- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Hyperion (January 3, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786865946
- ISBN-13: 978-0786865949
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.8 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,079,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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It's Not Business, It's Personal Hardcover – January 3, 2001
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Raising office politics to a new high, Lichtenberg uses her book's title to turn upside down a phrase often offered as a balm to losers in workplace confrontations. She is the author of Work Would Be Great If It Weren't for the People: Ronna and Her Evil Twin's Guide to Making Office Politics Work for You (1998). Now she claims to have uncovered nine principles for getting ahead after interviewing hundreds of business leaders and conducting in-depth interviews with 75 of them. The nine maxims are a sometimes contradictory mix of advice that counsels us to improve the quality of our business relationships while at the same time choosing relationships based on the benefit we can derive from them. For instance: "Be fluent in both pink and blue" (number 3); "Don't waste time on the wrong people" (number 6); and "Observe the rules of the role" (number 2). While some of her tips sound harsh in the abstract, Lichtenberg successfully uses humor and practical, realistic examples to blunt their edge. David Rouse
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Ronna Lichtenberg is a consultant, lecturer, and author of Work Would Be Great If It Weren't for the People. President of Clear Peak Communications, a management consulting firm, Ms. Lichtenberg has written for magazines and websites including 0, Redbook, Ka-Ching.com, and iVillage.com. She is a frequent contributor to NBC's Weekend Today and Lifetime Live, and has been featured on Bloomberg, CNBC, Fox, and ABC, as well as in the pages of The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
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Many of us learn that we shouldn't take things personally, it's just business. Ms. Lichtenberg takes the opposite approach, that all business progress begins with sound business relationships.
You might start thinking about this book by considering what makes anyone want to do business with anyone else. Whether the customer is looking for a low price, advanced technology, or smooth solutions, trust is at the bottom of the decision. Those who ignore or harm relationships are either not establishing or are undermining existing trust. Without that trust, progress will be minor. The book opens with a series of excellent questions that many have probably asked themselves about why they are not making more progress in their careers and daily work.
Research has consistently shown that those with the most successful careers are those who are best at working with others. This book describes the basic rules of how to improve your performance in this dimension with those you seek to serve.
Let me paraphrase the nine principles as expressed in the book to make them easier for you to understand:
(1) work on improving your business relationships with those who buy and "influence your future livelihood" as your top priority
(2) follow the golden rule in pursuing those relationships (do unto others as you would have them do unto you)
(3) be able to operate in relationships in the manner that the other person is most comfortable with (especially if they are of the opposite sex)
(4) establish strong, reciprocal relationships with people outside your organization who can be good sounding boards for you
(5) develop relationships with people of many different kinds of backgrounds to broaden your perspective
(6) avoid people who are "using" you rather than being reciprocal
(7) be systematic about establishing and deepening relationships by using an on-going process
(8) stick with relationships long enough for them to develop and become fruitful for all involved
(9) be strictly ethical and considerate in looking out for the other person in your relationships, rather than trying to "use" the relationship to further your own interests at the expense of the other person or organization.
The author is at some pains to differentiate this approach from networking, where you develop lots of contacts that usually fail to develop further. A good related book that will help you appreciate that point is Networlding, which I also recommend that you read.
Each principle is well developed with numerous examples of "bad" and "good" examples. There are also great quotes sprinkled through each section as sidebars from the interviews done with successful people. Most of the principles have lists of rules to follow, each supported with their own examples, as well.
The only thing I didn't like about the book was the choice of metaphors. In most cases, the metaphors were to traffic laws, investing in stocks, or cutting deals. Those metaphors were off message from the point about establishing mutually consistent and mutually beneficial relationships.
It also wasn't clear to me whether this advice was being suggested because "it was good for me" or because "it's the right thing to do." In a lot of cases, I wondered if people reading this book might not end up feeling that those who could not help their careers did not deserve the same respect and care. As a result, some people will take this on in a manipulative way . . . although I don't think Ms. Lichtenberg or those she cites view it that way.
After you have finished enjoying the book, I suggest that you think about your family relationships in this context. Many people are "users" with their families because they can get away with it. That's not good for anyone. How can you improve on the trust and the mutual sense of joy in those relationships as well?
Remember, it's about the other person . . . first!
Sadly, all this book is able to do is to take common place events in corporate America and create an analogy for them. In fact, the analogies go to the truly ridiculous to fill space towards the end of the book.
My suggestion for anyone who is interested in real knowledge, avoid this material. It is clear that there is nothing to offer here.
Better Luck Elsewhere,