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Book Review: Table for Three? by Darryl Rosen

Having read stacks of management books, I’m fed up with hearing about the traits that great managers should possess, such as Integrity, Humility, and Transparency. C’mon — are managers people or Greek gods?

I say, toss out the sandals and togas and tell me about the guy who’s a genuinely good person, but curses at his employees from time to time. Or the gal who conducts screamingly boring meetings and then is stunned to discover that no one was listening.

Real flesh and blood managers are human beings like the rest of us — and they make stupid mistakes.

That’s why it was so refreshing to read the delightfully funny and clever book by Darryl Rosen, called Table for Three? Using Your Smart Phone at Lunch & 50 Dumb Mistakes Smart Managers Don’t Make! (2012, $19.99).

Rosen is a well-known motivational speaker and performance coach for managers and sales professionals. For many years, he served as president and owner of Chicago-based Sam’s Wines & Spirits, which he grew from a small single operation to a multi-unit retailer with nearly $70 million in sales. Along the way, he learned from his own management errors how to coach talent, keep people motivated, inspire salespeople, communicate effectively, and be a more influential leader.

Table for Three? comprises 50 short chapters, each one devoted to a classic mistake Rosen has observed as one of America’s most seasoned executive and sales trainers. These range from dispensing too much advice and dousing people’s good ideas to neglecting top performers and passing the buck. Because of Rosen’s retail experience, there’s plenty here for sales professionals as well as those who manage, train, and develop sales teams.

Managers will see themselves in many of Rosen’s personal anecdotes, and they’ll have fun reading this book because the mistakes are so very human and recognizable. Written in lively, entertaining prose, the book offers self-coaching lessons designed to help smart managers make small behavioral changes that add up to big results over time.

Rosen’s key message? The difference between smart managers and stupid ones is that smart managers see the impact their mistakes have on the performance of their employees and sales professionals — and ultimately on customers and profit. By correcting their errors, they will see noticeable improvement all around them.

Rosen says improvement is about taking small steps forward. It’s about evolving just a little bit each day. Think evolution, not revolution. Change one behavior this month and another behavior next month. Over time, you’ll be better off and so will your people. By avoiding or correcting the 50 mistakes in Table for Three?, anyone can learn new ways to navigate workplace relationships, problem-solve creatively, manage time, build credibility, and improve one’s own character and effectiveness.

Best of all, you don’t have to slog through the Seven virtues of Aristotle and Plato. You know how to be a good person already! But sometimes that doesn’t translate into workplace behavior, does it? If you’re a manager, pack this short but pithy book in your briefcase and read a three-four page chapter over your lunch break each day. It’s easy to digest, and you’ll learn a lot about yourself.

Visit the Table for Three? Website to order or for more information.

About Patricia Gale

Patricia Gale has written and ghostwritten hundreds of blogs and articles that have appeared on sites such as Psychology Today, Forbes, and Huffington Post, and in countless national newspapers and magazines. Her "beat" is health, business, career, self-help, parenting, and relationships.