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Book Review: The Magic Question by David Cottrell

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The Magic Question: A Simple Question Every Leader Dreams of Answering by David Cottrell is an excellent management resource aimed at motivating people. The book explains in detail what characteristics are needed to be a good coach.

Cottrell believes that everyone in an organization should be in synchronization with goals and priorities for getting things done according to a uniform metric. The author quotes Johann Wolfgang von Goethe on the subject of setting priorities when he states: “Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.”

A coach defines what is important from the outset. Explanations to staff and relevant others should be clear, consistent and simple to interpret or apply. Frequently, coaches seek out quality feedback so that projects don’t go too far off targeted goals. The author explains the importance of consulting with key team members on a periodic basis.

A good coach encourages team members and provides performance feedback on a regular basis. Most importantly, people must know that management cares about them and appreciates their efforts. Lastly, coaches need to remind team members of what’s expected and the timeframe for project deliverables.

The Magic Question is an important work on the dynamics of project management, teamwork, goal congruency, goal measurement and providing incentives so that a team can function efficiently. The presentation is easy to read, understand and apply. A beauty of the work is that the style of writing is conversational so that the author emulates typical instruction sets provided in an actual workplace.

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About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.