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The Granularity of Growth: How to Identify the Sources of Growth and Drive Enduring Company Performance
The Granularity of Growth: How to Identify the Sources of Growth and Drive Enduring Company Performance
by Patrick Viguerie
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 47.48
38 used & new from CDN$ 25.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Here is a rigorous analytical foundation for understanding growth and the architecture needed to manage it, Jan. 5 2016
I read this book when it was first published (in 2008) and recently re-read it, curious to know how well its key insights have held up since then. If anything, they are of greater relevance and value now than they were then.

The co-authors – Patrick Viguerie, Sven Smit, and Mehrdad Baghai – wrote this book in response to a key question that most C-level executives now ask themselves and others at least once a day: “Where will profitable growth come from and how can we sustain it, if not increase it?” I recently conducted a workshop for a Fortune 100 company’s senior management team and that is what most of them identified when I asked them which question do they find most difficult to answer.

Whatever their size and nature may be, most organizations face many of the same challenges although, obviously, there are differences in terms of extent or scale. Viguerie, Smit, and Baghai explore the particular challenges faced by large organizations in driving and sustaining growth. "The first of these is a basic numbers problem: the bigger you are, the harder it is to drive the next quantum of growth...The second challenge facing large companies has to do with longevity: the longer you've been in business and the larger you are, the more likely it is that your business is maturing. As it does so, it will almost certainly encounter the problems of aging: innovation starts to slow and returns gradually decline. What's more, the sheer size of a mature organization can produce inertia." Viguerie, Smit, and Baghai share their thoughts about how to prepare for and then respond effectively to such challenges.

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of this book’s coverage:

o Value creation (Pages 2-10, 214-215, and 220-224)
o Company categories: Challenged, Growth Giants, Performers, and Unrewarded (4-8 and 214-217)
o Granular issues (33-36 and 105-106)
o Direction of growth (68-69)
o Balancing acquisitions and divestitures (92-96)
o Growth map (112-121)
o Low momentum companies (124-127)
o Architecture of granularity (138-143)
o Procter & Gamble (144-151)
o Growth and company architecture (153-161)
o Scale platforms (176-185)
o Granular and cluster-based growth (188-202)
o Deloitte (193-200)
o Key performance indicators (194-2002)

As I worked my way through Viguerie, Smit, and Baghai’s lively as well as eloquent narrative, I was again reminded of Jack Welch’s comments at a GE annual meeting many years ago when he was chairman and CEO and explained why he thought so highly of small companies:

““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.”

Why is granularity the central theme of this book? According to Viguerie, Smit, and Baghai, it refers to the components within a larger system such as GE’s. “A description of a system is more granular (or ‘fine-grained’) if the description involves a larger number of components. For example, planet Earth could be described in terms of continent s, countries, states and provinces, cities, towns, and villages, in order of increasing granularity.”

So what? In fact, a great deal. Patrick Viguerie, Sven Smit, and Mehrdad Baghai offer an abundance of valuable information, insights, and counsel that will help prepare business leaders, especially in large organizations, to identify sources of growth that can drive enduring company performance. They would be among the first to agree, however, that it would be a fool’s errand to attempt to apply everything they suggest for consideration. Shrewd readers will focus on what is most relevant to their own organization in terms of its resources, values, and strategic objectives. The challenge remains the same for both organizations and individuals: grow or go. To paraphrase Marshall Goldsmith, what got them here won’t even allow them to remain here, much less get to there, whatever and wherever “here” and “there” may be.

Joy Ride
Joy Ride
by John Lahr
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 26.24
37 used & new from CDN$ 11.23

5.0 out of 5 stars For those who love the theater, here is a magic carpet on which to take a joy ride of their own, Dec 25 2015
This review is from: Joy Ride (Hardcover)
I have previously read all of John Lahr's profiles and reviews for The New Yorker and am delighted to have so many of them assembled in a single volume. My second reading indicates that most of them have retained their liveliness. With regard to the book's title, Caryn James addresses it in her own review for The New York Times: 'To John Lahr, joy in the theater is as much about artistic ambition and intellectual rigor as it is about simple happiness. The word infuses Joy Ride'He finds deep cultural resonance in August Wilson's Seven Guitars, about blues musicians in the 1940s, because 'it teaches through joy, not through reason.' The Broadway director Susan Stroman (The Producers), whose personal sorrows include the death of her husband, says, 'Tapping into joy ' it saves you.' And of Ingmar Bergman, whom he visited at home on the island of Faro, Lahr finds 'another kind of joy' in 'the audacity of Bergman's camera, in the vigor of his argument.' The word morphs as it meets its subjects.' I noted more than a dozen other inclusions of joy. I share James's regret that he did not include actors among his subjects his Joy Ride, notably his interview of Helen Mirren and his profile of Sean Penn.

Lahr's skills as a journalist share much in common with those of a New Yorker colleague, Lillian Ross. Both are astute observers, keen listeners, and bring to life their interactions with those of in greatest interest. For Ross, as indicated in recently published Reporting Always: Writings from the New Yorker, they would include (in alpha order) Edward Albee, Julie Andrews, Coco Chanel, Charlie Chaplin, Clint Eastwood, Federico Fellini, Ernest Hemingway, Gayle King, Willie Mays, Al Pacino, Maggie Smith and Judi Dench (together to help promote their film, Ladies in Lavender, at the Tribeca Film Festival), and Robin Williams.

Whereas Ross describes them in terms with which her readers can associate, Lahr's approach focuses on the "show people & their shows" as both human beings (for better or worse) and incomparable artists. As he explains, his aim in Joy Ride " is to bring the theatergoers up close and personal with the artists and their processes, with the plays and playwrights, with what they seek to express, and how they express it." In addition to Bergman, Stroman, and Wilson, they include (again in alpha order) Tony Kushner, David Mamet, Arthur Miller, Harold Pinter, Sam Shepard, and Mike Nichols. He also shares his thoughts about productions of five of Shakespeare's plays as well as more recent works that include Private Lives, Sweeney Todd, Oklahoma, The Rose Tattoo, and Carousel.

I am deeply grateful to John Lahr for providing what I view as a magic carpet on which I have been able to take a joy ride of my own. I view this book as a precious gift and have waited until this day to thank him for it.

The Daily Edge: Simple Strategies to Increase Efficiency and Make an Impact Every Day
The Daily Edge: Simple Strategies to Increase Efficiency and Make an Impact Every Day
by David Horsager
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 21.28
29 used & new from CDN$ 19.95

5.0 out of 5 stars “Make everything as simple as possible but no simpler." Albert Einstein, Dec 23 2015
The narrative consists of 35 “Tips” on how to accelerate and enrich personal growth and professional development. As David Horsager explains, a daily edge is an advantage almost anyone can gain when one’s priorities are crystal clear and there is a sharp, constant focus on serving those priorities. Horsager agrees with Stephen Covey that people tend to spend too much time and energy on what is urgent and not enough on what is important.

I share Horsager's appreciation of the importance of setting priorities that can help to guide and inform our thoughts as well as our plans and behavior. However, circumstances can change significantly. When they do -- more often than not -- priorities need to be re-ordered. He offers a sound framework within which appropriate modifications can be made, if and when necessary.

He recommends a process that begins wherever you are now; he explains how to identify the objectives you wish to achieve; and then helps you determine what must be done -- and how it must be done -- to complete a journey from where you are to where you wish to be.

Each of the 35 "Tips" is accompanied by a brief but insightful explanation of HOW to use it to accomplish much more, in much less time, that will have much greater impact. These are among the Tips of greatest interest and value to me:

#1: How to formulate a 90-day Quick Plan and then make it work
#3: How to take full advantage of the "Power Hour" each workday morning
#4: How top complete 3-5 tasks better and faster by do them at the same time
#7: How to select and complete the right tasks to complete when you are most creative and productive
#10: How to use the last 15 minutes of a workday to prioritize and plan the tasks to complete the next day
#22: How to determine which tasks would be most efficiently completed together

This is a self-help book in the most admirable sense of the term. Although Horsager provides an abundance of insights and counsel, it remains for each reader to take ownership of beginning and then continuing the aforementioned "journey."

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out two by Ken Robinson, written with Lou Aronica: The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything (2009) and Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life (2014).

StandOut 2.0: Assess Your Strengths, Find Your Edge, Win at Work
StandOut 2.0: Assess Your Strengths, Find Your Edge, Win at Work
by Marcus Buckingham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 23.16
47 used & new from CDN$ 16.66

5.0 out of 5 stars How to identify and then leverage the strengths needed to accelerate personal growth and professional development, Dec 23 2015
Those who have read one or more of Marcus Buckingham’s books — First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently (1999), Now, Discover Your Strengths (2001), and Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance (2007) — already know that his mission in life is to help as many people as he can to accelerate their personal growth and professional development. In my opinion, StandOut 2.0 is his most valuable and will be the most influential book he has written…thus far. He provides an abundance of valuable information, insights, and counsel that can help team members, their leaders, and individuals to identify, nourish, and the leverage the strengths they need to achieve success, however it may be defined.

What’s in it for you?

More specifically, he explains

o How to find your edge (i.e. competitive advantage) and make it work best for you.
o How to take full advantage of the potential benefits of the StandOut Assessment
o How to use three lessons — “Your Genius Is Precise,” “Remember Who You Are [and Aren’t],” and “Always Sharpen Your Edge” — to build your strengths
o How strengths-building can accelerate innovation
o What specifically each of the strengths roles requires and how to fill each role to achieve high-impact

These are the nine roles:

ADVISOR: You are a reliable, highly-valued source of wisdom and knowledge.
CONNECTOR: Your are a catalyst and bridge-builder.
CREATOR: You make something new.
[INNOVATOR: You make something better],
EQUALIZER: You maintain appropriate balance and proportion.
INFLUENCER: You are persuasive because others trust you and respect you.
PIONEER: You embrace opportunities to explore/understand what is unfamiliar.
PROVIDER: You nourish others’ needs.
STIMULATOR: You inspire self-motivation in others.
TEACHER: You enjoy learning as much as you enjoy sharing what you have learned.

People tend to be oblivious to their unique (albeit under-developed) strengths, as are others with whom they most frequently interact. That said, it would be a fool’s errand to attempt to become an outstanding performer in each of the nine roles. Let the results of the new StandOut Assessment suggest on which two or three to focus. With all due respect to the strategy “Let your light so shine before man,” it is equally important to know where and how to shine that light, first within the as-yet undiscovered self and then in all areas of one’s life.

Personal note: I give Marcus Buckingham high marks in each of the nine categories. He is as caring as he is bright. As I suggested earlier, he is on a mission. How else to explain why he continues to write books such as this one?

He devotes all of Chapter 5 (Pages 39-84) to discussing each of these nine, using a template that consists of eight components:

o The Definition [of the given role]
o You at Your Most Powerful
o How to Describe Yourself [resumés, in interviews, performance reviews]
o How to Make an Immediate Impact
o How to Take Your Performance to the Next Level
o What to Watch Out For
o How to Win as a Leader, as a Manager, in Sales, and in Client Service
o How to Manage Me

Buckingham urges his readers to complete the new StandOut Assessment because it will reveal (a) what their greatest strengths are now and (B) which strengths (albeit under-developed strengths) are most likely to help them find their edge, sharpen it, and thereby become a peak performer in months and years to come. He suggests they think of the results of the new StandOut Assessment as a “Rosetta Stone” to make sense of the human complexity to which Walt Whitman refers in Song of Myself: “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes.”

HBR's 10 Must Reads 2016: The Definitive Management Ideas of the Year from Harvard Business Review (with bonus McKinsey Award–Winning article "Profits Without Prosperity”) (HBR’s 10 Must Reads)
HBR's 10 Must Reads 2016: The Definitive Management Ideas of the Year from Harvard Business Review (with bonus McKinsey Award–Winning article "Profits Without Prosperity”) (HBR’s 10 Must Reads)
by Harvard Business Review
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 27.56
53 used & new from CDN$ 18.68

5.0 out of 5 stars Ten Plus the McKinsey Award Winner, William Lazonick's 'Profits Without Prosperity, Dec 22 2015
This is the second volume in what I hope will become an annual series of anthologies of the best articles that appeared in Harvard Business Review during the previous calendar year. Frankly, I am pleased and relieved that I was not among those who were charged with making the selections, each of which is eminently worthy. I commend the Editors on the excellent Introduction. It brilliantly sets the "table" for the intellectual "feast" that follows.

The articles average about 15 pages in length. (Keep in mind that Amazon's "Look inside" option creates immediate access to the table of contents in all of the anthologies: HBR 10 Must Reads, HBR Guides to, HBR on, etc.) Executives with little (if any) time for reading business books and journals will welcome the material in HBR's 10 Must Reads 2016: The Definitive Management Ideas of the Year from Harvard Business Review. They will receive a briefing on cutting edge thinking about timely topics such as these:

o Why and how performance management needs to be reinvented
o The transparency trap and how to avoid it
o What strategy unravels...and what to do about that
o The authenticity paradox
o The discipline of business experimentation
o What do when senior managers won't cooperate
o How to establish workplaces that move people
o Ho0w connections, sensors, and data are revolutionizing business

Here in Dallas near the downtown area, we have a Farmer's Market at which several merchants offer slices of fresh-cut fruit as samples of their wares. In that spirit, I now present three excerpts that are presentative of the high quality of all eleven selections.

"[Employee] ratings are a distillation of the truth -- and up until now, one might argue, a necessary one. Yet we want our organizations to know us, and we want to know ourselves at work, and that can't be compressed into a single number. We now have the technology to go from a small data version of our people to a big data version of them." Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall

"The corporate resource allocation process is America's source of economic security or insecurity,as the case may be. If Americans want an economy in which corporate profits result in shared prosperity, the buyback and executive compensation binges will have to end. As with any addiction, there will be withdrawal pains. But the best executives may actually get satisfaction out of being paid a reasonable salary for allocating resources in ways that sustain the enterprise, provide higher standards of living to the workers who make it succeed, and generate tax revenues for the governments that provide it with critical inputs." William Lazonick

"When their companies fail to translate strategy into results, many executives point to a weak performance culture as the root cause. The data tells a different story. It is true that in most companies, the official culture -- the core values posted on the companv website, say -- does not support execution. However, a company's true values reveal themselves when managers make hard choices -- and here we have found that a focus on performance does shape behavior on a day-to-day basis." Donald Sull, Rebecca Homkes, and Charles Sull

Given the quality of the articles in this anthology, its price (if purchased from Amazon US, $17.24) is not a bargain, it's a steal.

Think Out Of The Box
Think Out Of The Box
by Mike Vance
Edition: Hardcover
36 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A classic source for thinking more clearly and making better decisions, Dec 19 2015
This review is from: Think Out Of The Box (Hardcover)
I have just re-read two books co-authored by Mike Vance and Diane Deacon. This one and Creating Mega Results: A proven creative process for achieving record-breaking success</em>. Some of the material in it is dated in terms of relevance to today's global marketplace but, that said, the basic principles that Deacon and Vance affirm are timeless, relevant to almost any organization, whatever its size and nature may be.

For example, Vance and Deacon stress the importance of having a vision, 'a crucial component in the formula for success. They also suggest ' and I agree: 'What we do is determined by what we are. What we are is determined by what we think. What we think is determined by what we experience. What we experience is determined by what awe are exposed to and what we do with that exposure.'

They provide a number of mini-profiles of creative geniuses:

o Norman Brinker (Pages 31-34)
o Thomas Edison (60-62)
o Louis L'Amour (79-81)
o Frank Lloyd Wright (92-94)
o Dr. Vernon Luck (121-124)
o R. Buckminster Fuller (137-140)
o A.C. (Mike) Markkula (152-153)
o Jack Welch (171-173)
o Walt Disney (185-193)

According to Wikipedia, the concept of 'thinking outside the box' is generally credited to a nine-dot puzzle "which John Adair claims to have introduced in 1969. Thinking outside the box (also thinking out of the box or thinking beyond the box) is a metaphor that means to think differently, unconventionally, or from a new perspective. This phrase often refers to novel or creative thinking. The term is thought to derive from management consultants in the 1970s and 1980s challenging their clients to solve the 'nine dots' puzzle, whose solution requires some lateral thinking."

My own take is that lateral or alternative perspectives on problems or questions often expedite resolving them. Back in the days when I spent most of my time in an office interacting with colleagues and clients frequently, there were very serious issues to be addressed and I found that my thinking about them was easier and better during a weekend, away from the office. In essence, the "box" to which Vance and Deacon is a mindset, not a location. It is imperative, however, that efforts made to solve the right problem or answer the right question. As Peter Drucker wisely observed decades ago, "There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all." Mike Vance and Diane Deacon can help those who read this book to avoid making that mistake.

Magnetic: The Art of Attracting Business
Magnetic: The Art of Attracting Business
by Joe Calloway
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 26.41
28 used & new from CDN$ 18.21

5.0 out of 5 stars How to create customer experiences that drive new business while sustaining repeat business, Dec 17 2015
Marketing can be traced back at least to the bazaars in ancient Athens and Rome and yet its primary purpose remains the same today: To create or increase demand for whatever the offering may be. That said, attracting attention must precede all other initiatives. Then credibility must be earned by treating respondents with respect. A world-class marketing plan is essentially worthless – and usually counter-productive -- if the given product or service is of inferior quality. Joe Calloway wrote this book to explain the art and science of attracting and retaining business.

o Use of percentages to suggest relative importance and correlative relationships
o Boxed clusters of question to facilitate interaction with key issues
o Reality checks
o Organizational- and self-assessments
o What to do and when to do it
o Prioritization of tasks

As I worked my way through Calloway's narrative, I was again reminded of Bernd Schmitt's pioneering work, Experiential Marketing: How to Get Customers to Sense, Feel, Think, Act, Relate (2000). He develops in much greater depth insight introduced in an earlier work, Marketing Aesthetics (1998). For example, the assertion that "most of marketing is limited because of its focus on features and benefits." He presents what he characterizes as "a framework" for managing those experiences. In Experiential Marketing, Schmitt provides a much more detailed exposition of the limitations of the traditional features-and-benefits marketing. Moreover, he moves beyond the sensory "framework" into several new dimensions, introducing what he calls "a new model" that will enable marketers to manage "all types of experiences, integrating them into holistic experiences" while "addressing key structural, strategic, and organizational challenges." The key word is "holistic"; the key process involves overcoming challenges to a wholly enjoyable customer experience.

More than fifteen year later, this is precisely what Calloway has in mind: "This book focuses on the one thing above all others: creating the experiences that park the positive word of mouth that will drive new business to you. It is about the attitude, strategies, and tactic that make that happen...This book is about what customers say about you...This book is about what matters most -- the stories that your customers tell about you, not the stories that you tell about yourself."

I cannot recall a prior time when buyers were better informed and with more control over the purchase decision process than they are today. Moreover, the emergence of social media a well as open access to reviews such as this one offer a "bully pulpit" beyond anything that Theodore Roosevelt could possibly have imagined. According to Calloway, mastering the art and science of attracting business is essential to creating what Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell characterize as "customer evangelists."

Joe Calloway is to be commended for the abundance of information, insights, and counsel that he provides. It would be a fool's errand, however, to try to apply everything that he recommends. Each reader must decide which of the material is most relevant to the needs, interests, values, concerns, resources, and strategic objectives of their organization.

63 Innovation Nuggets: For Aspiring Innovators
63 Innovation Nuggets: For Aspiring Innovators
by George E L Barbee
Edition: Hardcover
12 used & new from CDN$ 21.70

5.0 out of 5 stars Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're probably right.' Henry Ford, Dec 16 2015
Actually, there are many more than 63 "innovation nuggets" and they are to be found in the anecdotes within all of the chapters. George Barbee provides a wealth of information, insights, and counsel that he has accumulated over several decades while working with leaders of all manner of organizations. Inventors create something new. Innovators make something better. The most important innovations throughout history (e.g. steam power) have been the result of collaboration that is usually cross-functional and often cross-generational. Barbee is convinced -- and I wholly agree -- that almost anyone can develop the skills needed to think much more innovatively in one or more of four different categories: strategies, observation, effectiveness, and personal life. He organizes his material within that structure.

Perhaps the greatest challenge for aspiring innovators is to think innovatively about how to think innovatively. That is to say, if you cannot think better, you cannot make something better. Barbee suggests specific strategies for each of the four categories. These are among the dozens of "nuggets" of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Barbee's coverage.

HOW to

o Challenge a dominant competitor
o Reconstruct an enterprise
o Focus on heavy users
o Capitalize on satisfaction gaps

o Make an impressive presentation of an idea
o Respect what may seem to be an "absurd" idea
o Innovate through iterations
o Diversify one or more teams

o Create access to all levels and in all areas
o Build and strengthen mutual trust and respect
o Learn from failure
o Set/adjust priorities

o Invest in yourself
o Avoid/overcome inertia, complacency, despair
o Become an innovative rainmaker
o Determine how you wish to be regarded

George Barbee suggests that he wrote this book for "aspiring innovators." That means that he wrote this book for anyone who wants to make something better. It could be a product or service but it could also be a policy or process, a strategy or tactic, a supply chain or a global alliance, a career or a personal life.

We cannot control everything that happens to us but we can control how we respond to what happens. The value of this book to those who read it will depend ultimately on how willing and able they are to assume full responsibility for how effectively they apply what they have learned. In this context, the comment by Henry Ford is especially relevant. What you do ' and don't do ' is entirely up to you.

Primary Greatness: The 12 Levers of Success
Primary Greatness: The 12 Levers of Success
by Stephen R. Covey
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 28.91
33 used & new from CDN$ 18.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Here are decades of experience-driven wisdom from Stephen Covey's mostly unpublished reflections, Dec 15 2015
Stephen Covey is without doubt one of the most prolific business thinkers and writers in recent decades. As Sean Covey explains in the Foreword to this volume, the material in Primary Greatness was selected by his father's colleagues from mostly unpublished essays. He died in 2012 after having produced thirteen books and hundreds of articles. He is probably best known for The 7 Habits of Highly effective People. I think the title of Primary Greatness could also have been 'The Essential Covey' and the material can serve as an excellent introduction to his seminal thinking about major business subjects, especially leadership and organizational development.

As Sean Covey explains, 'This book is an excellent collection of several of my father' best essays that have never appeared in book form and aren't well known. But they are vintage Stephen Covey and contain some of his best thinking.' I agree.

With regard to this book's title, Covey continued to emphasize to his son that there are two ways to live: 'Primary greatness is who you really are ' your character, integrity, your deepest motives and desires. Secondary greatness is popularity, title, position, fame, fortune, and honors. He taught me not to worry about secondary greatness and focus on primary greatness.'

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of coverage in Primary Greatness:

o Examining motives and the inner life ((Pages 5-7)
o Achieving success with maturity as a sign of greatness (13-22)
o Relationships (15-17 and 82-83)
o Discipline and habits (20-22)
o Magnetic forces and culture (35-37)
o Accountability mindset (41-43 and 91-93)
o Gandhi and proper behavior (43-44)
o Business ethics (53-54 and 60-62)
o Gossiping (56-57 and 120-123)
o Identifying gifts and talents (76-78)
o Priorities and Primary Greatness (74-87)
o Creating an essence of leadership (81-87)
o Sacrifice and and Primary Greatness (88-96)
o Responsibility and Primary Greatness (106-114)
o Steadfast loyalty (116-123)
o Security and diversity (136-139)
o Knowledge and continuous learning (145-146 and 150154)
o Mental health/Social skills/Wellness (150-154)
o Teaching to learn and culture (158-160)
o Wisdom (161-169)
o Change (171-172 and 175-177)

This is an anthology of eighteen essays, each about nine pages in length. To varying degree, they reveal the nature and extent of the potential impact of twelve 'levers of success' ' Integrity, Contribution, Priority, Sacrifice, Service, Responsibility, Loyalty, Reciprocity, Diversity, Learning, Renewal, and Teaching -- when attempting to achieve personal growth and professional development. A separate chapter is devoted to each of the eight.

As I read and then re-read the material in this book, I felt as if Stephen Covey had written it for me. His insights and counsel helped me to reflect on my life thus far, to examine (in fact, re-examine) my current circumstances, and then begin to formulate a path to follow during whatever time remains for me. My guess (only a guess) is that many others who read this book will feel the same way.

One final point: Primary greatness is not an ultimate destination; rather, it is a never-ending process, a journey during which there will be an abundance of perils as well as opportunities. How to respond? Presumably Stephen Covey agrees with Helen Keller: 'Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.'

Collaboration Begins with You: Be a Silo Buster
Collaboration Begins with You: Be a Silo Buster
by Ken Blanchard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 29.31
35 used & new from CDN$ 19.20

5.0 out of 5 stars We have met the enemy and he is us.' Pogo the Possum, Nov. 16 2015
In Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Build Common Ground, and Reap Big Results, Morten Hansen asserts, "Bad collaboration is worse than no collaboration." Why? Here are two of several reasons. First, bad collaboration never reaps "big" or even favorable results; worse yet, bad collaboration makes good collaboration even more difficult to plan and then achieve. With regard to "traps," Hansen identifies six in the first chapter and then suggests that there are three steps to disciplined collaboration. That is, the "the leadership practice of properly assessing when to collaborate (and when not to) and instilling in people both the willingness and the ability to collaborate when required." These are the three steps: (1) evaluate opportunities, and when making a decision, asking "Will we gain a great upside by collaborating?"; (2) identify barriers to collaboration, next asking "What are the barriers blocking people from collaborating well?"; and (3) tailor solutions to tear down the barriers, keeping in mind that different barriers require different solutions.

Ken Blanchard, Jane Ripley, and Eunice Parisi-Carew use the business narrative (story format) to dramatize a number of key points. The details of the story are best revealed in the book, in context. These points include:

o Personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive in a culture of collaboration.
o Mutual trust and respect are essential to effective collaboration.
o There must be a shared commitment to the given objective(s) by everyone involved
o There must also be personal accountability.
o Communication and cooperation must be open and transparent if collaboration is to succeed.

Silos are containers that were created long ago to store grain. The word was appropriated (probably by a management consultant) to be used as an extended metaphor for hoarding information. Blanchard, Ripley, and Parisi-Carew have no quarrel with the agricultural use of silos but insist -- and I agree -- that silos in any human community cause all kinds of problems for those who reside in them as well as for those who are excluded. They explain how to "bust" a silo by changing an attitude, a mindset, and -- as is so often the case -- it begins with one's own. They include an especially valuable "Self Assessment: How Collaborative Do You Think You Are?" (Pages 137-148) so that those who read the book can look at themselves as a collaborative leader or individual contributor.

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out Hansen's aforementioned book as well as two others: Michael Lee Stallard's Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy, and Understanding at Work and Team Genius: The New Science of High-Performing Organizations co-authored by Rich Karlgaard and Michael S. Malone.

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