Maximum Performance


Maximum Performance

A Practical Guide to Leading and Managing People at Work

9781845423780 Edward Elgar Publishing
Nick Forster, Alfaisal University, Riyadh, KSA
Publication Date: 2005 ISBN: 978 1 84542 378 0 Extent: 616 pp
Based on twelve years involvement with more two thousand MBAs, managers and professionals, Maximum Performance is a comprehensive analysis of leading and managing people set against a backdrop of accelerating organizational, business and technological change.

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Based on twelve years involvement with more two thousand MBAs, managers and professionals, Maximum Performance is a comprehensive analysis of leading and managing people set against a backdrop of accelerating organizational, business and technological change.

It covers traditional topics – such as personal performance and stress management, employee motivation and performance, power and politics, communication skills and leading and managing change, as well as more contemporary issues, such as business ethics in a global economy and leadership in high-tech and virtual organizations. It also looks at how leaders and managers can create cultures to promote essential modern organizational competencies such as creativity and innovation, the effective dissemination and use of knowledge and intellectual capital, and creating systemic intelligent learning capabilities amongst employees.

Maximum Performance represents a distillation of the best practical ideas about leadership and people management of recent times, condensed into a form that busy managers and professionals can assimilate and make immediate use of at work in large, medium-sized or small organizations, and in the public or private sector.
Critical Acclaim
‘This is a big book in more ways than one. . . a detailed and illuminating exploration of leadership qualities, attributes, skills and competencies. . . the mixture of theory, reflective questions, stories, tools and practical exercises demand a level of thoughtful engagement and self-reflection rarely required by books on leadership. . . the Australian content is refreshing, as is the lack of evangelistic promises of immediate transformation. . . this book is firmly grounded in supporting the learning and skill development needed for maximum performance.’ (Boss magazine, August p.55).
– The Australian Financial Review – AFR Boss

‘If we were giving a graduate-level class in leadership and people management skills (I’m a UCLA Business and Management Program instructor) I would choose this book as the text. If a client asked for a great book to enhance his/her leadership skills, (we consult in organization, compensation and performance management) this would be one of first books I would suggest. It’s that good! The book offers a comprehensive guide for developing leadership and people management skills. It’s a powerful, broad-spectrum leadership toolkit with a wealth of information about skills and practices, and hundreds of suggestions and opinions from business and political leaders, consultants, and academics. This book is an outstanding resource for leaders and aspiring leaders. It is filled with an abundance of insights: the distinction it makes between a leader and a manager is one of the best, if not the best, we’ve read. Just a few of the subjects covered are: the leadership-as-servant philosophy; leaders as coaches and mentors; communication; motivation; leading and managing teams; women as leaders; managing power, politics and conflict; leading organizational and cultural change; creating an innovative organization; leadership and people management in high-tech, networked; and virtual organizations. Throughout the book are bullet-point lists, exercises, and to-the-point conclusions. It is clearly written and superbly organized. An excellent bibliography and subject index top off this outstanding work. We highly recommend this book.’
– Yvette Borcia and Gerry Stern, Stern’s Management Review

‘Maximum Performance is a comprehensive business tome. Although it is designed for students, busy executives who use the chapter summaries or chapter sections to focus on topics that interest them will find the book useful. Organizations with large collections on management or leadership will want to buy it. Business researchers with limited library space or who are looking for a good summary of current management topics may also find the book of value. . . The strength of Maximum Performance is its breadth. Forster touches on everything from whether leaders are born or made to Machiavellian strategies for dealing with toxic work environments. Anyone interested in ideas on leadership will likely find several sections of interest. Those sections that are particularly strong include the discussions on the different roles and organizational context of leadership, key issues in motivating employees, the team development process, and best practices in leading organizational change.’
– Scott R. Jenkins, Business Information Alert

‘Nick Forster’s large text is for MBA students. He writes in a clean, clear style and frankly admits that leadership and people-management skills cannot adequately be learned from books. He knows however that good books can help, and also that clichés of management can be inspirational and will be used widely though they call for close analysis of substance or context. He is in this a modern-day Samuel Smiles, equipped with a variety of diagnostic tools.’
– The Australian

‘In my experience a major shortcoming of most “how to” books on leadership and management is that they purport to offer “Silver Bullets” – magical solutions that, once revealed, will enrich and transform the reader and his or her organisation. Regrettably, business life is not that simple. Rather, it is characterised by uncertainty and lack of precedent and complicated by the different wants, needs and motivations of people. Nick Forster’s practical book, grounded in many years of leadership and management development and MBA education, recognises this complexity and the folly of “one-size-fits-all” solutions. It is a valuable source book, packed full of useful ideas for current and aspiring business leaders.’
– Michael Chaney, Australian Businessman of the Year 2003 and CEO of Wesfarmers – the Australian Financial Review’s Company of the Year 2002

‘Maximum Performance delivers what it promises. It is practical, useful and well grounded in up-to-date research findings from across the globe. Nick Forster writes well, with a lively voice and has peppered the text with rich examples and case studies. The diagnostic skill exercises and inventories offered throughout are especially helpful. The book meets the needs of both managers and students alike, across a wide span of experiences. Well worth the investment.’
– Barry Posner, Santa Clara University, California and co-author, with James Kouzes, of The Leadership Challenge

‘Maximum Performance is an essential read for all business owners, managers, consultants and key decision makers. It is an outstanding and comprehensive insight into the broad range of managerial and leadership issues which confront business people today. It is practical and littered with excellent case study examples and illustrations. Its unique style is easy to read, thought provoking and demystifies concepts that are easily misunderstood outside an MBA course. Grasp and digest this book quickly because it’s the smart thing to do.’
– Barry Smith, the General Management Consulting Group

‘Nick’s book is an energetic and down-to-earth exploration of the many dimensions of this enigmatic thing we call leadership. It is a distillation of much knowledge, experience and insightful observation. There is refreshing and satisfying clarity of discussion; with comment on many management theories, explanations of evidence and research and the consequences of their applications in organisations. The pages are brimming with examples, keeping the messages real, practical and always interesting. Maximum Performance is thought provoking, and the reader is constantly challenged to assess his or her own knowledge, experience, attributes, perceptions and behaviour. It is a wonderful resource for those beginning their endeavours, introducing them to the complexities of leading people, and a delightful summary of instantly recognisable experience to those who are well on the journey. It is hugely valuable to all, whether for new knowledge or a welcome refresher. And, there is just a touch of irreverence, adding an enjoyable balance to a serious subject.’
– Penny Flett, CEO of the Brightwater Care Group and Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year, 1998

‘We all seem to know when we are receiving good or bad leadership, yet for many of us being a good leader seems to be so elusive. Why is this so? The fact that we are human and sometimes trapped by our wants, needs and motivations inevitably gets in the way, and leadership within Local Government is fraught with complex problems and competing forces both internally and externally. Maximum Performance will be an extremely useful aid for all who are looking for a practical, sensible and thought provoking insight into management and leadership issues. Nick provides an excellent insight into the mysteries of management and leadership with this very practical and useful book that I am sure will be a great resource for current and emerging leaders.’
– Ricky Burgess, CEO of the Western Australian Local Government Associaton and the Australian Institute of Management Business Woman of the Year, 1997

‘As consultants working with small to medium sized businesses, we are always searching for practical resources to recommend to our clients that can help them put their activities into a broader perspective, and help raise their understanding and expectations of what their businesses and employees are capable of. Maximum Performance is such a resource. Not only does it demonstrate the true value of good leadership, people management skills and the role of organizational culture in developing, motivating and retaining good staff, it also juxtaposes these with broader issues such as managing change, creativity and innovation, managing employee knowledge and intellectual capital, and the impact that emerging technologies will have on business and organizations in the near future.’
– Philip Watson, the General Management Consulting Group
Contents: Preface 1. The Foundations of Leadership and People Management 2. Personal Performance and Stress Management 3. Communication at Work 4. Employee Motivation, Empowerment and Performance 5. Leading and Managing Teams 6. Doing it Differently? The Emergence of Women Leaders 7. Managing Power, Politics and Conflict 8. Leading Organizational and Cultural Change 9. Innovation and Organizational Learning 10. Managing Employee Knowledge and Intellectual Capital 11. Leadership and People Management in High-Tech, Networked and Virtual Organizations 12. Leadership and Business Ethics Conclusion: Leading and Managing People at Work Appendix 1: The Business Case for Emotional Intelligence Appendix 2: The Benefits of Health and Wellness Programs Bibliography Index
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