A clever parable that explores the relationship between management and leadership.
This book tells the tale of a clan of meerkats in the Kalahari deserA clever parable that explores the relationship between management and leadership.
This book tells the tale of a clan of meerkats in the Kalahari desert in Africa. The clan is very well organized and managed, with many rules, procedures, and policies for how to handle the clan's day to day activities. All is well until those rules, procedures, and policies fail to address changes in the environment (lack of rain and the arrival of vultures to name a couple). When a young creative meerkat named Nadia and her friends suggest new ideas for how to handle these changes, they are told "That's Not How We Do It Here."
Frustrated with the uncompromising leadership of their clan, these creative meerkats leave the clan in search of new ideas. They eventually come across a smaller clan with barely any rules, procedures, and policies, and where teamwork is prominent and new ideas are welcomed. But as the clan grows, the lack of rules, procedures, and policies causes problems, and disaster strikes.
Nadia then looks at how to combine the rules, procedures, and policies of her original clan and the less formal approaches of her new clan to find a solution to the problems facing both. Eventually she returns to her original clan to help its leadership change their approach to better adapt to the changes facing it.
The story told in this book provides an excellent look at the differences between management and leadership, and how organizations need a balance of both to survive in the ever-changing business world. In particular, this story highlights how organizations can grow so attached to their own rules, procedures, and policies that any new ideas are rejected out of hand simply because "That's Not How We Do It Here."
Following the parable and its happy ending, the last section of the book drops the meerkat analogy and describes the business principles explored in the parable, and outlines an eight step process for leading change (based on the work of the book's author).
If you're a fan of business parables, such as "Our Iceberg is Melting" and "Who Moved My Cheese", I expect you'll like this book too.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in management and leadership and how to combine balance the two....more
A little book that provides LOTS of answers for problem solving!
This book explores what the author calls the "7 Fatal Flaws of Thinking", or 7 tendencA little book that provides LOTS of answers for problem solving!
This book explores what the author calls the "7 Fatal Flaws of Thinking", or 7 tendencies people find themselves embracing when looknig for elegant solutions to problems. These flaws include:
* Leaping * Fixation * Overthinking * Satisficing * Downgrading * Not Invented Here (NIH) * Self-Censoring
Most, if not all, of these flaws will likely seem familiar to most readers, since they are things we've all done or experienced. For example, anyone new to an organization or company has almost certainly heard "that's not how we do things here" or a variation thereof after offering a new idea (a classic example of Not Invented Here).
For each of these flaws, the book not only describes the flaw, but also looks at the behavioral reasons and neurological basis for each, and provides fixes for each as well. The fixes offered are:
Leaping > Framestorming Fixation > Inversion Overthinking > Prototesting Satisficing > Synthesis Downgrading > Jumpstarting Not Invented Here (NIH) > Proudly Found Elsewhere (PFE) Self-Censoring > Self-Distancing
In addition to describing the specific flaws and their fixes, the authors uses a mantra throughout the book to illustrate the larger challenge we face when succumbing to these 7 fatal flaws:
"What appears to be the problem, isn't. What appears to be the solution, isn't. What appears to be impossible, isn't."
Put another way, we often tend to mis-understand the problem we're trying to solve, identify incorrect or inadequate solutions to those problems, and give up and claim our problems can't be solved. However, with the proper thinking tools (namely, the fixes he describes), we can identify the real problems we face, devise workable and effective solutions to those problems, and accomplish things we once thought were impossible.
The writing is very engaging and reader-friendly. The examples the author uses are clear and help illustrate and demonstrate the flaws and their fixes. The author introduces several chapters in the book with thought problems or exercises designed to highlight the specific flaw he is examining, and also challenges the reader to try these exercises on their own (and provides answers to some) to better engage the reader.
I have only one very minor quibble with this book, and that's the lack of a summary chapter. The author does includes some final thoughts towards the end of the last chapter, but I would have liked to see a summary.
I strongly recommend this book to anyone looking to improve their problem solving skills, or looking to learn more about how we think about and approach problems....more
An easy to read and helpful guide to improving your organizational and time management skills.
This book offers advice on how to become better organizeAn easy to read and helpful guide to improving your organizational and time management skills.
This book offers advice on how to become better organized and more productive. The author uses lots of examples from her experience as a consultant. The writing style is very casual, and the author does a good job of keeping the reader's interest.
The first section of the book focuses on organization, including how to organize your office, your desk, and your computer. There was a lot of emphasis on organizing paper and files in this section, and not as much about organizing electronic files or email. Given the general trend in business away from paper, I was a little surprised at how much time the book spent on the subject. At times in this section I wished the author had gone a bit deeper into some of the principles she describes. More than once, when I expected her to expand or elaborate on a point, she instead moved on to another idea or ended the chapter.
The latter half of the book is focused on time management and productivity. I liked this section more than the section focused on organization, as I thought the guidelines and suggestions in this section were more generally applicable and useful (at least to me).
Some of the ideas around time management that I especially liked include the author's "Time Management GPS" (Goals, Priorities, and Scheduling) and the author's "Productivity Potholes" including:
* Focusing too much on responding to emails and text messages * Interruptions, distractions, and over commitments, * Procrastination and putting off making decisions * Delegating and micromanaging
The author devotes long chapters to each of these common sources of poor time management and offers great insight and advice around each.
One of the things I liked most about this book is the way in which the author summarizes each chapter. Each chapter ends with the following sections
* The One Thing to Remember: A single sentence that summarizes the key message of the chapter * Three Things You Can Do: Three simple steps you can do to help put the chapter's ideas into practice * Write down one thing...: A call to action for the reader to write down *one* thing they plan to do differently or change * The Last Word: A quote or proverb related to the chapter's message
I'm a big fan of reinforcing ideas through repetition and summarizing and this format is a great example of how to do this in an efficient and elegant way.
I recommend this book to anyone looking for tips and advice on how to get better organized and improve their time management skills.
Disclaimer: I was given a free electronic copy of this book in exchange for honest review....more
Looking for "new" management ideas for the 21st century? If so, this book is for you!
Under New Management explores a number of uncommon and "radical"Looking for "new" management ideas for the 21st century? If so, this book is for you!
Under New Management explores a number of uncommon and "radical" and new business/management ideas, describing not only how they are currently in practice at various companies, but also how business owners and managers can apply the ideas to their own work places.
The book starts with a short history of Fredrick Taylor's promotion of "scientific management" and the significant impact it had on business in the 20th century before noting that "[it] became obvious as early as the 1950s that the tools of “Taylorism” weren’t going to work in the new world of work." The author then challenges readers to consider if it might be time to reexamine the management fundamentals in general practice today, and proceeds to dive into ideas around "new management."
The "radical" new management ideas covered in the book include: * Outlaw Email * Put Customers Second * Lose the Standard Vacation Policy * Pay People to Quit * Make Salaries Transparent * Ban Noncompetes * Ditch Performance Appraisals * Hire as a Team * Write the Org Chart in Pencil * Close the Open Offices * Take Sabbaticals * Fire the Managers * Celebrate Departures
As a fan of the author's previous book, The Myths of Creativity, I was eager to read this and it met and exceeded all of my expectations.
For each of the ideas covered in the book, the author starts with an example from a company currently employing the idea in practice, such as Netflix's "famous" unlimited vacation policy or Zappo's quitting bonus. These examples drill into the reasons these companies have adopted these ideas in the first place, as well as the specific ways in which they're implementing them. The chapters that explore these ideas also note that there are challenges associated with implementing them. For instance, the idea of unlimited vacation is one that many managers would balk at, simply due to concerns of employee abuse. Many of the chapters address these concerns, citing how managers and leaders in the example companies deal with the challenges inherent in adopting these new approaches. Many of the companies adopting these ideas are quite well known (such as Netflix, Zappos, or Virgin Group) while others are less well known, but one thing these example companies all have in common is that they have seen real, tangible benefits from adopting these "radical" new ideas.
At first glance, it might be easy to write off many of the ideas in this book as flukes that can work only in specific cases at specific companies. However, the book doesn't stop with simple anecdotes. In addition to anecdotes and examples, the author also cites research in the social sciences related to the ideas in this book. For example, in the chapter about Netflix's unlimited vacation policy ("Lose the Standard Vacation Policy") the author spends considerable time looking at the idea of trust (a "word commonly used by leaders who advocate vacation nonpolicies") and its relationship to decision making and studies in neuroeconomics, "an emerging field that studies human decision-making through the lens of traditional economics but also through the scientific study of the brain." This inclusion of related research makes the ideas in this book even more compelling. Beyond the anecdotes of how these ideas have been implemented, the related research provides insight into why these ideas work, and how they can work in other organizations.
I think companies and organizations should consider all of the ideas in this book, but of the ideas presented in this book, I especially liked “Put Customers Second,” “Ditch Performance Appraisals,” and “Take Sabbaticals.” I like these ideas because they are particularly focused on employee welfare and satisfaction. Employees are among a company’s most important stakeholders and I believe it’s vital for companies to nurture and support the people who make their businesses successful.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in management and business looking for new ideas for moving their companies and organizations into the 21st century and beyond.
[Disclaimer: I received a complimentary electronic copy of this book for being part of the book's "Launch Team".]...more
An engaging and inspiring look at leadership and personal development through the lens of Walt Disney and Disneyland.
This book explores a number of leAn engaging and inspiring look at leadership and personal development through the lens of Walt Disney and Disneyland.
This book explores a number of leadership and personal development lessons based on the history of Disneyland and Walt Disney. There is a lot to learn from the principles and practices used by Walt and his Imagineers when they built Disneyland, and not just about themed entertainment. The stories of the birth and development of Disneyland in this book highlight these pearls of wisdom and show you how you can apply them in your own life.
Some of the chapter titles hint at the lessons covered in this book and include: * Pursuing Your Passion * Telling Stories * Facing Fear and Failure * Mastering the 4 Cs (Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Constancy) * Learning Your Lessons * Building a Berm * Using Forced Perspective * Detailing Your Destiny * Taking Care of Your Team * Creating E-Ticket Experiences
Each chapter in this book is structured in the same way. Each opens with a quote from Walt Disney, followed by a story or anecdote about Walt and/or Disneyland that illustrates a leadership or personal development lesson. Following this is a story from the author related to the lesson (how he applied the lesson himself or how he helped others do so). After this each chapter includes a "Souvenir Stop" that includes questions for the reader and/or other ways in which the reader can apply the lessons to their life (more on this below). Each chapter ends with a section called "Getting Your Hand Stamped" that feature stories that (in the author's words) are "meant to be memorable and, hopefully, they will leave a lasting impression, thus "stamping" the lesson from each chapter on you, the reader."
I especially liked the "Souvenir Stop" and "Getting Your Hand Stamped" sections in each chapter. The former provides suggestions and guidelines for how you can apply the principles and ideas from that chapter. Beyond just telling stories and describing ideas, the author provides ways for readers to apply what they're reading about to their own lives in simple and practical terms. Likewise, the "Getting Your Hand Stamped" sections serve as an excellent way of further reinforcing the message in each chapter.
I love books about Walt Disney and Disney parks, and I enjoy books about personal development and leadership, so this book was a must for me. I bought this almost immediately after learning about it (the next day in fact), and it didn't disappoint. I read this in just 2 days. The writing is engaging, approachable, and friendly, and the author does a great job of wrapping his lessons in stories that help the reader understand how each lesson can apply to their own life. Even if you've read other books about Disneyland, Walt Disney, or personal development before, as I have, you'll find something new and valuable in this book. I found myself pleasantly surprised at some of the insights and lessons I encountered in this book - both about Disney and personal development - and I definitely plan to read it again.
I have a couple of minor quibbles with the book. First, I would have liked the book to have an index, as there are lots of concepts and stories in this book, and finding them after the fact is difficult without an index. Second, there were a few spots (very few and far between) where I questioned the author's facts. This is a very minor point to be sure, especially because in the case of this book, what's most important about the stories are the principles and lessons, not the accuracy of the details. None of the things I spotted, which again, were very few, had any impact at all on the message the author was trying to convey. I only noticed them because I've read a lot about Walt Disney and the Disney parks. One of the challenges for Disney authors, historians, and researchers is that because nearly all the information available about Walt and the building of Disneyland is second-hand, it's difficult to know what the truth is in some cases. These are both very minor issues, and neither detracted from my enjoyment of the book.
As you can probably guess, I definitely recommend this book. If you're a fan of Walt Disney, Disney parks, or personal development, buy and read this book! You'll be glad you did!...more