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The Thinking Manager's Toolbox: Effective Processes for Problem Solving and Decision Making 1st Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195131963
ISBN-10: 0195131967
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

William J. Altier believes that many companies fail because their leaders don't know how to think objectively. The Thinking Manager's Toolbox is Altier's front-office prescription for right thinking. He writes, "In medicine, in flying, in golf, it's the knowledge of the processes involved and the skill and experience built up by continually using them that separates the leaders from the also-rans. The same is true in business, in government, in teaching, in every profession." The book is a manual for developing a set of "thinking tools" for making choices, defining steps, timing decisions, preventing errors, and finding the root causes of unexpected change. Say you're a manager of a plant under expansion--Altier shows ways to uncover potential problems and nip them before they develop. He loads the book with written exercises, advice for teams, and step-by-step examples for planning. The Thinking Manager's Toolbox is sometimes highly technical, but provides key advice for managers looking to make the right decisions. --Dan Ring

Review

"Important, useful, and practical advice for more effective problem solving and decision making are integrated with in a more comprehensive view of management."--Chris Argyris, Harvard Business School, and author of Knowledge for Action and Organizational Learning II

"Whether you are a project engineer solving problems, a business person making decisions or a CEO planning for the future, there is a thinking process tool to help you do it better. Bill Altier's 'Toolbox" is a potential competitive advantage--use it before your competitors do."--Nance K. Dicciani, Senior Vice President, Rohm and Hass Company

"The Thinking Manager's Toolbox offers a clear and concise guide to improving one's decision making and problem solving skills. Having used these techniques with excellent results, I highly recommend this work."--John K. Herdklotz, former president of Hoechst-Roussel Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (November 18, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195131967
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195131963
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #420,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Meetings are the bane and lifeblood of managers everywhere. Vitally important, they are also frustratingly ineffective. Like the old story of the blind men and the elephant, meetings are usually more of a political contest among competing pet ideas than a cooperative effort among people with differing perspectives and relevant information.
The usual diagnosis of this situation is that it's a "people problem." Thus, we have sent millions of individuals to interpersonal-skills training, communication-skills training and dealing-with-difficult-people training. We've sent thousands of groups off on retreat to rappel down rock faces and fall blindfolded into their colleague's arms. We've fielded an army of specialized facilitators to say, "Thank you for sharing that," and "Suzie, we've haven't heard from you, yet."
But the treatment hasn't worked. Meetings still stink. And the things meetings are supposed to produce--decisions, plans, and solutions--have not improved either.
In this important book, Altier approaches the problem from a completely different perspective. He argues that the fundamental problem with meetings is their lack of a disciplined, organized process for joint thinking. Focusing on decisions, plans and solutions as the key outputs created by managers, Altier describes in detail three separate, structured processes that remake meetings devoted to these ends.
The process for solving problems is my favorite. Using a real but disguised example, Altier shows what a structured, disciplined thinking process can accomplish. Engineers had spent three months twisting knobs and replacing parts in series of failed efforts to solve a serious but intermittent manufacturing problem.
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Format: Hardcover
If you would like to see people actually solve problems together, then get this book and use the techniques Bill Altier describes. As a consultant who uses the tools described here, I can verify that they work. The thrill never ceases to watch a group of diverse people - from different groups and levels of an organization - learn that they can, in fact, work together, that among them they have the knowledge and creativity to solve problems and develop strategies.
For people who are resistant to have a team attack a problem because meetings are unproductive, this book will show you that it is the way the meeting is run that is not productive. It is the thinking process that gets the result, whether for an individual or a group, and this book shows how much better that result can be from a group.
This is not a "light-reading" pleasure book, but it is well worth the effort. It gives a great deal of detail on why and how the tools work and how to apply them. If you are willing to wade in and try these techniques, you will be surprised at how much better at problem solving both you and your people are. They may even find they like working together.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is an excellent tool for any manager or management consultant. The examples are terrific, and the presentation is as logical as the processes covered in the book. Users of Bill Altier's approach and tools will benefit greatly from the higher quality thinking that they produce.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book and walked away with new ideas that can be used immediately. The book challenges traditional thought and gives solutions for us to use. As a manager, I find that extremely helpful.
If you're interested in improving your managerial & leadership skills, recommend books by Blanchard & also "The Leader's Guide: 15 Essential Skills."
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Format: Hardcover
This book will change the way you think. If you work for a company, knowing the contents of this book will make you virtually indispensable as a problem solver at meetings. If you run a company, knowing what this book teaches spells the difference between making it big and barely getting by. If you want to land more consulting assignments in areas where you are not the expert, this book can help you expand your practice by teaching you how to use the client's expertise in helping them solve their own problems. That's the good news.
The bad news is that this book is not a quick read. This is a book you have to study and think about. It is a painstaking "how to" reference guide. Well written. Thorough. And it works. I used it successfully with clients, and the results were impressive. And the clients were pleased. The author should consider writing a field book to support this book's use as an aid for consultants interested in expanding their practice into "participative process" consulting.
This book belongs in the library of every manager, executive and consultant. Unlike the "pop" management books of today where a quick read tells you everything, The Thinking Manager's Toolbox is one book you will refer to again and again.
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