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Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas)
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Strategy That Works: How Winning Companies Close the Strategy-to-Execution Gap
Strategy That Works: How Winning Companies Close the Strategy-to-Execution Gap
by Paul Leinwand
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 39.03
15 used & new from CDN$ 32.53

5.0 étoiles sur 5 How and why getting strategy and execution in cohesive alignment is a worthwhile legacy for any leader in any enterprise, Feb. 4 2016
Those who have read Cut Costs + Grow Stronger (2009) and/or The Essential Advantage (2011) already know that Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi are among the most insightful business thinkers now publishing books and articles that provide information, insights, and counsel of incalculable value to senior-level executives as well as to those who aspire to reach that level. That said, I think Strategy That Works (written with Art Kleiner) is their most important work thus far. Why? Because I think it will have a wider and deeper impact on any organization, whatever its size and nature may be.

Just as Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton focus on the 'knowing-doing gap,' Leinwand and Mainardi focus on another, equally important gap. As they explain, 'There is a significant and unnecessary gap between strategy and execution: a lack of connection between where the enterprise aims to go and what it can accomplish. We have met many leaders who understand this problem, but very few who know how to overcome it'Some business leaders try to close the gap on the strategy side, looking for a better market position. Others double down on execution, improving their methods and practices. Despite their efforts, both groups struggle to achieve consistent success.' Alas, few companies have solved this problem. I agree with Leinwand and Mainardi that the problem cannot be solved with conventional wisdom and I agree with Albert Einstein: 'We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.' Five acts of unconventional leadership are needed:

1. Instead of focusing on growth, commit to an identity: Differentiate and grow by being clear-minded about what you can do best
2. Instead of pursuing functional excellence, translate the strategic into everyday life: Build and connect the cross-functional capabilities that deliver your strategic intent
3. Instead of reorganizing to drive change, put your culture to work: Celebrate and leverage your cultural strengths
4. Instead of going lean, cut costs to grow stronger: Prune what doesn't matter to invest more in what does
5. Instead of becoming agile and resilient, shape your future: Reimagine your capabilities, create demand, and realign your industry on your own terms

'The five acts of unconventional leadership take different forms in different companies, but there is a family resemblance across all of them. They are all critical to engendering management habits that keep strategy and execution closely integrated, so there is no gap between them. Together, they comprise a playbook for creating sustainable value.' All five are discussed in some detail (Pages 12-19).

Leinwand and Mainardi correctly stress the critical importance of organizational and operational coherence in terms of alignment among three strategic elements: 'A value proposition that distinguishes a company from other companies (we sometimes call this a 'way to play' in the market); also, a system of distinctive capabilities that reinforce each other and enable the company to deliver on this value proposition; and, a chosen portfolio of products and services that all make use of those capabilities.'

Devoting a separate chapter to each, they explain HOW TO

o Avoid or overcome the 'strategy-to-execution gap'
o Commit to an identity
o Translate the strategic to the everyday
o Put a culture to work
o Cut costs to grow stronger
o Shape the future
o Remain bold and fearless

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Leiwand and Mainardi's coverage:

o The Unanswered Question (Pages 6-10)
o Five Acts of Unconventional Leadership (10-19)
o How the Five Acts Fit Together (19-22)
o Defining Who You Are (42-51)
o The Triggers of Identity (60-65)
o Blueprinting the Capabilities System (77-85)
o Building Distinctive Capabilities (86-107)
o Scaling Up Your Capabilities System (107-117)
o Fostering a Distinctive Culture (121-125)
o Mutual Accountability (130-133)
o Deploying Your Critical Few (138-144)
o Rethinking Next Year's Budget (169-172)
o Recharge Your Capabilities System (175-178)
o Create Demand (179-184)

Readers will appreciate the provision of several mini-case studies (e.g. Amazon, CEMEX, Danaher Corporation, Frito-Lay, Haier, IKEA, Lego, Qualcomm), nine 'Tools' (e.g. 'Parking-Lot Exercise,' 'Super Competitor Workshop,' and 'Questions and Behaviors for Leaders') that are inserted throughout the narrative as well as five appendices: A History of Strategy, The Capable Company Research Project, Puritone Ways to Play, Examples of Table-Stakes Capabilities, and a Selected Bibliography. These supplementary resources all by themselves are worth far more than the cost of this book.

Joined by Art Kleiner, Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi ask their reader to think of this book as a call to action ' 'an invitation to become a better leader through the alignment of strategy and execution. Coherence makes every aspect of leadership easier in the long run. It continually focuses your attention on the most important things your company does. It enables you to define a world that your company can help to create. It is a worthwhile legacy for any leader in any enterprise.' As Michelangelo is reputed to have observed centuries ago, 'The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.'

Getting Beyond Better: How Social Entrepreneurship Works
Getting Beyond Better: How Social Entrepreneurship Works
by Roger L. Martin
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 23.51
30 used & new from CDN$ 23.50

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Yes, the world can get beyond better ' and social entrepreneurs prove it's possible., Feb. 3 2016
As you probably know already, the word entrepreneur, as it was coined by economist Richard Cantillon, literally means “bearer of risk.” That is especially true for those engaged in social entrepreneurship. According to Roger Martin and Sally Osberg, social entrepreneurs “can be contrasted with both social service providers [e.g. Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity] and social advocates [e.g., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference] in that social entrepreneurs both take direction [begin italics] and [end italics] seek to transform the existing system. They seek to go beyond better, to bring about a transformed, stable new system that is fundamentally different than the world that preceded it.” In this volume, Martin and Osberg respond to two questions whose answers are different but interdependent:

“Just what is social entrepreneurship, and who can legitimately be considered a social entrepreneur?”
"How do successful social entrepreneurs do what they do, and what can be learned from them?”

They propose a four-stage process within a framework of transformation. First, understanding the world; next. envision a new future; then, build a model for change; and finally, scale the solution. They wrote this book with four primary audiences in mind: “First are current and aspiring social entrepreneurs, including students of social entrepreneurship…Second are funders or potential funders of social entrepreneurship, whether individuals or institutions akin in spirit to the Skoll Foundation…Third are the context regulators o9f social entrepreneurship…Fourth are teachers of social entrepreneurship.”

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

o Building a theory of SE (Pages 5-11)
o Equilibrium Change (11-16 and 199-200)
o Understanding the status quo (18-19 and 81-94)
o Building a changed model in SE (19-20)
o Social transformation from equilibrium change (32-39)
o Identification for citizens and citizenship (66-72)
o Experimentation in SE (81-82 and 94-98, and 121-123)
o Molly Melching (82-83, 85-93, 95-102, and 115-116)
o Envisioning social transformation (107-124)
o Andrea and Barry Coleman (108-109, 111-114, 116-117, and 121-124)
o Deforestation in Brazil (125-130 and 133-135)
o Change mechanisms (135-137)
o Capital costs (148-153)
o Designing for scaling and costs (167-170)
o Adaptability (177-181)
o Sustainability of fisheries (183-195)
o Equilibrium Change (199-200)

What is the nature of the social transformation to be achieved? Roger Martin and Sally Osberg: “Social transformation – by which we mean positive, fundamental, and lasting change to the prevailing conditions under which most members of a society li9ve and work – is almost always the result of a successful challenge to an existing equilibrium. Individuals and groups take aim at the status quo, attempting to shift it to a new and superior state in which prevailing conditions are substantially improved for the majority.”

Given the nature and extent of stress and complexity throughout the world today, you may ask, “What can I do? What can only a few of us do?” Those are fair questions. I presume to suggest that an observation by Margaret Mead be kept in mind: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
by Adam Grant
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 25.00
18 used & new from CDN$ 21.87

1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 How and why originality starts with creative thinking, is driven by a vision, and can eventually have global impact, Feb. 2 2016
Adam Grant wants to 'debunk the myth that originality requires extreme risk taking and persuade you that originals are actually far more ordinary than we realize'the people who move the world forward with original ideas are rarely paragons of conviction and commitment' They, too, grapple with fear, ambivalence, and self-doubt. We view them as self-starters, but their efforts are often fueled and sometimes forced by others. And as much as they crave risk, they really prefer to avoid it.' He goes on to suggest that originality itself starts with creativity: 'generating a concept that is both novel and useful. But it doesn't stop there. Originals are people who take the initiative to make their visions a reality'.This book is about how we can all become more original.'

So, there are valuable lessons to be learned from an original thinker. For example, Ray Dalio, the billionaire founder of Bridgewater Associates, a firm that has 'the strongest culture they had ever encountered in an organization, the landslide winner' by those most familiar with it. It handles almost $200 billion in client investments. Dalio is also one of those featured by Al Pittampalli in Persuadable: How Great Leaders Change Their Minds to Change the World. 'Dalio doesn't hold a mysterious almanac from the future that tells him which bets to make, like Biff Tannen from Back from the Future II. In fact, the secret to Dalio's accuracy doesn't lie in [begin italics] what [end italics] he knows. The secret is in [begin italics] how he thinks [end italics].' Dalio is wholly committed to what Roger Martin characterizes as 'integrative thinking': be receptive to and welcome the best available information (including opinion) from the most reliable sources and then subject it to a crucible of analysis. Daly is what Grant characterizes as a 'shaper,' an independent thinker: 'curious, non-conforming, and rebellious. They practice brutal, nonhierarchical honesty. And they act in face of risk, because their fear of not succeeding exceeds their fear of failing'The greatest shapers don't stop at introducing originality into the world. They create cultures that unleash originality in others.'

These are among the dozens passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Grant's coverage:

o Warby Parker (Pages 1-3, 7-8, 14-17, 20-22, and 57-60)
o Dave Gilboa (7-8, 20-22, and 58-59)
o Martin Luther King, Jr. (11-14 and 241-242)
o Steve Jobs (12-14 and 87-90)
o Entrepreneurs (17-18, 22-23, 33-34, and 68-69)
o Idea generation (35-38, 136-137, and 245-246)
o Intelligence community (62-64 and 78-79)
o Carmen Medina (62-68, 70-71, 78-82, 84-87, and 89-91)
o Babble (68-74)
o Lifecycles of creativity (108-113)
o Conceptual innovators (109-112)
o Lucy Stone (114-116, 118-119, 127-131, and 133-134)
o Elizabeth Cady Stanton (115-116, 118-119, and 126-131)
o The Lion King (134-135, 137-138, and 189-195)
o Jackie Robinson (146-148, 153-154, 159-160, and 171-172)
o Birth order (148-159)
o Parenting (159-171 and 252-254)
o Edwin Land (175-1176 and 183-187)
o Groupthink (176-179 and 185-186)
o Dissenting opinions (185-187, `189-1q90, 193-195, and 201-202)
o Ray Dalio and Bridgewater Associates (187-191, 194-1986, and 199-209)
o Devil's advocate (191-195)
o Culture of advocacy (197-198)
o Resistance movements (219-220 and 225-227)
o Anger (235-242)
o Actions for impact (245-254)

Here in Dallas, there is a farmer's market near the downtown area where several merchants offer fresh slices of fruit as samples of their wares. In that spirit, I now include three brief excerpts from Grant's insightful an eloquent narrative.

On the power of vuja de: 'The hallmark of originality is rejecting the default and exploring whether a better option exists'The starting point is curiosity: pondering why the default exists in the first place. We're driven to question defaults when we experience [begin italics] vuja de [end italics], the opposite of déjà vu. Déjà vu occurs when we encounter something new, but it feels as if we've seen it before. Vuja de is the reverse ' we face something familiar, but we see it with a fresh perspective that enables us to gain new insights into old problems.' (Page 7)

On building coalitions across conflict lines: 'Harvard psychologist Herbert Kelman observed that conflicts [begin italics] between [end italics] two groups are often caused by conflicts [begin italics] within [end italics] the groups'Kelman finds that it is rarely effective to send hawks to negotiate. You need the doves in each group to sit down, listen to each other's perspectives, identify their common goals and methods and engage in joint problem solving'and thereby avoid the narcissism of small differences' that could preclude resolving the given issues. (142-143)

On what research reveals about how founders' hiring decisions shape the destinies of their companies: 'Across industries, there were three dominant templates: professional, star, and commitment. The professional blueprint emphasized hiring candidates with specific skills'In the star blueprint, the focus shifted from current skills to future potential, placing a premium on choosing or poaching the brightest hires'Founders with a commitment blueprint went after hiring differently. Skills and potential were fine but cultural fit was a must. The top priority was to employ people who matched the company's values and norms'When founders had a commitment blueprint, the failure rate of their firms was zero ' not a single one of them went out of business'Founders cast a long shadow. Skills and stars are fleeting; commitment lasts.' (179-180)

Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the wealth of information, insights, and counsel that Adam Grant provides when explaining how and why non-conformists move the world with original thinking. However, I hope I have at least indicated why I think it is a brilliant achievement. Those who share my high regard for Originals are urged to check out an earlier work, Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success (1913), also published by Viking and now available in a paperbound edition.

Agile Talent: How to Source and Manage Outside Experts
Agile Talent: How to Source and Manage Outside Experts
Prix : CDN$ 15.39

5.0 étoiles sur 5 How all manner of companies gain competitive advantage with new and better ways of managing talent, Jan. 30 2016
All organizations need effective leadership and management at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. Moreover, no organization of which I am aware has ever had too much talent despite efforts to accelerate the development of leadership and management skills while recruiting those with the talent needed or with high potential. Jon Younger and Norm Smallwood focus on the challenges when organizations attempt to “source and then manage outside experts.” In this context, I am reminded of the fact that Greeks coined the term “barbarian” more than two millennia ago. Its original meaning is “non-Greek.”

In the first chapter, Younger and Smallwood note that in today's highly-competitive global marketplace, 'the need for 'expertise on tap' continues it expand. Organizations are thus increasingly reliant on a widening range of functional external experts to acquire and master the capabilities to perform and grow.' This is especially true of technical expertise. I agree with Younger and Smallwood that many (if not a majority) o0f organizations that hire 'outside experts' treat then as 'separate, and not equal. Most managers who never dream of treating externals like internals. External agile talent is hired for expediency, for the short term, to fill a specific need. But the companies depend more on the agile talent for fulfilling strategic capabilities, that mind-set won't cut it anymore. 'Separate, and not equal' is precisely what is causing the problems just outlined.

Younger and Smallwood write this book to explain how to avoid or solve those and other problems. They offer an abundance of information, insights, and counsel with regard to achieving several important strategic objectives. More specifically HOW to

o Achieve competitive advantage through agile talent
o Define the most promising business opportunity
o Formulate and refine an appropriate strateg
o Attract and welcome agile talent
o Get talent in proper alignment with the organization
o Ensure professional excellence
o Grow talent "that you don't even own"
o Engage and collaborate with your talent
o Lead agile talent
o Lead the changes by driving innovation
o Turning what you know into what you do (i.e. no 'Knowing-Doing Gap")

Younger and Smallwood are to be commended on their brilliant use of several reader-friendly devices that include dozens of Tables (e.g. 'assessing a capability resourcing plan' on Page 34, 'The three approaches to agile talent' on 154, and ' critical conditions for developing leadership at the highest levels' on 191) and Figures (e.g. "Five important criteria in work design' on 119 and 'Making agile talent work:' on 189) as well as eleven assessment tools:

1. 'How agile-talent-aligned is you organization?' (23)
2. 'Identifying the capabilities required for success' (32)
3. "Identifying potential problems of the four aligning categories' (37)
4. 'Getting feedback on your employer brand' (77)
5. 'Assessing the career stage of an individual or job' (101)
6. 'Determining the right mix of stages among externals and internals on your team' (108)
7. "How well does your organization's commence nations support agile talent?' (124)
8. 'How well do you sponsor agile talent?' (138)
9. 'Determining a prospective talent manager's emphasis in working with agile talent (144)
10. 'The pilot's checklist: identifying what leads to the success or failure of a change venture' (162)
11. 'Using the organization virus detector: identifying the three most important cultural risk factors in managing change in your organization' (164)

These devices and other supplementary resources will facilitate, indeed accelerate frequent review of especially valuable material later.

I agree with Jon Younger and Norm Smallwood that, ultimately, 'the effectiveness of agile talent in any organization will turn on the quality of leadership. The leadership code [Page 133] provides a systematic and helpful way to think about what competent leaders do.' The best leaders serve as role models. In this context, they must demonstrate agile leadership in all of their relationships. If an organization's leaders think in terms of internals and non-internals -- or allow anyone else to -- it cannot succeed or even survive.

One Simple Idea, Revised and Expanded Edition: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work
One Simple Idea, Revised and Expanded Edition: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work
by Stephen Key
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 22.59
26 used & new from CDN$ 22.58

5.0 étoiles sur 5 If only that were easy to do, Jan. 29 2016
This is a revised and expanded edition of a book first published in 2011. Its subtitle suggests that the material will help the reader to turn their dreams 'into a LICENSING GOLDMINE while Letting OTHERS DO THE WORK.' If only that were easy to do. The fact remains that very few 'simple ideas' have that potential. However, there are exceptions that Stephen Key examines in the book.

Years ago, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. purportedly observed, 'I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.' Let's assume for purposes of discussion that you have a ' simple" product idea. You have three options:

1. Do nothing.
2. Obtain working capital and take that idea through a process of design, research and development, production, marketing, etc.
3. Enter into a licensing agreement with someone else who then takes the idea through that same process.

It is a rare product that generates thousands, then millions, and perhaps even billions of dollars in sales is on 'the other side of complexity. Of course, very few of those who select option #2 reach that other side and the same is true of the 'someone else' with whom a licensing agreement is made. Why? There seem to be two primary reasons: the product itself and/or the aforementioned process. Key offers an abundance of information, insights, and counsel to help achieve success in there two separate but interdependent areas.

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Key's coverage in Parts One-Six:

o Welcome to the New World of Innovation (Pages 13-15)
o The Golden Churn (19-23)
o Manufacturing 101 (31-36)
o A Few Practical Tips, and, Study the Marketplace (40-48)
o Discover Sleeping Dinosaurs (48-50)
o Make a Game of It! (54-57)
o The Four Characteristics of a Winning Idea (59-64)
o Trust Your Gut (68-70)
o Will It Sell? Evaluate Marketability of Your Idea (75-77)
o Is It Doable and Affordable? (83-84)
o Types of Prototypes Prototype (95-101)
o A Primer on Patenting (107-110)
o Inventor's Logbook: Still a Must-Have (112-114)
o A Necessary Precaution When Sharing Your Idea (127-129)
o When to Toot or Silence Your Horn (129-131)
o Create a Door-Opening Benefit Statement (136-140)
o Create a Deal-Generating Sell Sheet (140-142)
o Create a Professional Image (151-152)

Those who purchase this book will the 'next best thing' to retaining Key and having him working with them on every phase of the process that begins with what is, initially, 'a simple idea' (e.g. selling books online) and then (a) taking it to market or (b) consummating a licensing agreement with someone who will. Because this is a revised and expanded edition, it includes new material that is probably in response to different questions that have been asked during the last five years.

Here are Stephen Key's concluding remarks: 'To play this game, you do not have to be a creative genius. You don't even need to come up with your own ideas; you can play ' and win ' by connecting people with great ideas to the companies that want to license them. If you have a passion for innovative products [or an innovative way to distribute products or ideas], a penchant for selling, and some licensing expertise, you, too, can reap the rewards of the licensing lifestyle by becoming a product scout. That's the beauty of the licensing lifestyle.'

It's not a lifestyle for everyone. However, it is certainly worthy of consideration. Reading and then re-reading One Simple Idea will help you make the right choice, whatever that may be.

Persuadable: How Great Leaders Change Their Minds to Change the World
Persuadable: How Great Leaders Change Their Minds to Change the World
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers CA
Prix : CDN$ 18.99

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Why leaders should demand to know what they need to know, especially if it is contrary to what they think, Jan. 27 2016
Those who are persuadable have a mindset that is both willing and able – indeed eager -- to consider diverse perspectives, especially those that challenge their cherished assumptions and premises. The healthiest organizations are those in which principled dissent is not merely encouraged; in fact, it is required.

This is what Al Pittampalli has in mind when suggesting that being persuadable demonstrates “the genuine willingness and ability to change your mind in the face of new evidence. Being persuadable requires rejecting absolute certainty, treating your beliefs as temporary, and acknowledging the possibility that no matter how confident you are about any particular opinion – you could be wrong. It involves actively seeking out criticism and counterarguments against even your most long-standing favored beliefs. Most important, persuadability entails evaluating those arguments as objectively as possible and updating your beliefs accordingly.”

I agree with Pittampalli that persuadability is “a vastly underappreciated advantage in business and life.” He identifies and explains seven practices of persuadable leaders, practices distilled from cutting edge research from cognitive and social psychology. Here they are:

1. Consider the Opposite
2. Update Your Beliefs Incrementally
3. Kill Your Darlings
4. Take the Perspective of Others
5. Avoid Being Too Persuadable
6. Convert Early
7. Take on Your Own Tribe

“These simple yet powerful habits have accelerated the path to success for some of the best leaders in the world, and they have the potential to do the same for you.”

There are several people I know who feel threatened by – and indeed resent – information and opinions that differ from theirs. Paradoxically, at least in my experience, those who possess the greatest self-confidence are most persuadable as Pattampalli defines it. But of course here are others so set in their ways that even Bob Cialdini could not get them to consider another perspective. With rare exception, dull people have stale ideas.

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

o Hedgehogs and Foxes: ACCURACY (Pages 21-29)
o Changing Course: AGILITY (29-36)
o The Supershrinks: GROWTH (36-43)
o The Autonomous Leader (47-49)
o Ralph Waldo Emerson, Joseph Campbell, and the Culture of Heroic Defiance (51-55)
o The Illusion of Nonconformity (61-65)
o The Flip-Flop Hunter (70-75)
o Abraham Lincoln, Master of Reversals (79-83)
o The Motivated Confirmation Bias: Why We Like Ourselves Too Much for the Facts to Count (88-92)
o The Unmotivated Confirmation Bias: Why Not Mattering Can Still Matter (92-99)
o The Art of Sacrifice (122-124)
o Lean Entrepreneurs and the Fastest Way to Truth (124-130)
o Why Power Has a Difficult Time Perspective Taking (144-147)
o Recruit Others to Help You Kill Your Darlings (134-140)

Note: Pittampalli is spot-on when stressing the importance of perspective taking to effective leadership. Think of it as “strategic emotional intelligence” to help gain an advantage, to be sure, but also to nourish a relationship of mutual trust and respect, not only in the workplace but in all other dimensions of human experience.

o Develop a Habit of Perspective Taking (153-154)
o The $125 Spoon and Other Costs of Being Too Persuadable (159-162)
o Beware “The Resistance” (165-166)
o How to Be Decisive without Being Close-Minded(167-168)
o Persuadable Leaders and Accelerate Collective Progress (173-174)
o How Social Movements Happen (174-177)
o Three Degrees of Influence (180-183)
o The End of the End Zone? (183-186)
o The Benefit of Leniency, and, The Importance of Being Flexible (191-195)
o Challenging Your Own Tribe (197-201

Here is a brief, representative selection of Pattampalli’s comments on four persuadable leaders:

On Abraham Lincoln: “The story of the Great Emancipator is a complex one filled with inconsistencies [about slavery, colonization, and allowing ’the Colored man’ to vote]. And inconsistency, despite its detractors, is what is often required in great leadership…You can’t evaluate consistency or inconsistency [e.g. Abraham Lincoln’s ‘flip-flops’] without looking at the context that surrounds it. Without all the facts and influences, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to determine whether someone is acting with integrity or not.”

On Jeff Bezos: “Unsatisfied with patiently waiting to be convinced that his favored beliefs [about digital books] were wrong, Bezos was intent on killing them himself. And it paid off — big. Amazon and its Kindle device dominate the digital book world…Ordinary open-mindedness leads to ordinary growth and agility, but as Bezos proved, active open-mindedness leads to extraordinary growth and agility.”

On what makes most of billionaire Ray Dalio’s investment decisions so successful: “Dalio doesn’t hold a mysterious almanac from the future that tells him which bets to make, like Biff Tannen from Back from the Future II. In fact, the secret to Dalio’s accuracy doesn’t lie in [begin italics] what [end italics] he knows. The secret is in [begin italics] how he thinks [end italics].”

On Alan Mulally: He "saved Ford Motor Company, not by staying the course but by continually changing course in response to new data…To accommodate the unexpected delay [of introducing a new model, the Ford Edge], Mulally’s overall plan for Ford would have to change. But that was the whole point. This mindset is the essence of agile leadership.”

One final and, yes, obvious point: The fact that someone is persuadable by no means reduces the need to be persuasive when attempting to convince that person to think and behave differently than they would otherwise. All great leaders will give thoughtful consideration to information that is valid, to logic that is solid, and to evidence that is sufficient and (if possible) verifiable. They also have built-in, shock-proof crap detectors.

The Power of Fifty Bits: The New Science of Turning Good Intentions into Positive Results
The Power of Fifty Bits: The New Science of Turning Good Intentions into Positive Results
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers CA
Prix : CDN$ 18.99

5.0 étoiles sur 5 What the “intent/behavior gap” is and how to minimize it, if not eliminate it, Jan. 19 2016
Bob Nease is on to something. He really is. With regard to the “intent/behavior gap” and its significance, he observes, “Because we are wired for inattention and inertia, we often let things slide and go with the flow. Over time, this causes a big, persistent gap between what we want to do (were we to stop and think about it) and what we really do.” There have been gaps in human experience since the Garden of Eden. A few years later, Jeffrey Pfeffer and Bob Sutton wrote an HBR article and then a book about the knowing-doing gap. There are other behavioral discrepancies such as the doing-knowing, promising-delivering, and beginning-completing gaps. Good news: none is permanent. Bad news: none is easily reduced, much less eliminated.

As for the intent-behavior gap, how to formulate the new behavioral change strategies needed to get at the root of the problem? Ease: “If you think intention and behavior move in lock step and you see that someone’s behaving badly, you’ll conclude that bad intentions are the root cause. And then you’ll pursue strategies to change those underlying intentions. But once you understand that bad behavior can result from good intentions, you start to pursue a completely new set of strategies: one that is focused on activating good intentions rather than changing good ones. The Power of Fifty Bits shares seven practical strategies that can be used to activate people’s good intentions.

With regard to this book’s title, “fifty bits refers to a startling statistic: of the ten million bits of information out our brains process each second, only fifty bits are devoted to conscious thought. This limitation means that, to a large degree, humans are wired for inattention and inertia, which in turn leads to a gap between [as previously noted] what people really want (were they to stop and think about it) and what they do.”

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

o Fifty Bits Design Versus User-Centered Design (Pages xix-xxi)
o The Intent-Behavior Gap (3-6)
o Brains on Autopilot (15-17)
o Three “shortcuts” to building strategies that unlock good intentions (20-40)
o The Seven Strategies for Fifty Bits Design (40-42)
o Designing with Active Choice (51-56)
o Putting Recommitment to Work (59-63)
o Commitment Contracts (66-69)
o Why Precommitment Works, and, Designing with Precommitment (69-74)
o Designing Using Opt-Outs (82-84)
o Cues for the Clueless, Clues for the Cue-Less (91-94)
o Finding the Flow, and, Designing by Getting in the Flow (98-101)
o Words Matter — Washington, DC Edition (105-107)
o Two Magic Words in Customer Service (109)
o Reframing Choices Using Social Norms (109-112)
o Reframing Choices Using Loss Aversion (112-113)
o Reframing Attention on a Key Attribute (113-114)
o Designing by Reframing the Choices (115-118)
o Accidental Exercise (121-122)
o Designing with Piggybacking (125-127)
o Why Is Easy So Good? and, Why Easy Isn’t Always Better (135-138)
o Designing with Wise Simplification (138-141)
o The Contraceptive CHOICE Project (145-148)
o Making the Most of Fifty Bits Design (148-150)
o Guardrails (150-152)
o A Better Way to Better Behavior (155-158)

The principles and seven strategies of fifty bits design are best revealed within the narrative, in context, but — in my opinion — they can be mastered by almost anyone during a relatively brief period of time. Don’t be misled by the appeal of “practice makes perfect” because perfection is a never-ending process rather than an ultimate destination. However, the more time, thought, and effort you invest in understanding what fifty bits design is, what it isn’t, and how it works, the more effective your behavioral change initiatives will be.

Since beginning the process that Nease recommends, I have concentrated on three specific behaviors of mine that I wanted to change. That process continues as I compose this brief commentary but I want to share one personal experience that may be of interest: I am also changing how I think about trying to help others to change. For example, one of the three aforementioned behaviors is becoming a more attentive listener. As that occurs, I realize, I am also serving as — or at least suggesting — a model for others to emulate.

Here are Bob Nease’s concluding remarks: “Better behavior is mission critical for everything that matters to us as individuals, families, organizations, communities, and as a species. My deep hope and strong belief is that fifty boots design will be an important part of our success.” I share that hope and am now at work on strengthening that belief. Like everyone else’s, my life really is a work-in-progress.
What the “intent/behavior gap” is and how to minimize it, if not eliminate it

Bob Nease is on to something. He really is. With regard to the “intent/behavior gap” and its significance, he observes, “Because we are wired for inattention and inertia, we often let things slide and go with the flow. Over time, this causes a big, persistent gap between what we want to do (were we to stop and think about it) and what we really do.” There have been gaps in human experience since the Garden of Eden. A few years later, Jeffrey Pfeffer and Bob Sutton wrote an HBR article and then a book about the knowing-doing gap. There are other behavioral discrepancies such as the doing-knowing, promising-delivering, and beginning-completing gaps. Good news: none is permanent. Bad news: none is easily reduced, much less eliminated.

As for the intent-behavior gap, how to formulate the new behavioral change strategies needed to get at the root of the problem? Ease: “If you think intention and behavior move in lock step and you see that someone’s behaving badly, you’ll conclude that bad intentions are the root cause. And then you’ll pursue strategies to change those underlying intentions. But once you understand that bad behavior can result from good intentions, you start to pursue a completely new set of strategies: one that is focused on activating good intentions rather than changing good ones. The Power of Fifty Bits shares seven practical strategies that can be used to activate people’s good intentions.

With regard to this book’s title, “fifty bits refers to a startling statistic: of the ten million bits of information out our brains process each second, only fifty bits are devoted to conscious thought. This limitation means that, to a large degree, humans are wired for inattention and inertia, which in turn leads to a gap between [as previously noted] what people really want (were they to stop and think about it) and what they do.”

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

o Fifty Bits Design Versus User-Centered Design (Pages xix-xxi)
o The Intent-Behavior Gap (3-6)
o Brains on Autopilot (15-17)
o Three “shortcuts” to building strategies that unlock good intentions (20-40)
o The Seven Strategies for Fifty Bits Design (40-42)
o Designing with Active Choice (51-56)
o Putting Recommitment to Work (59-63)
o Commitment Contracts (66-69)
o Why Precommitment Works, and, Designing with Precommitment (69-74)
o Designing Using Opt-Outs (82-84)
o Cues for the Clueless, Clues for the Cue-Less (91-94)
o Finding the Flow, and, Designing by Getting in the Flow (98-101)
o Words Matter — Washington, DC Edition (105-107)
o Two Magic Words in Customer Service (109)
o Reframing Choices Using Social Norms (109-112)
o Reframing Choices Using Loss Aversion (112-113)
o Reframing Attention on a Key Attribute (113-114)
o Designing by Reframing the Choices (115-118)
o Accidental Exercise (121-122)
o Designing with Piggybacking (125-127)
o Why Is Easy So Good? and, Why Easy Isn’t Always Better (135-138)
o Designing with Wise Simplification (138-141)
o The Contraceptive CHOICE Project (145-148)
o Making the Most of Fifty Bits Design (148-150)
o Guardrails (150-152)
o A Better Way to Better Behavior (155-158)

The principles and seven strategies of fifty bits design are best revealed within the narrative, in context, but — in my opinion — they can be mastered by almost anyone during a relatively brief period of time. Don’t be misled by the appeal of “practice makes perfect” because perfection is a never-ending process rather than an ultimate destination. However, the more time, thought, and effort you invest in understanding what fifty bits design is, what it isn’t, and how it works, the more effective your behavioral change initiatives will be.

Since beginning the process that Nease recommends, I have concentrated on three specific behaviors of mine that I wanted to change. That process continues as I compose this brief commentary but I want to share one personal experience that may be of interest: I am also changing how I think about trying to help others to change. For example, one of the three aforementioned behaviors is becoming a more attentive listener. As that occurs, I realize, I am also serving as — or at least suggesting — a model for others to emulate.

Here are Bob Nease’s concluding remarks: “Better behavior is mission critical for everything that matters to us as individuals, families, organizations, communities, and as a species. My deep hope and strong belief is that fifty boots design will be an important part of our success.” I share that hope and am now at work on strengthening that belief. Like everyone else’s, my life really is a work-in-progress.

Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success by Matthew Syed (2015-09-10)
Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success by Matthew Syed (2015-09-10)
by Matthew Syed;
Edition: Hardcover
3 used & new from CDN$ 64.78

5.0 étoiles sur 5 A rigorous examination of 'the underlying processes through which humans learn, innovate, and become more creative, Jan. 16 2016
According to Matthew Syed, there is 'something deeper and more subtle at work, something that has little to do with resources, and everything to do with culture' when people commit the same errors again and again and yet again. These errors have 'particular trajectories, subtle but predictable patterns' (i.e. signatures) that can be avoided by open reporting and honest evaluation. 'It sounds simple, doesn't it? Learning from failure has the status of a cliché. But it turns out that, for reasons both prosaic and profound, a failure to learn from mistakes has been one of the greatest obstacles to human progress.'

Syed wrote this book to explain how to recognize these patterns of error. He examines how people tend to respond to failure, as individuals, as businesses, as societies. 'How do we deal with it? How do we react when something has gone wrong, whether because of a slip, a lapse, an error of commission or omission, or a collective failure' as so often occurs, especially in large and complicated organizations. Given that, 'learning form failure [and then taking appropriate corrective action] takes on a moral urgency.'

As Fyed explains in his eloquent as well as insightful narrative, there are valuable lessons to be learned from such organizations as well as from individuals that include (in alpha order) David Beckham, Jason Dyson, Drew Houston (Dropbox), Google, Michael Jordan, Gary Kasparov (versus Deep Blue) Libyan Arab Airlines, the Mercedes F1 team, Barry Scheck, Andre Vanier and Mike Slemmer, Nick Swinmurn, and Unilever.

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

o Accidents and aviation (Pages 8-9, 19-20, 20-27, and 27-31
o Health care and errors (9-11, 17-19, and 49-50)
o Bloodletting (13-14, 154-156, and 161-162)
o Juan Rivera (60-65, 70-71, and 82-83)
o Wrongful convictions (63-71, 77-85, and 114-117)
o Criminal justice system (65-71 and 114-121)
o Iraq War: Blame (73-74 and 90-94)
o Cognitive dissonance (74-77 and 86-107)
o Denial of DNA evidence (78-83)
o Self-esteem (88-89 and 97-99)
o Economics (94-97 and 129-131)
o Reforms and criminal justice system (115-117 and 118-121)
o Structure of systems that learn from failure/Testing (125-149)
o Scared Straight program (150-154 and 159-167)
o Creativity and innovation (182-213)
o Blame (217-249)
o Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 (217-219 and 221-225)
o Blame and business (225-231
o November Oscar incident (239-249)
o Mindset (257-261, 264-265, 270-272, and 287-288)
o Entrepreneurship and failure (269-272)

No brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the value of the information, insights, and counsel that Syed provides in abundance. However, I hope I have at least indicated why I think so highly of him and of his brilliant work. Be sure to check out, also, his previous book, Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success.

Here is a brief excerpt from Black Box Thinking that is representative of the superior quality of his material. Here are some lessons to be learned from Syed on perfectionism:

'The desire for perfection rests upon two fallacies. The first resides in the miscalculation that you can create the optimal solution sitting in a bedroom or ivory tower and thinking things through rather than getting out into the real world and testing assumptions, thus finding their flaws. It is the problem of valuing top-down over bottom-up.

'The second fallacy is the fear of failure'You spend so much time designing and strategizing that you don't get a chance to fail at all, at least until it is too late. It is [begin italics] re-closed loop [end italics] behavior. You are so worried about messing up that you never even get on the playing field.'

For those who are curious to know why most people never learn from their mistakes and are eager to avoid being including among them, this really is a 'must read.' I agree with Matthew Syed that the term 'failure' should be used only in reference to mistakes, errors, screw-ups, etc. from which nothing of value is gained. Think of failures as precious opportunities to learn, especially those opportunities to learn what you may think you know but in fact don't.

The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time
The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time
by Maria Konnikova
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 32.04
25 used & new from CDN$ 23.95

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5.0 étoiles sur 5 A brilliant analysis of 'the aristocrats of crime' and how they manipulate their gullible victims, Jan. 12 2016
Long before we are adults and others have deliberately gained and then betrayed our confidence, most of us have already mastered several of the skills of self-delusion. "After all," Maria Konnikova suggests, "we are the best deceivers of our own minds. At each step of the game, con artists draw from a seemingly endless toolbox of ways to manipulate our belief. And as we become more committed, with each step we give them more psychological material to work with." Everyone is a potential victim. "Despite our deep certainty in our own immunity -- or, rather, because of it -- we [begin italics] all [end italics] fall for it. That's the genius of the great confidence artists: they are, truly, artists -- able to affect even the most discerning connoisseurs with their persuasive charm."

She wrote this book so that those who read it will be much better prepared to understand their own minds well enough that they learn to extricate themselves from an involvement with a con artist before it is too late.

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

o Dark triad of traits (23-29)
o Robert Crichton (Pages 25-26)
o Lying (35-41, 112-113, and 117-118)
o Trust (41-43, 63-67, and 154-155)
o Victims (46-52)
o Psychics 51-52, 60-61, 77-78, and 82-84)
o Put-up (53-88)
o Judgments (56-61 and 120-121)
o 'The Great Imposter': Ferdinand Waldo Demara, Jr. (78-82)
o Play (89-127)
o Emotions (91-95, 98-100, and 120-124)
o Decision making (120-121, 16-165, and 185-186)
o Robert Cialdini (133-134 and 139-140)
o Knoedler & Company (144-145 and 255-263)
o Art Fraud: Glafira Rosales (144-145, 255-263, 266-278, and 309-3410)
o Mental Overload (164-166)
o Biases (175-182, 191-195, 193-194, 206-207, 240-241, and 272-275)
o Exceptionalism (175-183 and 191-195)
o Bernie Madoff (180-183 and 180-181)
o Cognitive Dissonance (235-239)
o Touch (255-279)
o Cults: David Sullivan (307-317 and 319-321)

Like all other games, this one has rules (dos and don'ts), players, metrics, strategic objectives, perils, and rewards. Keep all these factors clearly in mind. I also urge those who read this book to pay special attention to the nomenclature that Konnikova employs. The key terms include grifter, mark, the put-up, the play, the rope, the tale, the convincer, the breakdown, the send, the touch, the blow-off, andthe fix. Be sure to underline or (better yet) highlight the definitions she includes when introducing them. Some of the most valuable material explains how to spot tell-tale signs, best viewed as early warning indicators. Of course, the consummate masters of this game (one that can be traced back to a fatal attraction in the Garden of Eden) are exceptionally clever deceivers. The film 'The Sting' (1973) illustrates one of Konnikova's key points, that the best con occurs when the victim is wholly unaware of being duped, as is the case with mobster Doyle Lonnegan (played by Robert Shaw) who has been stung by Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) and his team.

Various 'aristocrats of crime' have mastered skills of persuasion and manipulation. They read other people as easily as their victims read a menu or a newspaper. They know where people are most vulnerable and focus their efforts there, exploiting self-delusions and special needs. They offer whatever their victims seem to need most.

This is what Maria Konnikova has in mind when observing, 'Ultimately what a confidence artist sells is hope. Hope that you'll be happier, healthier, richer, loved, accepted, better looking, younger, smarter, a deeper, more fulfilled human being ' hope that the you that will emerge on the other side will be somehow superior to the you that came in.'

I share her hope that each person who absorbs and digests the abundance of information, insights, and counsel she provides in The Confidence Game will be able to recognize and avoid 'the aristocrats of crime' but will also be able to recognize others who are worthy of a trust they are eager to earn. The ancient African aphorism remains true today: 'Trust but verify.' Also, whatever the given situation may be, if it seems too good to be true, it almost always isn't.

Driven to Delight: Delivering World-Class Customer Experience the Mercedes-Benz Way
Driven to Delight: Delivering World-Class Customer Experience the Mercedes-Benz Way
by Joseph Michelli
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 30.21
28 used & new from CDN$ 23.70

5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Best or Nothing': The Mercedes-Benz Way, Jan. 8 2016
As those who have read one or more of his previously published books already know, Joseph Michelli possesses a unique combination of talents and strengths as a world-class cultural anthropologist, raconteur, investigative reporter, and business thinker. Thanks to him, executives in all manner of organizations have learned how to develop a workplace culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive. That is precisely what the Pike Place Fish Market, Starbucks, Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, U.C.L.A. Health System, Zappos, and now Mercedes-Benz share in common.

Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell once collaborated on a book in which they explain how to create what they characterize as 'customer evangelists.' I was reminded of that term as I began to read Driven to Delight in which Michelli explains when, why, and how Mercedes-Benz leaders 'sought to make the company an experience provider that was on a par with ' if not better than ' other iconic brands.'

Let's re-run the tape: Engineering excellence, safety, and innovation were the foundation that ' over the years -- led to a very product-focused mindset. "Many Mercedes-Benz dealers in the United States (many of whom had been in business for decades) relied heavily on product quality to build customer loyalty and hadn't addressed the over all experience of customers in their dealerships. Because Mercedes-Benz had such a strong product focus, new competitors entering the marketplace added value to their products by creating a better dealership experience."

OK but so what? In fact, a great deal. "Therein lay the problem. The Mercedes-Benz retail/dealership experience was uneven and lacked a well-defined objective with attendant accountability." Given this backdrop of rapidly increasing customer expectations, variable consumer experiences, and competitors that provided high-quality customer sales and service interactions, "the leaders at Mercedes-Benz USA set out to foster new systemwide competencies to look at the entire business from the customer's perspective. Their goal became to map the customer journey, solicit customer feedback, rapidly resolve customer issues, and deliver emotionally engaging experiences 'Driven to Delight' customers." In this book, Michelli explains HOW they developed employee evangelists who would then create customer evangelists.

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

o Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) Pages 2-11, 14-16, 19-20, and 85-86)
o Driven to Delight (6-8, 14-16, 218-221, and 248-254)
o Steve Cannon (7-8, 13-15, 43-45, 105-107, 204-205, 207-208, 219-220, 225-226, 237238, 242-243)
o 'Keys to Driving Delight' (39)
o Mapping Customer Journey touchpoints (45-46, 49-50, and 63-68)
o Surveys (46-47, 119-120, 125-130, and 226-227)
o Gareth Joyce (51-52, 181-182, 193-194, and 253-254)
o Customer Feedback (79-80, 83-96, 107-108, and 131-132)
o J.D. Powers & Associates (81-95, 108-110, 207-211, and 251-252)
o Customer experience with dealerships (108-115)
o MBUSA financial issues (101-107)
o DaSH Program for employees (120-124)
o Hendrik ("Harry") Hynekamp and customer experience team (132-134)
o Employees and brand immersion program (140-147)
o Leadership Academy (147-153)
o Processes (163-172, 185-186, and 194-195)
o Customer loyalty (192-193 and 199-200)
o Transformation (208-215)
o CRM: Customer Relationship Management (237-240)

Once again, in ways and to an extent few other business thinkers can, Michelli anchors his insights in human experiences. He is a world-class empiricist and a relentless pragmatist, determined to understand what works, what doesn't, and why. He also possesses the skills of a great raconteur. Whereas other authors of business books prefer the fable genre, he favors the narrative: he sets the scene, provides the back story, introduces the main players, creates dramatic tension with real conflicts, and then traces significant developments to a satisfying climax. For me, his key point ' one that is relevant to almost any other organization, whatever its size and nature may be ' is that creating a world-class offering is not enough; it is also necessary to provide it with a world-class customer experience.

In the book's Conclusion, Joseph Michelli expresses his gratitude to Steve Cannon, Dietmar Exler, and Gareth Joyce for the critical lessons that can be learned from them about leaving a legacy. 'In essence, they help us realize that leaders must not just state their vision of customer experience excellence but also take action to manifest that vision on behalf of those they serve. Leaders should look to their people and see them demonstrate an obsession with details that make the difference between 'good' and 'the best' customer experiences. Ultimately the impact of extraordinary customer care should be heard in the stories our customers share and seen in the data garnered from customer surveys.'

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