Gallup's global research on the science of human strengths, and how to apply them to improve organizational performance.

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Customer Reviews

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If your job or business works with customers or clients you must read this book.
Matt T.
I also recommend two other Gallup books - First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently and 12: The Elements of Great Managing.
Avinash Sharma, The Yogic Manager
It's straight forward, and fully supported by heavy research and data (but it's a mathematical statistics book thank god).
H. H. Nguyen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In this volume, John Fleming and Jim Asplund present and then examine with both rigor and eloquence what they characterize as "a new set of rules and a different way of thinking about managing [a] company's complex human systems, which we believe can serve as an antidote to Terminator Management. It's about a model and an approach that we call HumanSigma."

Many of those who read this brief commentary have seen the second Arnold Schwarzenegger film in which the Terminator acknowledges to John O'Connor (portrayed by Edward Furlong) that he has been programmed not to think. Fleming and Asplund suggest that is also true of a common management style, "an institutional mind-set that views people - customers and employees - as a necessary evil, a nuisance, or in extreme cases, as adversaries in doing business. Rather than viewing people as the reason a business exists, the Terminator School of Management views them as impediments to business that breed inefficiency, cost, and errors."

They offer HumanSigma as an alternative, indeed an antidote to that mind-set. They characterize it as a "map of the terrain" within which employee-customer encounters occur. They recommend five "new rules" that are best revealed within the narrative, in context. These rules have been validated by studies of 10 million customers and 10 million customers around the globe. They note that a recent Gallup study of 89 companies showed that the companies that built a critical mass of engaged employees grew earnings per share at 2.6 times the rate of low-engagement companies. Fleming and Asplund's conclude their book with the assertion that people who own their improvement makes them "more innovative, productive, and confident. Are there a better set of characteristics for companies facing an unknown future?
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Format: Hardcover
You have heard several business leaders say something along the lines of "people are our greatest assets". But from an accounting and financial perspective, more focus is given to tangible assets that are easier to put into metrics than to intangible things like the contributions of humans. This model was alright for the industrial age, in which approaches such as TQM and Six Sigma (and their emphasis on materials and processes that behaved predictably) resulted in improved production. However, over the last few decades the center of gravity of business has gradually shifted from a manufacturing economy to a service economy. For sales and service firms, value creation is dependent upon human interactions (between employees and customers) that are not as consistent and predictable as materials and processes.
HumanSigma is a model and approach that will transform the way you think about your company's employees and customers, and the interaction between them. The concepts in this book are drawn from research involving over 10 million employees and 10 million customers across the globe. This book presents an alternative to what the authors call "Terminator Management", in which customers and employees are considered a necessary evil of doing business. Through five new rules, examples, case studies and research drawn from a variety of sources, the authors explain how to improve the performance of human assets. This book will help you think of employees as assets to be optimized, instead of costs to be minimized.
Like many other Gallup books, this book links employee and customer engagement to financial indicators.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Kelly J. Clark on October 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I am a Doctoral student studing Strategic Leadership. This book is a great resource for people leading campaigns to improve and increase their business's effectiveness and competitive position. By clarifying the differences between Six Sigma and Human Sigma considerable effort can be saved by focusing resources to affect positive outcomes. Gallup's research
builds a solid foundation that challenges the old tenants of usefulness
about customer satisfaction and surveys. This is a fairly thin slice of the process of building out strengths based organizations, but an important one. You may have to read several of their other works to fully comprehend the significance of this book. The field needs a good follow up book on how to build out human sigma in organizations. Gallup saves this (the really good stuff) for their consulting practice. It is a good read. KC in Lincoln,NE.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Smith on January 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The framing premise of this book, Human Sigma, is that there is a high correlation between customer satisfaction (and retention, referrals, profitability) and employee satisfaction. The authors, Fleming and Asplund, make an eloquent case for the point and I agree with the logic.

Human Sigma is positioned as an evolutionary development from Six Sigma, which has components of quantitative analysis as its framework. Human Sigma, too has components of quantitative calculations as its measurement tool. This book however is very light on the implementation and calculation of the quantitative measures as promulgated. The formulas are actually reflected in the eight page precursor to this book in an article by Fleming in the July - August 2005 Harvard Business Review.

The authors, perhaps in promoting their own methodology, spend a bit too much time discounting the methodology of Fred Reichheld's Net Promoter Score (The Ultimate Question).

The book is heavily annotated which is good, however, many of the supporting points for their premises are tied to singular findings from research journals. The mere fact that a research article has been written in a scholarly journal does not make a finding a fact.

Chapter 14's section on talent may be the most well-written and significant portion of the book and likely deserves further analysis and development by the authors; maybe even an additional book. It builds on the premises of other Gallup writers ( Marcus Buckingham, Tom Rath) on the importance of focusing on further developing existing strengths as opposed to weaknesses.

What is next necessary from these authors is an implementation book that will encompass the mathematics of their well researched theories, as not all businesses will be likely able to afford the consulting services of the Gallup organization. I will buy and read the next book.
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