The People-Profit Connection

How Emotional Intelligence Can Maximize People Skills and Maximize Your Profits

By G. Brent Darnell; BDI Publishers, Atlanta, 2011; third edition, 157 pages

In the latest edition of the “People-Profit” series, which began in 2004, Brent Darnell expands and refines his pioneering approach to how emotional intelligence plays a key role in construction. Says book booster Hank Harris, president of FMI Corp., “The human-resource challenges of the new millennium have industry players scrambling like never before to capture and utilize talent.”

Darnell covers the gamut of EI topics and people-skills building, from how to coach alpha males and manage “life balance” to teamwork and multicultural challenges. An engineer who grew up in a construction family, Darnell is more than a touchy-feely consultant and counts as clients more than 70 industry firms and several major groups.

Darnell admits the subject is outside the comfort zone of many construction professionals, but with 85% of firms' financial success rooted in “human engineering,” the book may help many managers and superintendents triumph in this tricky area. Darnell also is author of the “For Tough Guys” series that offers added tips on relationships, stress management and presentation skills. For more information, go to

Ready for Takeoff!

A Winning Process for Launching Your Engineering Career

By Dean C. Millar; Prentice-Hall, 2011, 316 pages

Millar, an ex Union Carbide engineer and university engineering-school assistant dean, lays out a detailed blueprint for engineering students—and practitioners—to plan and execute careers, from freshman-year planning to people-skills building to becoming an entrepreneur. Chapter topics were vetted by Millar's students and their mentors, and each ends with quick “takeoff tips” and content test questions.

It's About (Us) Them

Building the Market-Driven Organization

By Richard G. Jacques, AIA; Jacques Management LLC, 2011; 188 pages

An architect's experience, talent base and mastery of tools such as BIM are core competencies, but firms need to refocus on clients. With 40 years in design and business consulting, the author argues that understanding the owner perspective is key and offers new insights into the vision, business goals, structure, market position, values and expectations of clients. The book will help raise readers' level of client engagement.

Design and construction firm managers can handle some of the toughest technical, logistical and physical demands on jobsites, but they also can be absolute wimps when it comes to managing their people challenges. In an industry driven by human interractions and networking, the “people-profit connection” has never been more important.