Instincts upgraded

The AMA Handbook of Financial Risk Management

Amacom Books; $75

Evolution has equipped human beings with remarkably sensitive and highly developed instincts for calculating and responding to certain kinds of risks. When it comes to spotting predators lurking in tall grass, or figuring out which berries are poisonous, we're all set. The problem is, there aren't many saber-tooth tigers in office parks, and these days you're more likely to run across poison pills than poison berries. The AMA Handbook of Financial Risk Management aims to supply corporate managers the financial risk detection and response instincts that nature failed to give us. It shows how to evaluate risk in six key areas - production, marketing, cash flows, compliance, technology and business disruptions - and equips managers with financial models and step-by-step directions for handling the risks inherent in everything from corporate investment to liquidity, cash flow, capital structure, budgeting and more. It's an invaluable reference for your business clients, who need all the help they can get adjusting to a whole new ecosystem of risk.

 

Get what they need

How Companies Win: Profiting from Demand-Driven Business Models No Matter What Business You're In

Harper Business; $26.99

It used to be simple: Clients and customers had demands, and businesses and firms profitably supplied them. According to How Companies Win, though, that happy balance is over. Swamped by supply, clients no longer value it as much, so that businesses in search of high profits now have to enter much more deeply into the question of demand - figuring out what clients want before they even know themselves. The book explains this new demand-driven model, and shows businesses how to examine their clients in different ways to create new and lasting sources of profit.

 

Dread and circuses

Stop Workplace Drama: Train Your Team to Have No Complaints, No Excuses, and No Regrets

Wiley; $24.95

We here at New Products view gossiping, complaining, and engaging in petty power struggles as perks - flashes of excitement that light up our otherwise dull lives, much as the occasional gladiatorial death match or Christian-and-lion luncheon kept the Roman workforce entertained. We're aware, though, that some companies view this sort of workplace drama as counterproductive, distracting employees from their real jobs and reducing team effectiveness and creating a negative environment in the workplace. For them, we suggest Stop Workplace Drama, which identifies the different forms that workplace drama can take, and then shows how to deal with them. With an eight-step empowerment process, it aims to help individuals get past their own dramas and improve personal productivity, while arming management with tools for defusing drama, pursuing change without creating fear in the organization, confronting and working through problems in an undramatic way, and building a stress-free, team-oriented environment. If you want a calm, productive, happy office, take a look; we're staying in the arena to see the next fight.

 

The next revolution

We: How to Increase Performance and Profits through Full Engagement

Wiley; $24.95

When workers were stuck in dark, dismal factories chained to machines, it was called "the alienation of labor," and it helped lead to Communism, the gulag, the Cold War and Yakov Smirnov. Now that workers are stuck in fluorescent-lit cube farms hooked up to computers, it's called "disengagement," and we shudder to think what the revolutionary consequences could be. Using the findings of more than 10 million worker surveys annually, the authors of We document the results of this disengagement in lower productivity and lower profits for companies, and impaired health for employees. They then go on to show what will engage employees - opportunities for growth, recognition, and trust in leadership and confidence about the future - and how to build the sorts of companies that will prevent the next revolution. After all, humanity can't afford another Yakov Smirnov.

 

Dress for success

Anything Other Than Naked: A Guide for Men on How to Dress Properly for Every Occasion

Two Harbors Press; $14.95

Just about every company that has instituted a "casual Friday" policy has a horror story or two about employees who, liberated from a strict dress code, display a fashion sense better suited to the Jersey Shore or the local crack house than a professional office. But while casual Fridays seem to bring out the worst in people's closets, sartorial mistakes can pop up any day of the week. Some of these, no doubt, come down to bad taste, but many, at least for men, are the result of pure ignorance. Anything Other Than Naked offers men an education on everything from how to match suits, ties and shirts, to picking the right color socks and tying your tie to the correct length (it should reach your belt buckle, but not go below it). It's the sort of advice your father would have given you if he had any fashion sense - which, judging from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, he didn't.

 

Think great

8 Ways to Great: Peak Performance on the Job and in Your Life

Perigee (Penguin); $14

It's not their achievements that make successful people different - it's the way they achieved them. 8 Ways to Great examines the way successful people think, and the approaches they take to life and work, and helps you follow in their path.

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