Excerpt from feedback notes on;
Conceived as a cutting edge business manual that goes beyond standard management principles to exploring the personality traits and psychological habits of anyone in the workplace. The premise here is that by understanding these underlying forces, a company can establish better communication and enhance productivity.
A Manuscript Review and Analysis Of
Engagement is Not Enough!
You Need Passion to Achieve Greatness
I am intrigued by the idea of a cutting edge business book that goes beyond standard management principles to exploring the personality traits and psychological habits of anyone in the work place. The premise here is that by understanding these underlying forces, a company can establish better communication and enhanced productivity.
What makes this approach especially unique is the notion that intelligent corporate leadership must build trust and people skills, maximizing talent and inspiring employees to be truly engaged, self-directed, and passionate about their work.
To accomplish this, I really like the technologies you've chosen--including the DiSC model, the Whole Person Concept, and the still-fresh I'm Okay-You're Okay theory--all of which go a long way in explaining why people do the things they do. I was particularly fascinated by the differences in people who do or do not require control or affiliation in their work environments.
The promise you offer is a tantalizing one: Should a corporate executive master these principles, the result can be sterling business results and enhanced human fulfillment. It does, however, require great sensitivity and self-discipline to carry out your recommendations--and I question whether or not most corporate executives would be willing to retrain themselves and exercise the skill necessary to accomplish this goal, as you describe it.
Nonetheless, it's a provocative and inspiring model. As Tony Robbins often says, you need to be a 'practical psychologist' to maximize your effectiveness as a leader.
The book, overall, is very well-organized and carefully thought out. There does, however, tend to be a repetitive quality content-wise that must to be eliminated in order to streamline the manuscript, which is overly long. A good line editor who approaches the material with a fresh eye could cut out the 'fat' and thus make the book more readable. Throughout my report, I point out material that could be excised.
In many cases, you've offered too much theoretical detail or given too many examples, slackening the momentum of the book. To correct this, you need to do three things: eliminate the repetitions, cut down some of the theory detail, and use more dramatic examples to illustrate your points.
Remember: Illustration rather than explanation is always a more effective teaching tool--and more entertaining for the reader. This is why so many self-help books are packed with real-life stories and interventions.
Beyond the content, the writing style is serviceable--concise, clear, and straightforward--though not particularly elegant or imaginative in its choice of words. There tends to be a sameness to the rhythm of the language which, at times, can be numbing and rather textbook like. At all costs, you want to avoid the tone of an in-house company memo or an academic paper. To make the narrative more dramatic, you need to vary the rhythm of sentences, alternating punchier, shorter sentences with longer, more descriptive ones. This will give the book more energy and forward movement.
You can also employ more humor--funny, entertaining vignettes from your corporate experience that will liven up the otherwise serious tone. Also, as a technique common in teaching books, you can more often employ bold face print to underline your main points.
Most of the time, the sentence structure is grammatically correct, though I've pointed out a variety of awkward or run-on sentences that require repair. I recommend using a line or copy editor to correct such passages. I've re-written various sentences from time to time to give you an idea of how they could be corrected and how I might sharpen the meaning of your intended message.
Overall, the graphics are excellent—well thought-out and clearly designed in illustrating your main points. Particularly effective is the Passion Pyramid and the Whole Person Concept. I've indicated a few places in the text where I would create additional graphics to clarify your points.
The chapter titles (which don't always match your table of contents) are serviceable, though uninspired and pedantic. I really think you want to STUDY the chapter titles of some business or self-help books to spark your imagination in creating titles that are more inventive. For instance, just glance at some of these chapter titles designed for a new self-help book I've worked on:
Armed & Ready: An Emotional Fitness Plan For Life
Chapter 16 Time for A Change - Nature's Guarantee
Chapter 19 The Right Stuff: The Influence Of Your Peer Group
Chapter 20 The Meter's Running: The Moodscape Of Your Life
Chapter 23 Creating a Compelling Future: The Picture Of Your Destiny
Chapter 24 Bringing Your Dreams to Fruition: The Technique Of Emotional Flooding
Chapter 25 The Chokehold on Happiness: STRESS
Chapter 27 Your Global Solution: The Ultimate Safety Net
Chapter 28 Energy Tapping: The Portable Miracle
So in your book, for example, even if you were to add the word HONING to chapter four's People Skills, it would improve it. Even better would be something like: Becoming Your Own Psychologist: Honing People Skills to Excel, or something like that. Or in chapter nine: Instead of just Mentoring (too dry), choose something like: Passing On Your Skills And Support: The Art of Mentoring, or something like that.
In any case, the chapter titles here are dry and flat and need to reflect the energy and creativity you've injected into your text.
As a footnote, the Action Steps included here are not as well-developed as the rest of the text. As I write later in this report, I would recommend NOT including them in the main body of the book, but instead producing a workbook that could accompany this book now or at a later time.
Also: I would rethink the main title as I believe it should be more specific to the true content of the book, which discusses “passion” and “greatness” and “engagement” relatively little. To that end, I'd create as the main title something like Leadership Effectiveness or Becoming The Leader You Want To Be. A title like this has a promise in it whereas the current title one--Engagement Is Not Enough!--is a negative statement, while the meaning of engagement is not immediately clear.
Next, your subtitle--You Need Passion to Achieve Greatness--a declarative sentence, is too long and somehow cliche sounding. Yes, everybody knows passion is an ingredient of greatness--but in the corporate workplace, I think your book is stressing communication more than greatness.
Moreover, the word “greatness” doesn't really speak to your main point, which is the necessity of leadership understanding what makes people tick. I'd replace your current subtitle with something catchier, using the idea that intelligent leadership requires knowing the people who surround you.
The first words presented to your readers are crucially important in capturing their attention and setting the tone of your book. So often, people pick up a book, read a few pages, and close it. Therefore it's vital that you captivate the reader right from the start. Your introduction begins rather matter of factly with a question--which is fine--but it feels almost as if we're entering the book from the middle.
Remember: you're welcoming the reader into your world and you must do it with a great sense of beginning, especially since your book is quite long. Rather than immediately explaining the distinction between engaged/not engaged/actively disengaged, I would BACK INTO the concept by offering a short scenario, a story about three employees, each distinctly different. Describe each one of them and how they operate. Give each one a name. Then, once you've drawn the reader into the story, make your point and draw your conclusion. Otherwise, the text is too dry.
But even more important: Your introduction is supposed to be a welcome mat to the reader, presenting a BROAD perspective of what your book is going to cover. In other words, a Preface or Introduction offers the reader a series of PROMISES. You seem to get specific too quickly, which is one reason why it feels like the reader is entering the book somewhere in the middle. The reader, even the business person, wants to be engaged before we get too deeply into the specifics. [So I would move some of your general material about what the book includes higher up into the Introduction.]
On page 6, when you refer to the high cost of lack of engagement, you will need some STATISTICS about the revenue and time companies lose due to employee malaise. Quoting Gallup is good starting point at the bottom of page 7 but you need more. A Google search would easily produce more raw data.
Throughout your book, when you draw conclusions, it's always most effective to back up your points with specific anecdotal or statistical data. For instance, on page 7, you assert that 100% of what companies pay actively disengaged employees is lost, yet since they're physically present and doing something at their desks, surely they're worth more than zero, no? The worldwide statistics of engaged employees is shockingly low. [I hope, at some point, you're going to describe the psychological dynamics about WHY people are so disengaged at work. Are they bored? Tired? What?]
It's fascinating to read that nearly every employee begins a new job 100 per cent engaged, and six months later, the number drops precipitously. Why is that? You seem to imply on page nine that it's a failure in “leadership.” I'm wondering if the “pink cloud” syndrome of any job fades once the sameness begins to dull the senses. One would wonder if the employee becomes less engaged because they master the job and then become bored by doing the same thing over and over again. Or is it because they're not given incentives to produce and grow more? These are the kinds of questions I'd like to see answered. Also: I'd like you to talk to a PSYCHOLOGIST who can give some nonbusiness-related insight into the psychological underpinnings of employee malaise.
Otherwise, you seem to be placing all the responsibility for what happens on management/leadership--while the relationship between a leader and a team is a PARTNERSHIP. The employees, who are adults, have a responsibility to maintain their own level of energy and enthusiasm.
Your distinctions on page 10-11 about the reasons leadership fails are quite interesting, but not always adequately flushed out. How does a preoccupation with profits alienate the employee? What is right-brained thinking? You skip over all this quickly. The third point is well-made, but there's a puzzling reference on page 12: “Over the past two years, we have surveyed thousands of employees...” Who is WE? This is the first time you've mentioned that word. You need to FRAME your introduction by explaining what you do, who you are, what your company does, what your role is in the company, and what experience you have. I assume WE is your company, but you've never mentioned it. This is crucial and should come earlier.
Note: By this point in the Introduction--just eight pages into it--the text is beginning to drag. Why? It's because the Intro is too long, has too many points in it, and doesn't have the get-up-and-go, let's-get-to-work, here's-what-we're- going-to-learn quality to it. It would need significant trimming and a reworking in TONE, so that it truly offers the promises that any reader requires. Notwithstanding this point, the content of the text is fine.
Finally on page 16, we get to a very interesting point about the NEEDS of the employee, needs that must be met in order to maintain their state of engagement. The title of the first one seems too general. Perhaps you could find a better way to say it, expounding on the idea of respect, being listened to, and having a sense of accomplishment.
Your first CHART is beautifully organized but quite complex with many terms and concepts poured into it. Some of them you've mentioned in the text, but not all. It seems a bit overloaded for an Introduction. When Tony Robbins presents charts sequentially in his workbooks--they always start off rather simply, then add more layers as we progress. In this case, it seems as if you've added too much into the Pyramid too soon. I assume you're going to explain many aspects of the chart as we progress into the book. Nevertheless, I would NOT have a chart in an Introduction. It's too much, too soon.
It isn't until the LAST paragraph that we get any of the flavor one would expect for an Introduction, i.e. saying what this book is going to do. Finally, you write: “This book does just that.” It's this paragraph that really needs expanding in an interesting way. You need to explain what this book is intended to do. Who is it for? Exclusively business leaders? Or would it be useful to people in other professions as well? Define your audience.
In any case, as I said above, it feels as if the Introduction has been over-packed with information, while the actual payoff (the last paragraph) is too truncated, almost tagged on as an afterthought. This paragraph should appear much earlier in the Intro and frame the points you make around it. You might begin something like this:
“What does every business leader need to know? How can he or she not only boost profits and productivity but also manage employees so effectively that they're fully engaged and energized by the challenges before them? The secrets to this are...”