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Terms of Engagement

New Ways of Leading and Changing Organizations

by Richard H. Axelrod, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, San Francisco, 2010, 228 pp., $$29.95 softcover


Terms of Engagement: New Ways of Leading and Changing Organizations by Richard Axelrod is the best how-to book in management to come along in several years. The book is directed to administrators and managers in business, politics and other organizations, yet it is a worthy text for educational administrators.

Author Richard Axelrod has extensive experience as a management consultant for numerous organizations and teaches at Columbia University and the University of Chicago. The book contains a trove of methods and processes that can assure expected results.

Axelrod provides a management-focused global position system that can be used by school leaders to discover where they are and to chart a way toward accomplishing goals.

The book has 12 chapters filled with pithy topics organized to capture and engage the reader’s attention. The reader can learn from actual case studies: Till the Soil-Plant a Few Seeds-Weed the Garden-Provide Water-Reap the Harvest. He delivers the message succinctly.

The book goes directly to the basic hardcore realities of managing change. Axelrod presents the basics for everything from how to have a meaningful staff meeting to creating communities for action. He presents a prescription for how to succeed.

Terms of Engagement is a substantive presentation on effective ways of leading and changing organizations. Administrators who are serious about becoming a change agent will do well to spend some quality time with this book and make it an addition to their professional library.

Reviewed by Darroll Hargraves, management consultant, School and Community Resources, Wasilla, Alaska



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