Page 62 - Foreign Service Journal - February 2013

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62
FEBRUARY 2013
|
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
Factors: Cracking the Code” by Greg
Engle would be worth the price of the
book. A former Peace Corps Volunteer
who is now Peace Corps country direc-
tor in Ethiopia, Engle draws on postings
ranging from Korea and Germany to
Togo and Iraq to illustrate the value of
sensitivity to cultural, religious and lin-
guistic diferences. Tose examples will
be particularly relevant to private-sector
managers embarking on their frst over-
seas job, but they are useful reminders
for everyone in the
Foreign Service,
Te discus-
sion of the rela-
tive cost-efec-
tiveness of using
Foreign Service,
Foreign Service
National and Tird
Country National
staf for various functions is cogent and
thought-provoking. Such a comparative
approach is stimulating and should be a
much more regular feature of manage-
ment literature and training courses
than it is now.
Engle and Nagy’s recommenda-
tions on how to prepare for an overseas
managerial assignment are a bit over-
whelming at times, even for experienced
ofcers. But FSOs should defnitely keep
their comprehensive checklists handy
for reference. Readers will also fnd tips
in each chapter for keeping the home
ofce informed and attuned to the feld
perspective.
Te authors candidly share their
mistakes, as well as their successes,
in dealing with overseas management
challenges. Indeed, there is a Harvard
Business School case study quality to
this book, as you are brought into situa-
tions where you ponder what your deci-
sion might be and critique those of the
BOOKS
I’d encourage FSI to
incorporate a video
segment conducted
by the authors into its
orientation course for
new chiefs of mission.
The View from the Field
Managing Overseas Operations:
Kiss Your Latte Goodbye
Gregory W. Engle and Tibor P. Nagy Jr.,
Vargas Publishing, 2012, $18.99, paper-
back, 236 pages.
Reviewed by Bob Houdek
Te co-authors of this book are two of
the most accomplished management
ofcers the Foreign Service has ever pro-
duced. Tey are
feld men who
took on tough
assignments and
were invigorated
by challenges,
whether as a
general services
ofcer or an
ambassador. In
their second careers as academics, Greg
Engle and Tibor Nagy have collaborated
on a most readable book that draws on
their combined six decades of interna-
tional experience.
Managing Overseas Operations: Kiss
Your Latte Goodbye
is primarily geared
to managers of international organiza-
tions, diplomatic missions and nongov-
ernmental organizations. But Foreign
Service management ofcers will also
appreciate its wealth of practical guid-
ance.
As its title suggests, this is not a dry
academic treatise replete with footnotes,
extensive empirical data and theoretical
nostrums. Rather, it is a compilation of
practical advice delivered in an informal
and most digestible manner, using anec-
dotes from Engle and Nagy’s careers to
underline the advice being ofered. Te
chapters are presented as meetings with
one of the authors to discuss each topic.
Just the chapter on “Cross-Cultural
authors. Tey are particularly profound
in discussing safety and security plan-
ning, what to do when crises strike, and
managing people and facilities under
extreme conditions. Te recent Benghazi
tragedy underlines the need for this
kind of systematic thinking about the
unthinkable.
Managing Overseas Operations: Kiss
Your Latte Goodbye
should be on the
reading list of every U.S. frm sending
managers overseas. But I also commend
it to students in management courses
at the Foreign Service Institute. In fact,
I’d encourage FSI to incorporate a video
segment conducted by the authors into
its orientation course for new chiefs of
mission.
Bob Houdek served as chief of mission in
Eritrea, Ethiopia and Uganda, deputy
assistant secretary for African afairs, and
national intelligence ofcer for Africa,
among many other assignments during his
35-year Foreign Service career. He is cur-
rently a retiree representative on the AFSA
Governing Board.
A Fateful Eight Years
No Higher Honor
Condoleezza Rice, Broadway Paper-
backs, 2012, $18, paperback, 765 pages.
Reviewed by William D. Bent
As the old saying goes, “You can’t know
where you are going until you know
where you’ve been.” Tat’s one reason
I strongly recommend that all foreign
afairs practitioners, especially Foreign
Service ofcers, read Condoleezza
Rice’s memoirs of her time during the
frst George W. Bush administration as
national security adviser and as Secre-
tary of State during his second term.
Te attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and