HR manager's bookshelf
New Canadian offerings cover the HR spectrum

By Ray Brillinger
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 07/08/2002

New role, new reality

By John O. Burdett, 182 pages (2000), Executive Forum, (416) 925-0866, 1-800-443-6452,

HR executives with responsibilities related to senior level recruiting, coaching and performance may find valuable insights and ideas in this new book on the executive integration process. Toronto-based consultant John Burdett calls this integration process a dilemma because it is so often neglected or poorly handled, and the costs are so high.

Based on his international consulting work on leadership, Burdett addresses the question: how can a leader be effectively supported through the transition when moving into a new organization, or finding herself in a very different role because of a merger, acquisition, promotion or transfer?

Readers will find a road map through the undefined territory of culture change, role definition, team relationships and business requirements facing a new leader. Some chapter headings convey the challenges:

•Is how I got here aligned with future success?

•Building a career plan;

•What I really need is someone to talk to; and

•All this and I also have to coach?

The writing style ranges from practical discussion and checklists, to philosophical questions of meaning and direction.

Burdett relies on models to show the dimensions of issues such as: leadership competencies, elements of the coaching relationship, discontinuous change, career stages, and team development to name a few.

The book will also be of interest to leaders going through transition, as a source of self-help guidance.

“A better way is possible only if the organization introduces the tools that allow the new executive to take responsibility for his or her own integration. Equally important, a better way is possible only where the new executive is given a clear path to follow.”

The Quality of Work: A People-Centred Agenda

By Graham S. Lowe, 213 pages (2000), Oxford University Press, (416) 441-2941 or

Lowe is a University of Alberta Sociology Professor and director of the Work Network at Canadian Policy Research Networks. He offers research and discussion and argues for an agenda that stresses work quality as “a common ground for employers with an eye on productivity and individuals seeking greater challenge and meaning in their work.”

Chapters include:

•The future of work;

•What Canadians want from work;

•The ‘new economy;’

•Education, skills and the knowledge economy;

•Youth and work;

•Workplace innovation; and

•Unions and the quality agenda;

HR policy professionals, employee and labour relations leaders and those with public policy interest and involvement will find lots of information and thought relevant to current workplace and social issues.

The Portable Mentor

By Cy Charney, 322 pages (2000), Stoddart. At bookstores or (416) 445-3333.

This book is “a quick-reference guide filled with advice on how to handle almost every situation that might arise at work, from selling yourself at a job interview through to leaving a company on good terms with a graceful exit interview.”

Entries are arranged alphabetically from A - absenteeism, to W - working at home and writing skills. Along the way, readers will find advice on career planning, communicating, feedback, mentoring, project management, re-engineering, selling ideas and time management. There are pointers, quotes and checklists of what to consider and how to approach each challenge.

Some highlights:

•Becoming a champion of change;

•Meetings: attending other people’s, keeping them short, managing people;

•Politics in the office: a survival guide; and

•Teamwork: getting off on the right foot, dealing with difficult people;

Sections are brief and emphasize ideas for getting started and avoiding mistakes. The book is a companion to Charney’s The Instant Manager (Stoddart, 1999).

More Games Teams Play

By Leslie Bendaly, 351 pages (2000), McGraw Hill,


Here’s the sequel to Toronto consultant Leslie Bendaly’s popular Games Team Play (McGraw Hill, 1996) which featured team exercises and the “Team fitness test” for diagnosing team improvement needs.

In this new volume, more than 30 meeting, conference and teambuilding workshop games are presented for working on problem solving, communication, creativity, conflict management, cohesiveness, influence, feedback and team spirit.

Each activity is outlined in detail with objectives, the time and materials required, specific steps and degree of complexity.

The First Step: Student Safety Handbook

London Occupational Safety and Health Information Service (LOSH), (519) 433-4156,

This colorful, easy-to-read guide for students and employers features clear definitions, pictures, checklists and tips for avoiding injury, disease and death at work. Chapters include:

•Common hazards: physical, chemical, biological, confined spaces;

•Recognizing and controlling hazards through WHMIS, MSDS and other tools;

•Ontario laws offering protection: OHSA, WSIB, Employment Standards Act, Labour Relations Act and Human Rights Code; and

•Farm, domestic and federal government workers

Appendices provide definitions and a wide range of sources for getting help. The book is dedicated to the memory of Tim Hickman, a London college student killed by a gas explosion on the job at a London arena in 1996.

Performance First Series

Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council, order through provincial councils, information at

CTHRC works with the tourism industry to enhance the professionalism of the Canadian tourism workforce. This series offers “straightforward human resource management tools to help you succeed” in seven workbooks:

•Setting the stage: a guide to employee manuals and orientation;

•One-on-one training: an employer’s guide to coaching and mentoring;

•Great performances: a guide to employee evaluation and development;

•Winning ways: a guide to giving recognition in the workplace;

•Predicting performance: a guide to recruiting and interviewing;

•Less talk — more communication: a guide to communication in training; and

•Making training work: a guide to developing effective training plans.

A second CTHRC series, Business Builders offers eight workbooks covering business strategy, marketing, management and labour relations, operations and financial planning topics.

Ray Brillinger is a senior consultant with the IBM Consulting Group. He provides change management, business transformation and organization effectiveness services to client organizations. He can be reached at (905) 316-4646 or

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