In this unconventional but reflective self-help manual for managers in all manners of commerce, the author—a longtime marketing executive and manager for large telecommunications firms—posits that it is our perceptions of our status, our relationships, the quality of our work, and our collective goals that affect human behavior and motivation more than any hard data, shared knowledge, or managerial finesse.
To explain his complex theory, Erwin Aguayo, Jr. uses a variety of tools, including scientific studies; personal anecdotes; charts, graphs and surveys; pop culture references to shows such as The Sopranos; and observational assessments of businesses ranging from the local car wash to multinational conglomerates. He frames the book as “an intimate conversation between you and you,” although its narrative structure, which runs from defining the concept to goal setting to implementation, is more straightforward than this might suggest.
The definition of perception is fairly obvious: “Perception encompasses all the body and mind processes used to attain awareness and/or understanding of sensory and cultural information that leads to the way we think, feel, know, decide and behave on the job.” Aguayo postulates that when the perceptions of a business’s managers, employees, clients and customers are in alignment, teamwork is fostered, and success follows organically. However, he also says that the goal of stimulating perceptions is to spark “positive acausal behavior,” which teeters on the edge but doesn’t quite stumble into outright psychological manipulation.
The book offers fairly conservative tools to survey employees, assess the state of their perceptions about their work, and determine the appropriate channels to embed the desired messages within an employee base. HR managers are more likely to embrace this kind of thinking than, say, creative types, but more straight-laced thinkers will find a warmly written self-help book that falls somewhere between the contrarian psychology of Malcolm Gladwell and the Dale Carnegie classic How To Make Friends and Influence People.