Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Book review: Fire Them Up!
Fire Them Up! promises to explain 7 simple secrets to "inspire colleagues, customers and clients," "sell yourself, your vision, and your values," and "communicate with charisma and confidence." American workers are unhappy in their jobs, Gallo argues, and the solution is better leadership.
The seven secrets (acronym: INSPIRE) are...
- Ignite your enthusiasm: "Successful leaders are fired up about what they do and have an extraordinary ability to generate excitement in others."
- Navigate the way: "Create an emotional connection with an audience by articulating a vision so bright, so magnificent, the rest of us cannot help but come along for the ride" (in 10 words or less).
- Sell the benefit: "People are inspired when they know how your product or service will improve their lives."
- Paint a picture: "Inspiring individuals sell themselves, their vision, and their values by turning their message into a story that piques your interest, keeps you entertained, makes it easy to remember key points, and, above all, leads you to take some sort of action."
- Invite participation: "Listening is not enough. Asking for feedback, and taking action based on what you hear, makes all the difference."
- Reinforce an optimistic outlook: "People who nail Simple Secret #6 always see a better tomorrow and help their colleagues, customers, or clients do the same."
- Encourage their potential: "Encourage people to reach their potential by effectively praising them, emotionally investing in them, and helping them to unleash their talents."
Each tip is illustrated with the stories of leaders, from top executives like Patrick Charmel, CEO of Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn., to Krista Hawkins, Hyudai auto plant tour guide in Montgomery, Ala. Gallo, a communications coach and former journalist, hosts the Useful Commute podcast and is a speaker who also wrote 10 Simple Secrets of the World's Greatest Business Communicators. This background explains why many of his tips include advice on making good presentations.
Part II of the book shows how individuals -- Steve Jobs, Disney teacher of the year Ron Clark, Peter Fleischer of Ketchum -- apply the secrets to their work. The fact that Gallo included a wide range of jobs and people throughout the book is a real strength, in my opinion.
Although I'm usually skeptical of a book that promises "simple steps" to anything, I would definitely consider assigning to my students various chapters from this book, such as "Paint a Picture" for PR writing or "Navigate the Way" for a discussion of vision and mission in PR administration. They're clearly written, lively, and provide relevant examples. Moreover, the book draws upon rhetorical theory and provides tips on using such literary tools as analogies and metaphors, which is not often the case in the popular business press. I would also include it on a list of choices for student book reviews in the administration class. It's a cut above many of the business/leadership books I've seen.
Labels: book review