AMA Business Boot Camp: A book review by Bob Morris

AMA Business BootAMA Business Boot Camp: Management and Leadership Fundamentals That Will See You Successfully Through Your Career
Edward T. Reilly, Editor
AMACOM (2013)

Information, insights, and counsel that are fundamental to personal growth and professional development

The term “boot camp” is apt because the material that Edward Reilly has obtained, edited, and organized in this volume is as basic to business as the training in a boot camp is to military service. As I began to work my way through this book, it occurred to me that (with appropriate modifications) it could be incorporated into an onboarding/orientation program for new hires because, in my opinion, it could help to establish a solid foundation for subsequent formal training and information supervision that strengthens and enhances a person’s leadership and management skills.

Presumably Reilly has taken full advantage of his access to a wealth of material that has been accumulated by American Management Association (AMA) over several decades. His focus is on what works, what doesn’t, and why. He organizes his material within three Sections (Essential Management Skills, Senior Management Skills, and Action Items) that consist of seven chapters, followed by three appendices: “Self-Assessment on Comfort Level with Delegation,” “Coaching Planning Worksheet,” and “Project Management Planning Template.”

These are among the dozens of passages I found of greatest interest and value, also listed to indicate the scope of subjects that Reilly covers throughout his narrative:

o The Roles of Manager: Leader, Director, Contributor, Coach, Facilitator, Observer, Innovator, and Organizer (Pages 3-6 )
o Questioning Styles: Open-Ended, Close-Ended, Probing, and Hypothetical (12-14)
o Performance Management Is…and Performance Management is Not…(26-28)
o Five Steps to Delegation Success (42-44)
o The Hiring Process — Recruiting (64-72)
o The Triple Constraints of Project Management: Time, Cost, and Scope Requirements (92-94)
o Planning a Project (109-123)
o A Strategic Frame of Reference (143-148)
o Behavior of a Leader: SPARK (167-174)
o Measures of Success: 10 Critical Indicators (174-176)
o Forty (40) rules for success in office politics (195-201)

To repeat, Reilly’s focus is on what works, what doesn’t, and why. I also appreciate his strategic placement of clusters of “action items” accompanied by specific suggestions as to how execution of them can have the greatest impact. This really is an operations manual that explains fundamentals for effective management, not an encyclopedia with definitive coverage of everything a leader and manager needs to know. True, its material can help to achieve organizational objects but I think it can also be of substantial value to individual executives at all levels and in all areas of the given organization as well as to those now preparing for a career in business or have only recently embarked on one.

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