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LEAN Supply Chain Planning: The New Supply Chain Management Paradigm for Process Industries to Master Today's VUCA World
LEAN Supply Chain Planning: The New Supply Chain Management Paradigm for Process Industries to Master Today's VUCA World
by Josef Packowski
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 80.86
17 used & new from CDN$ 80.86

5.0 out of 5 stars How to thrive in a VUCA world, July 11 2014
Of all the areas of operation that organizations have, especially those in process industries, none can derive greater benefit from LEAN thinking and methodologies than can supply chain planning. Of course, even if the planning is supervised by the author of this book, Josef Packowski, the supply chain will not achieve the given objectives unless managed with meticulous care. The reverse is also true: brilliant management cannot solve all of the problems that result from a poor plan.

What we have in this volume is the introduction and examination of a "New Supply Chain Planning Paradigm," one that offers "a new approach to managing variability, uncertainty, and complexity in today's planning processes and systems." As Packowski explains, "Within the new LEAN SCM Planning paradigm, we are mastering variables with a two-sided approach. We manage the demand variability in supply chain planning now on both sides, on manufacturing capacities and in inventories...To make this happen, we have developed a disciplined approach to the dynamic adaptation of inventory target levels to changing conditions along the supply chain." In other words, the new planning paradigm offers end-to-end supply chain management in coordination with a transformation program with a holistic approach and a step change in performance. Organizations in process industries will thus be able to master today's VUCA world, one in which volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity are more pervasive and disruption than at any prior time that I can recall.

More specifically, Packowski provides a brilliant explanation of business issues, initiatives, and challenges such as these:

o The compelling need for LEAN SCM today (Chapters 1-3)
o How to design and build LEAN SCM (4-7)
o What to implement and transform for LEAN SCM (8-11)
o How your industry peers gained benefits by LEAN SCM (12)

Part IV consists of one chapter, Chapter 12: "Read How Top-Industry Players Share Their Experiences with LEAN SCM." This material is especially important because Packowski anchors key concepts in real-world experiences with LEAN SCM at AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Novartis, PharmaCo, and PCI (a BASF company). Obviously not all of this material is directly relevant to the needs and interests of every reader but each portion of it will be of substantial interest -- and benefit -- to some readers.

I especially appreciate Packowski's skillful use of various reader-friendly devices such as an introduction that really does explain what this book is about (many others don't), a "Reader's Guide," dozens of "Tables" and "Figures" inserted throughout the narrative, key point clusters in each of the chapters, and "Chapter Summaries." These and other devices will facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of key material later. I do very much regret the absence of an index. It is imperative that one be added if and when there is another edition.

When concluding the last chapter, Josef Packowski observes, "As shown by the industry cases in this chapter, leading companies from pharmaceutical and chemical companies are increasingly adopting LEAN principles and concepts in their supply chains. All these companies found that a more efficient management of variability results in substantial performance improvement. By reducing variability in the supply chains, both customer satisfaction and cost efficiency increased to a large extent."

I presume to add that, although the information, insights, and counsel provided in this book will probably be of greatest value to large organizations with extensive and complicated supply chains, much of that same material can also be of great value to leaders of small organizations that are a part (albeit a small part) of those supply chains. Just as all organizations -- regardless of size or nature -- need effective leadership at all levels and in all areas, they also need LEAN thinking to make the right decisions that will increase productivity and efficiency by reducing waste.

Hunting in a Farmer's World: Celebrating the Mind of an Entrepreneur
Hunting in a Farmer's World: Celebrating the Mind of an Entrepreneur
by John F. Dini
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.94
11 used & new from CDN$ 15.44

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why all "farms" need both hunters and farmers, July 10 2014
During his remarks at an annual meeting of GE shareholders, then chairman and CEO, Jack Welch, said this when responding to why he wanted GE to behave like a small company: "For one, they communicate better. Without the din and prattle of bureaucracy, people listen as well as talk; and since there are fewer of them they generally know and understand each other. Second, small companies move faster. They know the penalties for hesitation in the marketplace. Third, in small companies, with fewer layers and less camouflage, the leaders show up very clearly on the screen. Their performance and its impact are clear to everyone. And, finally, smaller companies waste less. They spend less time in endless reviews and approvals and politics and paper drills. They have fewer people; therefore they can only do the important things. Their people are free to direct their energy and attention toward the marketplace rather than fighting bureaucracy."

This way of doing business is the result of a mindset, what John Dini would characterize as the "hunter's mindset." In fact, it's a business way of life. As he explains, "Building a business isn't just an `itch.' Entrepreneurs are driven to hunt and win. Some are born, some choose to be entrepreneurs and some stumble into it by circumstance. Not all entrepreneurs own a business, and not all business owners are entrepreneurs. But entrepreneurs are the hunters of the 21st century and they all have specific traits in common." More about these traits in a moment.

This is a theme that Larry Schweikart and Lynne Peterson Doti examine in their brilliant book, American Entrepreneur: The Fascinating Stories of the People Who Defined Business in the United States. Surveying entrepreneurship from Christopher Columbus and Benjamin Franklin through Kemmons Wilson and Ray Kroc to Steve Jobs and Martha Stewart, they explain how and why they and dozens of others were the "hunters" in their own time. This is what Dini has in mind when suggesting, "bringing in new sources of revenue is hunting. Finding and training great employees is hunting. Closing deals is hunting. Motivating people to excel is hunting."

The business world needs hunters but at also needs farmers. In fact, Dini suggests -- and I agree -- that, during the last four centuries and especially during the last two, the business world has been a farmer's world. That is to say, executives tend to be managers rather than entrepreneurs, focused primarily on increasing the efficiency and profitability of the status quo. Dini cites tasks such as these on which managers tend to focus:

o Manage what can be measured
o Develop job descriptions
o Know the numbers and balance the books
o Pursue Six Sigma quality
o Formulate and enforce policies and procedures

Dini fully understands and appreciates how important tasks such as these were. However, with regard to aforementioned "traits," he suggests that these words are music to hunters' ears:

o Do something you love
o Make a lot of money
o Don't sweat the small stuff
o Work hard and work smart
o Have fun

Many managers become vulnerable to what James O'Toole aptly characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom." They tend to be staunch defenders of the current status quo, after having led the charge to replace the previous one. As indicated, Dini realizes that efficient and profitable organizations need both hunters and farmers. In his book, he explains how they can work effectively together, and, how best to lead both. Hunters and farmers pose different challenges while being able to add value in different ways.

Several books published in recent years share much of value about the complicated relationships between leaders and follows. The U.S. Marine Corps offers an excellent case in point. There is, heaven knows, a crystal clear chain of authority but a general will defer to the expertise of a private when an important decision must be made if the private has better information, sharper skills, etc. to answer a question or solve a problem. Dini points out that hard-charging entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs may chew up people like a rolling ball of butcher knives but will defer to better-informed and better-qualified managers in a comparable situation.

I think this book is a must read for anyone now preparing for a business career or has only recently embarked on one. Also for entrepreneurs whose companies are now struggling and need a turbocharger of street smarts and reassurance. Although it has less than 200 pages, John Dini has provided in it a wealth of invaluable information, profiles, mini-case studies, insights, and counsel. Bravo!

The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm an America at War
The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm an America at War
Price: CDN$ 10.58

5.0 out of 5 stars A true tale "that rivals the weirdest fiction and wildest imaginings of the comic books.", July 7 2014
In his previously published book, Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans, A.J. Baime carefully guides his reader through a narrative of increasing tension and apprehension until Chapters 21-23 during which the 24-hour "Grand Prix of Endurance" is run at La Mans on a racetrack described in the Detroit News as "a cornfield airstrip in the jet age. It was built 50 years ago for cars that went 65 mph. Tomorrow [June 18] 55 race cars - some of them capable of 225 mph on the straightaway and all of them over the 130 mph class - will get off at 10 A.M. (Detroit time) and it will be a miracle if no one gets killed. Nobody is fearless. Some of these drivers are scared stiff." The climactic race in 1966 had an especially controversial conclusion, what was widely viewed as an "infamous photo finish" and won "by a technicality." The details are best revealed within the narrative, in context.

All of Baima's unique and abundant skills are again evident in The Arsenal of Democracy as he examines combat on several different fronts beyond those in the East and West during World War Two. First, we have the dysfunctional relationship between Henry Ford and his son, Edsel. There are also the bitter, sometimes violent conflicts between Ford and just about everyone else who did not share his views concerning the federal government, labor unions, and Jews. Meanwhile, Edsel Ford and other industry leaders scrambled to overcome all manner of barriers to producing the "guns, planes, ships, and many other things" that President Roosevelt called to win the war.

According to Baime, "In 1941, Ford and his only child, Edsel, launched the most ambitious wartime industrial adventure ever up to that point in history. [Note: The advent of the Manhattan Project was still months in the future.] They attempted to turn their motorcar business into an aviation powerhouse, to build four-engine bombers, the weapon the Allied leaders thirsted for above all others. The older Ford (Henry was seventy-six when the war began) was one of the nation's richest and most controversial men, an ardent anti-war activist and accused Nazi sympathizer. His only child, Edsel, was a tragic Gatsby-esque character who was dying of a disease all his riches couldn't cure."

These are among the dozens of subjects Baime discusses that were (and are) of greatest interest to me:

o The significance of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "Arsenal of Democracy" speech on December 29, 1940
o Henry Ford's greatest strengths and weaknesses as a business executive and as a human being
o Harry Bennett's relationship with Ford and the company
o The ups and (mostly) downs of Ford's relationship with Edsel
o Charlie ("Cast Iron") Sorensen's relevance to various cries, conflicts, and events that occurred
o Ditto Charles Lindbergh's
o President Roosevelt's evolving relationship with the development of his nation's "arsenal of Democracy"
o Baime's evaluation of Edsel Ford's contributions to the war effort
o Baime's thoughts and feelings about him as a human being
o Henry Ford II's significance during the 1940s, and especially after being named president of Ford Motor Company

I am grateful to A.J. Baime for all that I learned about several of the "back stories" to the United States' creation of an Arsenal of Victory in collaboration with Great Britain and Canada. I did not full appreciate, until reading his book, the "meaning and special genius" of that concept as well as the sacrifice in terms of human lives made by those who flew the big bombers that eventually destroyed the arsenal that Germany so vigorously defended. Sorensen once characterized the bomber-an-hour challenge as a true tale "that rivals the weirdest fiction and wildest imaginings of the comic books." Baime captures the life of that story in his book. Bravo!

Challenge the Ordinary
Challenge the Ordinary
Price: CDN$ 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars "Yesterday's dangerous idea is today's orthodoxy and tomorrow's cliché." -- Richard Dawkins, July 7 2014
I agree with Linda Henman that, in order to thrive, indeed just to survive -- at least for a while -- organizations must not become hostage to what James O'Toole so aptly characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom." As I worked my way through Henman's narrative, I was again reminded of Marshall Goldsmith's admonition, "What got you here won't get you there." I presume to add that what got you here won't even allow you to remain here, wherever and whatever "here" may be. That's why leaders must constantly challenge their organization's status quo. That's what Richard Dawkins had in mind when making the observation that I selected to serve as the title of this review.

And that's why Henman wrote this book. More specifically, to help leaders to "abandon conventional mindsets, question long-held assumptions, and kill their sacred cows." She obviously agrees with Bob Kriegel: "sacred cows make the best burgers." It is no coincidence that many (if not most) of the companies Fortune magazine annually ranks among the most highly regarded and best to work for companies are also annually ranked among those that are most profitable and have the greatest cap value in the industry. They are extraordinary companies and, as often as not, created and sustained by what seem to be ordinary people. In Chapter 9, Henman advises, "Don't recruit a star; create a constellation."

In one of Tom Davenport's recent books, Judgment Calls, he and co-author Brooke Manville offer "an antidote for the Great Man theory of decision making and organizational performance": [begin italics] organizational judgment [end italics]. That is, "the collective capacity to make good calls and wise moves when the need for them exceeds the scope of any single leader's direct control."

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Henman's coverage.

o The Paradoxical Organization: Transient and Timeless (Pages 14-16)
o Head in Exceptional Directions (38-42)
o The Feud Between Strategy and Decision-Making (50-55)
Note: Peter Drucker once observed, "There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all." In the same vein, Michael Porter has observed, "The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do."
o Values: The Foundation of Your Legacy (63-69)
o Indecision: The Culture Killer (71-73)
o Quality: The Advantage for Outgunning the Competition (82-88)
o Customer Focus: Impressing [and Convincing] the Ultimate Judge (90-95)
o Agility: The Guns, Germs, and Steel of the Organization (95-98)
o Ethics: Doing Well by Doing Right (103-106)
o Expertise: The Raw Data of Talent (106-109)
o Excellence: Consistency of Performance (110-114)
o Traits of Virtuosos (120-126)
o Raw Talent: Accept No Substitutes (126-128)
o Beware Snakes in Suits (131-135)
o Falling Stars and Snakes in Suits (141-145)
o Snake or Bad Match? (159-164)
o A New Model of Leadership (173-182)
o The Eight Virtues of Virtuoso Teams (194-209)
o Formulate a Solid Business Strategy (214-221)

With appropriate modification, most of the information, insights, and counsel that Henman provides can be of substantial value to leaders in almost any organization, whatever its size and nature may be. For example, she suggests four traits of the exceptional organization:

1. Strategy: "Separating the Notes from the Noise"
2. Culture: "Separating the Duck from the Quack"
3. Excellence: "Separating the Ace from the Pack"
4. Talent: "Separating the Rose from the Poison Ivy [or Thorns]"

Exceptional organizations differentiate themselves from competition, of course, but also differentiate themselves from what they have done and how they have done it until mow. All of the observations quoted earlier all speak to that mindset far more eloquently than I can, urging leaders to formulate strategies that guide and inform, indeed drive initiatives in a culture within which innovation is most likely thrive.

I agree with Linda Henman that non-negotiable values determine how people treat each other but there is always room for improvement in the work they do and how they do it. If your organization is not as yet extraordinary or once was but has lost its way, here is -- in my opinion -- the best single source to learn not only how to challenge the ordinary but, more to the point, to replace it with a mindset, strategies, and tactics that will achieve increasingly better performance at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise.

Difference: The one-page method for reimagining your business and reinventing your marketing
Difference: The one-page method for reimagining your business and reinventing your marketing
Price: CDN$ 3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars How to combine difference thinking with empathy to reveal truth, recognize the opportunity in that truth, and then act on it,, July 7 2014
According to Bernadette Jiwa, Steve Jobs was a "difference thinker," one who had a highly developed talent for connecting dots. In fact, it involves much more than that. "It's about seeing the truth, recognising the opportunity in that truth and [begin italics] then [end italics] acting on it. You need to learn how to see the dots and understanding the significance of connecting them before you can begin. And you can do that only identifying with and understanding somebody else's feelings and frustrations. That's what Steve Jobs did intuitively; he had the ability to stand in a potential user's shoes and understand the impact that an innovation and its design might have on that person's life (and thus in the market). This is something you can train yourself to do."

The Japanese term "kaizen" means continuous improvement and is a never-ending process, a philosophy, a business way-of-life, rather than a destination or specific project. The title of one of Marshall Goldsmith's recent books suggests that "what got you here won't get you there." In fact, I presume to add, what got you here won't even keep you here, wherever and what "here" may be. One of the most difficult challenges for business leaders is to make certain that their organization is significantly different (i.e. significantly better) from its competition but also from what it may be now. In fact, what has been a strength (size, scope, diversification of products, etc.) can become a weakness or vulnerability.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Jiwa's coverage.

o Thinking Difference (Pages 1-3)
o The Lost Art of Marketing (11-14)
o The Secret if Disruptive Innovations (18-19)
o The Elephant in the Marketing Room: The Power of Emotions (20-22)
o What You Measure Matters, But What's Hard to Measure Might Matter More (31-32)
o Rethink Groupthink (35-36)
o The Currency of the Future: Deeper Connections (39-41)
o Difference Core Principles (44-46)
o Using the Difference Map: Eleven mini-Case Studies (53-72)
o Using the Difference Map: The Template (74-75)
o How You Create Difference (77-79)

In essence, Jiwa suggests this approach: Creating difference "is about seeing things in a whole new light. It's about re-imagining what the problem or the need might be, and then deciding that you [and your associates] will do whatever it takes to be the one to solve the problem for people. This approach leads to the creation of innovations and solutions that redefine the rules of the game, that reinvent a category or experience."

I agree while suggesting that, when abandoning traditional mindsets, questioning long-held assumptions, and killing sacred cows, business leaders would be well-advised to keep in mind this observation by Richard Dawkins: "Yesterday's dangerous idea is today's orthodoxy and tomorrow's cliché."

Trajectory: 7 Career Strategies to Take You from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
Trajectory: 7 Career Strategies to Take You from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
Price: CDN$ 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars "What got you here won't get you there." Marshall Goldsmith, July 7 2014
Think of an organization's history as a journey that begins at Point A and ends at Point Z. Now think of that process in terms of its trajectory - the course it follows - and the extent to which individuals as well as organizations control it. David Van Rooy recommends seven strategies to guide and inform as well as support a trajectory, all of which are based on a solid foundation. He devotes a separate chapter to each of the strategies and they are best revealed in context, within the narrative. However, I don't think I will compromise anyone's reading of this book but pointing out that no one can control what happens during a trajectory's tenure but it is possible to control responses to detours, setbacks, barriers, and threats. Van Rooy offers a wealth of information, examples, insights, and counsel with regard to how to managed trajectories while duly noting that no two trajectories are the same. The importance of preparation and resilience cannot be exaggerated.

Readers will appreciate the inclusion of exercises that will facilitate interaction with the material in each chapter. A page is then provided for "Notes," although I strongly recommend also having a lined notebook near at hand to supplement highlighted of key passages. Shrewd business leaders will re-read the book at least once and revisit the exercises 6-9 months after first completing the exercises and complete them again, this time taking full advantage of what has been learned since first reading the book and applying at least some of the material it provides.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Van Rooy's coverage.

o Your Trajectory's Foundation (Pages 9-10)
o A Matter if Mindset (14-17)
o Overcoming Your Own Resistance (33-36)
o Capitalizing on Feedback (42-45)
o Environmental-based and Unconscious Feedback (46-51)
o The Psychology of Persistence (57-61)
o "Range Restriction" When Hiring (67-69)
o Learning from Navy SEALs (72-74)
o Reach for Your Summits, and Goal Management (82-89)
o Distracted Decision Making Stabilization and Flow, and, Look Past Success to New Innovation (92-97)
o Stabilization and Flow, and, Look Past Success to New Innovation (116-124)
o Stagnation in Concept, and, (Two) Types of Stagnation (131-143)
o Halting Stagnation (148-151)
o Uncover the Positive (164-168)
o Visualize Your Success, and, Believe Your Success (185-189)
o Enjoy Your Success (198-202)

I agree with David Van Rooy: "There is a reason that the windshield is bigger than the mirror: It is more important to focus on what is ahead of you than on what you left behind. You learn from the latter, occasionally look back to ensure that you don't repeat mistakes, and then look ahead. I will leave you with this: Be true to yourself. Be true to others. This will be the authentic you. If you do, you will own your trajectory. Now go get it. Live your trajectory."

To these observations I presume to add another, a lesson learned from failure rather than from success: You can control everything that happens to you but you CAN control how you respond to what happens to you. Whatever goals you set, the pursuit of each will have its own pace and pattern, its own definition. Achieving one goal may facilitate (perhaps expedite) achieving another. Expect barriers, setbacks, and distractions.

Individuals have careers; organizations have histories. With only minor revisions, Van Rooy's recommendations can help to elevate and extend the trajectory of either. Meanwhile, Shakespeare's Polonius was right when advising son Laertes in Hamlet (Act I, scene 3):

"This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."

Code Halos: How the Digital Lives of People, Things, and Organizations are Changing the Rules of Business
Code Halos: How the Digital Lives of People, Things, and Organizations are Changing the Rules of Business
Price: CDN$ 16.72

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why halo issues are, in fact, business issues for everyone involved in the given enterprise, July 4 2014
So, what's a Code Halo? Is it what virtuous spies, geeks, and quants receive upon entrance to heaven? No. According to Malcolm Frank, Paul Roehrig, and Ben Pring, "A Code Halo is the field of digital information that surrounds any noun - any person, place, or thing. More often than not, that virtual self can provide more insight into - and thus generate more value from - the physical entity alone." The more information -- relevant information -- that can be obtained about a given person, the brighter that person's halo will shine. Consider the results of six companies that have taken the greatest advantage of such information: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Pandora, and Netflix. They comprise what the co-authors characterize as the "First Trillion Club." In 2003, their combined market capitalization was $1.2 trillion. Ten years later, it was at least 40 times greater. Consider, also, the fate of those who competed with them: Borders, Nokia, MySpace, Yahoo!, HMV, and Blockbuster.

The more information -- to repeat, relevant information -- a company has about its customers, the better prepared it is to accommodate their needs, interests, dreams, concerns, goals, and preferences. How to do this? Read and then re-read this book with appropriate care, highlighting key material and recording notes in a lined notebook while doing so.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Frank, Roehrig, and Pring's coverage.

o The Five Business Code Halos: Overview (Pages 28-32)
o Employee Code Halos: New Ways for Team Members to Connect and Solve Problems (33-34)
o The Partner Code Halo: Weaver of Webs (34-35)
o The Enterprise Code Halo: Brand Aggregator (35-37)
o The Amplifier: The Internet of Things Is a Network of Code Halo Amplifiers (39-43)
o Successful Algorithms Power Code Connections and Create Insight (47-48)
o Business Analytics Drives Both Cost Containment and Revenue Growth (91-96)
o Actions that leadership teams can take to make Code Halos "fundamentally attractive and compelling" (103-116)
o Create Moments of Magic Through Correlations Found in Big Data (111-114)
o Putting the "Dark Side" into Context -- Four Perspectives (119-126)
o Taking Action to Avoid "Evil" (126-144)
o Align IT Along Three Horizons (159-163)
o Create a Spark: Pilot Your Best Code Halo Solutions (194-204)
o Ensure a Balanced Focus on All Five Elements of Your Code Halo's Anatomy (212-215)
o Clear Rules for Winning at the Crossroads (226-227)

I agree with Malcolm Frank, Paul Roehrig, and Ben Pring: "The key to success -- as we have outlined in this book -- is to first recognize the contours of the transition [to the new economic model] and then follow the proper process to address it. The transitions to date in music, movies, books, phones, and information services serve as our canaries in the coal mine. They have shown a pattern -- the Crossroads Model -- that we believe will repeat itself again and again in coming years." The five "clear rules" they offer will help business leaders to seize unique and unprecedented opportunities that have only begun to reveal themselves. It remains for those who read this book to embrace rather than attempt to ignore or delay a transition that could well prove to be the most significant paradigm shift thus far.

One final point: The information, insights, and counsel in this volume can be of incalculable value to leaders in any organization - whatever its size and nature may be - if (a HUGE "if") they select whatever material is most appropriate to their organization's needs, resources, and strategic objectives. Obviously, it would be a fool's errand to attempt to apply everything.

WHAT MAKES A LEADER: WHY EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE MATTERS
WHAT MAKES A LEADER: WHY EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE MATTERS
Price: CDN$ 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The "green thumb" needed to "grow" leaders, June 28 2014
My wife is a gourmet chef and what she demonstrated again last evening is that a great dinner depends almost entirely on three key factors: the raw materials, knowledge (the "what"), and skill (the "how"). I thought about this as I was reading Daniel Goleman's recently published anthology of essays that had originally appeared in various business journals, including HBR.

His key point - and I agree - is that, when it comes to predicting who amongst highly intelligent people will emerge as the most productive, "the best team member or an outstanding leader, emotional intelligence increasingly matters. That's because emotional intelligence skills - how well we manage ourselves and our relationships - are the skills that distinguish outstanding performers. And the higher one goes in an organization, the more EI matters in distinguishing the most effective leaders."

The essays in this volume reflect Goleman's own personal growth and professional development during a remarkably productive 15-year period, from "What Makes a Great Leader" (HBR, November/December 1998) to "The Leader's Triple Focus" (adapted from Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, published by Harper in 2013). Over time, he has increased his knowledge and strengthened various skills to produce work of increasingly higher quality and value while nourishing various relationships with his associates, clients, and students. I am especially impressed by the more direct and more personal rapport with his reader that Goleman has developed over the years. I am among countless others who felt that, while reading Focus, for example, he had written it specifically for me. Only someone with highly developed emotional intelligence could accomplish that.

There are no head-snapping revelations in this collection of essays written for HBR and other business journals, nor does Goleman make any such claim. For more than two decades, the greatest value of the information, insights, and counsel that he provides is that - together - they help to establish a rock-solid foundation which to develop increasingly stronger management as well as leadership skills. The word "increasingly" indicates my conviction that executive development is a never-ending process, not an ultimate destination.

I am among those who have read all of the books from which these essays have been extracted. (Indeed, in some instances, the book was based on an essay.) I re-read them in this volume and, again, found something I had missed during a previous reading. I now presume to make three suggestions. First, consider this volume as an excellent gift to those who are now preparing for a career in business or who have only recently embarked on one. Also, if you are a supervisor with several direct reports entrusted to your care, consider purchasing a copy for each and thereby nourish their aspirations to lead others.

Finally, check out LEADERSHIP: A MASTER CLASS with Daniel Goleman. This is a set of DVDs based on his conversations with Daniel Siegel, ("The Leader's Mind"), Warren Bennis ("The Socially Intelligent Leader"), Erica Ariel Fox (Getting Beyond Yes"), Caludio Fernández-Aráoz ("Talent Strategy"), Bill George ("Authentic Leadership"), Teresa Amabile ("Create to Innovate"), Howard Gardner ("Today's Leadership Imperative"), and George Kohlrieser ("High Performance Leadership"). A bonus interview of Peter Senge is included.

Invisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion
Invisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion
Offered by Penguin Group USA
Price: CDN$ 15.99

5.0 out of 5 stars "There is no limit to what can be accomplished if it doesn't matter who gets the credit." Ralph Waldo Emerson, June 27 2014
In an article that appeared in The Atlantic (March 12, 2012), "What Do Fact-Checkers and Anesthesiologists Have in Common?", David Zweig explained why some people choose professions where accomplishments go unheralded. They are what he characterizes as "Invisibles" insofar as recognition and (especially) praise are concerned, preferring to work on the given work at hand.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Zweig's coverage. I could have selected hundreds of brief excerpts. Here are five:

o Three Defining Traits of Invisibles: Ambivalence toward recognition, meticulousness, and savoring responsibility

Zweig: "The Invisibles are not an exclusive group; they are simply at the far end of a spectrum we all live within. We are all Invisible to varying degrees, in different ways, and in different contexts. The elite professionals I will spotlight in this book, however, show that living at the apex of this continuum, that truly embodying these traits, directly links with success and fulfillment." (Page 13)

o Giulia Wilkins Ary and other members of the elite Interpretation Service at the United Nations

"Without her and her colleagues, diplomats from around the world would not be able to communicate with each other...Wilkins Ary hears one language, interprets it into another language in her head, then speak the new language [begin italics] while at the same time continuing to listen to and interpret the next lines of the original language [end italics], a practice known as simultaneous interpretation... (84)

o The myth of self-promotion and the Culture of Profile

"In the online environment, especially on social media platforms, as we present ourselves as a series of 'likes,' links, and lists of favorite stuff, our essence has been reduced yet again -- from a personality to a profile...Operating in this environment, where you others and know they are observing you, on a mass scale, deeply alters our sense of public and private, normalizing the expectation of recognition for everything we do...And that's the irony of all this noise about the need for self-promotion, especially so online. In some ways it seems just a vast myth that the culture at large has bought into...This, at its core, the message of the Invisibles. To let go of the ego and worries of recognition, and instead focus on the work." (109, 112, 121, and 126)

o Robert Elswit, a cinematographer, on the "art of collaboration" and the significance of Michael Clayton

"There are sometimes sixty or seventy people who are hired directly or indirectly by me who have to want to come to work every day" [on each film]...if they aren't happy to see me, if they don't want to come to work, if they don't know [or care] what they're doing, then my work suffers...The film Michael Clayton is about a guy who finds himself at the age of forty-eight completely bereft of any personal sense of dignity, who has lost every part of him that he used to think was important. He has no self-respect left. He is a shill; he is a prostitute; he is a living version of everything that when he was twenty-two years old probably disgusted him. And it happened so slowly he never figured it out. And he's given the opportunity at some point to find himself again. That's what Michael Clayton is about." And self-respect is what Invisibles are all about. (135 and 141)

o Invisibles across cultures

"Drawing attention to one's self "has been a critical part of America's success. What I suggest, however, is that the tonal balance between this brashness and a more reserved temperament -- what I call our American Swing -- that served our country so well is, in recent years, increasingly tipping toward the former trait...We can learn from [other countries] by pulling the successful elements of their more collectivist and horizontal attitude while maintaining out unique noise. If we can do that we can get back on course, once again knifing straight through the water. Otherwise, we're merely a bunch of oars splashing manically off the side of the boat, not going anywhere." (219)

As I worked my way through this book, I was again reminded of Susan Cain's brilliant discussion of "the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking" in her book, Quiet. Historians' accounts and media coverage must share at least some of the blame for widespread but remarkably durable misconceptions about eminent persons such as Warren Buffett, Dale Carnegie, Albert Einstein, Mohandas Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Steven Spielberg, and Steve Wozniak. However great their impact on others may be, all are (or were) essentially introverted. What else do they share in common? They are renowned for being thoughtful, indeed reflective, tending to take more time than others do to make sound decisions and to reach correct conclusions.

Ironically, Carnegie is among the pioneers of self-help programs that emphasize "winning friends and influencing people," the title of a book first published in 1936 and continues to be a bestseller. According to Cain, Carnagey (who later changed his name "likely to evoke Andrew Carnegie, the great industrialist") was a good-natured but insecure high school student. He was skinny, unathletic, and fretful. His subsequent career from farmboy to salesman to public- speaking icon demonstrates a shift in America "from what influential cultural historian Warren Susman called a Culture of Character to a Culture of Personality - and opened up a Pandora's Box of personal anxieties from which we would never quite recover."

With rare exception, the dozens of Invisibles whom David Zweig discusses are unknown to most who read this book and that's fine with them. Many (if not most) of them were/are introverted but the key point is that their behavior is in seamless alignment with what they value. Zweig speaks for them as well as for himself when observing in the Conclusion, "Praise can be hard to come by and fleeting when you do get it but no one can take away pride from, and engagement in, hard work. Like my Invisible subjects, I realized that the value of my work, not the volume of my praise, brought me, and still does now, fulfillment. I want recognition, I want success -- please, buy five more copies of my book! -- but, in the end, what sustains me, what keeps that bogeyman of anxiety at bay, is the work itself."

Taming The Big Data Tidal Wave: Finding Opportunities in Huge Data Streams with Advanced Analytics
Taming The Big Data Tidal Wave: Finding Opportunities in Huge Data Streams with Advanced Analytics
by Bill Franks
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 37.58
37 used & new from CDN$ 13.29

5.0 out of 5 stars How Big Data can help any organization improve productivity, create value, stay competitive, and recognize new trends, June 27 2014
What we have in Taming the Big Data Tidal Wave is a wealth of information, insights, and counsel provided by Bill Franks that will help business leaders in almost any organization -- whatever its size and nature may be -- to locate and then take full advantage business opportunities in huge data streams with advanced analytics. These are among dozens of Franks' key points, listed in the order in which he discusses them:

1. Big data will continue to evolve. What we think is big and intimidating today won't raise an eyebrow in a decade, but another new data source certainly will.

2. The opportunity to be an early adopter and get ahead of the competition is almost closed. Get started taming this big data source now.

3. Social network data can lead to new ways of valuing customers. In the telecommunications industry, social network analysis has shifted from account profitability to network profitability.

4. Relational databases, clouds, and MapReduce (see Pages 110-117) all add value in taming big data. The three technologies can integrate and work together to make each better and more effective than it would be on its own.

5. Legacy processes for deploying analytical processes and models aren't designed to take advantage of the current state of the world. To tame big data, it is crucial that the processes are updated to take full advantage of the scalability available.

6. Data visualization is not about fancy looking graphics. It is about displaying data in a way that allows greater comprehension of the point(s) being made.

7. The most important part of any analysis happens before it begins. The way the problem is framed up-front can determine the success or failure of the analysis.

8. Great analytic professionals tie the level of concern about data's accuracy to the level of granularity of the decision required. Imperfect data can still have enough power to answer a lot of questions effectively.

9. Be very choosy when hiring or assign people to an analytics team. Success is far more dependent on the individuals who make up that team than it is on the organizational structure in which that team is working.

10. A lot can be learned from failures, including analytic training center failures. They aren't all bad. Some failures can be quite valuable if (HUGE "if") what is learned in the process of failing is applied broadly to improve either past or future processes.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Franks’ coverage.

o How Is Big Data Different? (Pages 7-9)
o Risks of Big Data (10-12)
o The Structure of Big Data (14-16)
o Today's Big Data Is Not Tomorrow's Big Data (24-25)
o Web Data Overview (30-36)
o Customer Segmentation (47-48)
o Multiple Industries: The Value of Big Data (57-60)
o Retail Manufacturing: The Value RFID and Gaming: The Value of Casino Chip Tracking Data (64-68 and 71-73)
o A history of Scalability (88-89)
o The Convergence of Analytic and Data Environments (90-93)
o Cloud Computing (102-109)
o Analytic Sandbox Essentials (122-130)
o Analytic Data Set Essentials (133-141)
o Embedded Scoring (145-147)
o Analysis: Make It Guided, Explainable, Actionable, and Timely! (184-186)
o Core Analytics versus Advanced Analytics (186-188)
o The Often Underrated Traits of a Great Analytic Professional (208-222)
o The Guiding Principles of an Analytic Innovation Center (263-269)

Bill Franks provides an eloquent as well as thorough explanation of how to find business opportunities in huge data streams with advanced analytics. He urges his reader to keep in mind that big data is real and here to stay, that scalability is more important than ever before (and will become even more important), that new processes as well as a new mindset are required, and there is an urgent need to formulate and then implement new analysis methodologies such as text analysis, ensemble models, and commodity models.

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check one or more of Tom Davenport's books (notably Big Data @ Work and Keeping Up with the Quants), Christopher Surdak's Data Crush, and Big Data co-authored by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier.

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