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Synopsis

A manager's job is getting harder to do. But the central question for all managers - the one that separates great managers from the rest- is how to get the most from your people. What do you do when your most talented people fall short of their potential, or worse, fall off their game for awhile? How do you inspire a solid contributor to even more stellar performance? How do you find that spark? And turn it into a burning flame?

According to best-selling author and psychiatrist, Ned Hallowell, it's all in the brain. Creating that spark and inspiring someone to perform at their highest levels isn't rocket science; but it is brain science, and it has yet to be codified into a simple and reliable process that all managers can use.

Drawing from his expertise helping people reach their full potential and synthesizing the latest research on happiness, brain science, and performance, Hallowell does exactly that -- he offers a five step process that leads to peak performance. Based on the latest findings in the fast-moving field of high performance research and rooted in the work of Martin Seligman, Dan Gilbert, Marcus Buckingham, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, John Ratey, and many other experts in psychology and neuroscience, this book gives managers a simple and coherent framework for getting the best out of people:

(1) Selection - how to put people in the right job, and give them the responsbilities that literally make their brains "light up;"
(2) Connection - how to overcome the powerful forces that disconnect us interpersonally in today's workplace, and how to restore the positive connections that fuel superior performance;
(3) Play - why play is essential to peak performance, and how managers can get it right;
(4) Progress - when the pressure is on, how to challenge the right person at the right time;
(5) Recognition - why reward systems always decrease peak performance, and how managers can finally get this right

The value of the five steps is that each step builds on another. For instance, there's no point in challenging an employee to go beyond their personal best if you haven't bothered to ensure first that you've got them in the right job. And there's no way to successfully get someone to think more creatively if you haven't first established the personal connection with her so that she knows her wild ideas will be taken seriously. And there's no point in demanding more, if you haven't first given employees a chance to engage their imagination and play around with the things that "light up their brains."

Especially in times of mental overload and stress, when invoking people to suck it up or work even harder isn't an effective management tool, managers need a new game plan, like the one in this book, for helping their people perform at their best.

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