The books on this months reading list all examine different aspects of the new normal in the workplace. These books examine the perfect leadership mix, the new customer expectations, the technical skills and experience required to make the perfect hire, and strategies for using social media to tap into customer and employee needs.

The Diversity Index

by Susan E. Reed

American Management Association Professional

Reed, an award-winning journalist (CBS News, the New York Times, the American Prospect) suggests that in the 50 years after the Civil Rights Movement, there is a new crisis of opportunity in corporate America. Based on her groundbreaking study of Fortune 100 companies, The Diversity Index identifies takes an in-depth look at companies that have struggled to find the perfect leadership mix. Detailing the stories of executives of General Electric, Hewlett Packard, Merck, and PepsiCo, The Diversity Index distills into 10 clear steps the methods that the most successful companies used to develop integration, keep it growing, and empower their employees to develop new products and markets.

The Social Organization: How to Use Social Media to Tap the Collective Genius of Your Customers and Employees

by Anthony J. Bradley and Mark P. McDonald

Harvard Business Review Press

In The Social Organization, Bradley and McDonald, two of Gartners lead analysts, strongly advocate exploiting social technology. The authors share insights from their study of successes and failures at more than 400 organizations, which have used social technologies to foster and capitalize on customers and employees collective efforts.

In their book, the authors identify the core disciplines managers must master to translate community collaboration into otherwise impossible results. They define a compelling vision of progress toward a highly collaborative organization and show how to take community collaboration from risky and random success to measurable business value. They point out that rallying people around a clear purpose, not just providing technology, is essential while creating a collaborative environment and gaining adoption by employees.

The Perfect Hire: A Tactical Guide to Hiring, Developing, and Retaining Top Sales Talent

by Katherine Graham-Leviss

Entrepreneur Press

In her book The Perfect Hire, Graham-Leviss asks How many sales candidates have been hired for their technical skills only to be fired for their bad attitude? Too often experienced sales hires are fired because of poor on-the-job performance. Whether youve experienced such scenarios or you hope to avoid them, the takeaway is simplethe perfect hire requires more than technical skills and experience. The Perfect Hire invites you to stop the revolving door of sales hires by arming you with the critical steps to choosing the perfect hireevery time. Utilizing proven best practicesrevealed from the latest research in sales performance driversyou learn how to assess soft skills, problem solving abilities, and behavioral attributes, in addition to technical know-how, to select candidates who are well matched for the job, not just well qualified. Uncover the secrets to creating a successful hiring methodology that enables you to attract quality candidates; screen for high performers; predict on-the-job success; select the perfect hire; increase productivity; reduce turnover; and increase profits.

Wired and Dangerous: How Your Customers Have Changed and What to Do About It

by Chip R. Bell and John R. Patterson

Berrett-Koehler

Customer service industry veterans and bestselling authors Bell and Patterson analyze the current revolution in customer relationships in Wired and Dangerous. Bell and Patterson examine how the Internet has tipped the balance of power and forever changed the way customers and organizations interact. In the new normal, the customer is king. In their book, the authors provide a tested formula for restoring balance and transforming todays edgy customers into eager partners. Bell and Patterson assert that simply doing better at old approaches will not address what customers requirethat takes fresh perspectives and new practices. In Wired and Dangerous, they provide a comprehensive understanding of todays customers, outline concrete solutions in part two, and supply tools for implementing the solutions. The authors draw on practical real-world examples of successful and unsuccessful service models to illustrate their points.