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Arming managers with feelings.

Ken Wright tells the story of a car company that discovered a problem with one of its models' cruise control shortly after the cars rolled off the lot in 1987. The company promptly recalled the vehicles, fixed them, detailed them, filled their gas tanks and returned them to their owners.

The car company? Toyota.

Things have changed since Wright told that story in his 2009 book The People Pill, but the point of the story has not. Providing good customer service is still an effective way to keep customers coming back and doling out positive referrals. (If only Toyota had operated the same way in the past six months as it did in 1987.)


And providing good customer service is just one of the results Wright says you will see if you apply the "seven prescriptions" he offers in The People Pill. Wright says the medicine he offers will fix seven different types of people: employees who don't respect you, have bad attitudes, are discontented, underperform, aren't connecting with customers or aren't focused on the company's goals, and managers who can't lead. (The only problem for some executives might be figuring out into which category their employees fall.)

The People Pill doesn't break much new ground--books examining the psychological side of management science are a dime a dozen. So what, if anything, makes this book different and worth picking up (besides being an award-winner penned by a bestselling author)?

First, The People Pill is an uncommonly easy read for a book of average length. Hardly a page goes by (literally two or three) that isn't broken down with bullet points, subheads, highlighted quotes, sidebars or summaries. At times, the structure can be confusing, but it also makes it easy to return to for tips and refreshers.

Second, the book includes quality suggestions that can make your company a more fun and rewarding place to work. In fact, that's a recurring theme in The People Pill. Be it giving your employees rewards and extras for good performance or creating competitions within the workplace, Wright is able to make work sound like a blast. And he's refreshingly specific in offering directions and suggestions to extend rewards and benefits to employees.

Third, and most importantly, The People Pill will make you excited about digging into the trenches with the people you work with in hopes of succeeding together.

Wright does present a lot of common sense ideas in his latest book--at one point he reveals that "a detailed internal position description helps match candidate skills during interviews"--but the tips can point out things we easily let fall to the wayside when we're being lazy.

In the end, Wright wants you to be a good person in your business relationships. It's a nice thought--a great thought--but is it teachable? Can you learn it by picking up The People Pill? That's debatable. But it can help to be reminded that the good guys don't always finish last.

"Remember, successful business is all about feelings, so don't be afraid to address them," Wright says.

RELATED ARTICLE: Metalcaster's Translation

Many aspiring leaders have the skills and abilities to achieve great results, but they rely solely on those abilities and instincts to move their business forward. This is a limited perspective, however, and will offer limited success. Don't wait to change that perspective. We all know that in business, change occurs very rapidly, and now is the time for you to set a goal to learn how you can improve your authentic leadership skills.


Translation: You may have worked in metalcasting your entire life and know how to produce defect-free products, but that alone won't make you a good manager of a metalcasting facility. You'll also need to learn what it takes to lead your employees properly, and that takes an understanding of the way they feel.

Shea Gibbs, Senior Editor
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Title Annotation:NOVEL SOLUTIONS; The People Pill
Author:Gibbs, Shea
Publication:Modern Casting
Article Type:Book review
Date:May 1, 2010
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