Many of you know me as “Steve the Data Modeling Addict” and this title is definitely true, but you may not know that I also manage Technics Publications (www.TechnicsPub.com), a publishing company specializing in data management and business texts. We currently have over 50 titles, and on average publish about six a year. I have a unique approach to deciding which books to publish – it is not based upon potential revenue or the hottest trends – instead my general publishing guideline is “Would I want to read the book?” Every one of our titles is a title that I published because I knew I would enjoy reading it. So when Bob Seiner asked me to be his columnist to talk about some of the books we have published, I jumped at this opportunity. I know our books very well (from a publisher as well as from a reader perspective).
In this column, I will talk about three books we have published recently, and the common theme across all three is “improving the business”. The titles are: Non-Invasive Data Governance by our own Bob Seiner, Competing to Win by Dr. Ted Marra, and And People? Why Are Managers’ Cars the Most Important Asset in Every Organization? By Ivica Vrancic.
Non-Invasive Data Governance describes an approach to data governance that does not involve a major overhaul or disruption of current roles and functions within an organization. Bob Seiner describes his approach as “non-invasive” meaning the focus is on formalizing existing accountability for the management of data and improving formal communications, protection, and quality efforts through effective stewarding of data resources. As a reader, what I liked about the book was the practical messages presented in a very clear and conversational writing style.
Seiner defines data governance as: “…the formal execution and enforcement of authority over the management of data and data-related assets.” Chapter 1 explains the need for the book, Chapter 2 defines data governance, Chapter 3 talks about why data governance is important, Chapter 4 helps you define your data governance program, Chapter 5 covers data governance best practices, Chapters 6-10 roles and responsibilities, and Chapters 11-13 data governance tools such as the Common Data Matrix. The book is concise and to the point and Seiner’s humor comes across on the pages. Bob is actually going to be on a popular radio show shortly – a well-known talk show station in Pittsburgh will be doing two interviews with Bob over the coming months. Please check out the interview at bit.ly/1da2VjT
Competing to Win is our first book geared towards senior management. Dr. Ted Marra has an incredible amount of management and strategy experience, and was even a senior policy advisor to President Ronald Reagan (as well as many other leaders in the governance and business space). In this book, Dr. Marra explains through his experiences why executives must challenge the status quo to find greatness. Much of the approach in the book is dedicated to questions for senior managers to ask about their organizations. I found these questions very stimulating for me as the manager of our publishing empire (ok, a one person company), as many of these questions I never asked myself – sometimes we get so involved in the day-to-day operational environment, that we don’t think too much about six or twelve months out.
Competing to Win will help you think more about where the organization should be going, through over 150 questions such as these:
- What does it take to build and maintain a truly enduring and continuously successful business – one that stands the test of time, turbulence and change and despite all that has continued to set the standard forperformance and excellence by which other organizations are measured?
- What really makes your organization unique? What really distinguishes us in the minds of our customers or other key stakeholders – makes us stand out in a way that motivates customers to want to do business or have a relationship with us rather than a competitor? What are those most important factors which form the foundation of that uniqueness and our competitiveness as an organization?
- Have you and your leadership team described your business model in a clear and understandable manner that any employee could grasp? Have you examined each component of that business model to identify the value it adds to the long-term future success of your business? This includes the leadership team itself, culture, values, beliefs, core shared purpose, renewal (integration of innovation, adaptation and learning), principles of engagement (sustainability, governance, corporate social responsibility), and vision. What are your conclusions? What actions should you now take?
And People, by Ivica Vrancic, is a business book which challenges why most organizations “say” that people are their most important asset but rarely do these organizations act on this principle. Ivica’s Eastern European perspective, enhanced with best practices and research studies, covers the secrets for successfully leading and managing people. Part textbook, part handbook, each word is crafted based upon author Ivica Vrancic’s 20 years of experience in management and consulting, which includes working with hundreds of managers from all hierarchy levels.
I enjoyed Ivica’s writing style, and it is a small thing but I love how his bold quotes at the beginning of each chapter are woven into the chapter contents. Any business book that starts off with a quote from Gandalf (The Lord of the Rings), tells the reader right away this is no ordinary management book. Chapter 1 distinguishes leadership from management, Chapter 2 explains how to motivate employees, Chapter 3 covers organizational culture, Chapter 4 talks about recruiting and keeping top employees, and Chapter 5 covers employee development.
I am looking forward to sharing with you some more on our books in our next TDAN column!