While most graduates go their separate ways after the commencement ceremony, one group of 13 doctoral program alumni worked together to write a business book, People Practics: 17 Practical Tactics for Business & Nonprofit Success, released Tuesday. It is based on what they learned about organizational psychology. These new “doctors” graduated in April from Phillips Graduate University in Chatsworth, Calif., a standalone graduate school of psychology that was recently renamed the Phillips Education Center for Campbellsville University.
As the book’s editor, I (Deborah Jackson) was a graduate of the program, which taught students a mixture of business and psychology topics with the practical aim of making us better business consultants and leaders.
In 2017, the professor of my grad cohort’s Organizational Behavior course asked us to each write a book chapter as our final semester assignment. Those chapters became the basis of People Practics. I, as the book editor, coined the word “practics” as a combination of the words “practical” and “tactics.”
There are lots of business books out there. This one is unique in that it’s based on understanding human behavior and leadership in an organizational context. And because our grad cohort worked together to write it.
The book discusses topics such as employee motivation, teamwork, conflict resolution, best practices in leadership, improving organizational culture, strategic planning, process improvement and more.
Kristyl Smith, who wrote a chapter on how to best conduct research in your organization, says, “People Practics is the book I wish I’d had when I served as the executive director for a small nonprofit. The foundation of our doctoral program was to transfer high-level knowledge to everyday people. I believe we have accomplished that goal wonderfully in this book.”
Another of the book’s authors, Alice Nkore, an international student from Uganda, describes the diversity of the authors. “Another member of my grad cohort is originally from Ghana in West Africa,” she said. “We are mostly female and African American. We are diverse in terms of ethnicity, race, religion, and sexual orientation. Grad school became a great experience of learning to work together.”
Nkore characterizes the book as “written by experts in various fields. Every tactic presented is also based on extensive research. The book offers business information that any business leader would pay a consultant to provide.”
Sherman Mitchell, a nonprofit executive, wrote a chapter on how to manage change in organizations. Regarding the process of working with other students to attain a doctorate and then write a book together, he says, “I think of what psychologist Abraham Maslow said: ‘You will either step forward into growth or backward into safety.’ Our cohort had the audacity to not make excuses, to set a goal, work tirelessly, and trust the process. Our book affirms our ability to contribute to the world as leaders.”
The book’s authors work in various industries and capacities, including as business consultants, mental health professionals, marketing professionals, university instructors, small business owners, business managers, and nonprofit executives. Several have authored other books or have published articles in academic journals related to organizational psychology.
The 13 contributing authors are Bennett Annan, PsyD, EdD, MBA, MS, MA, LMFT; Margaret Easter, PsyD; Melanie Gharapetian, PsyD; Greg Hilsenrath, PsyD; Raffi Islikaplan, PsyD; Deborah A. Jackson, PsyD; Sherman L. Mitchell, II, PsyD, MAIOP, MPA; Jamie Menendez-Adamski, PsyD, MA; Ramila Naziri, PsyD; Alice Nkore, PsyD, MBA; Brandy Reid, PsyD, LMFT; Shari Scott, PsyD, MA; and Kristyl J. L. Smith, PsyD.