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on March 13, 2004
One of the most challenging things for people to do is open their minds and accept new ideas and/or new thoughts about old ideas. Journey To the Emerald City affords readers the rare opportunity to overcome this challenge.
Following the metaphor developed in their best-selling book, The Oz Principle, Connors and Smith dive into the core issue surrounding the achievement of results in organizations...the company's culture. Simply put, the culture of the organization actually determines the results the company will achieve. Connors and Smith clearly let us know that the company culture is how the company both thinks and acts.
As readers of The Oz Principle found, the answers to the problems that plague most of us are most often found within ourselves. Journey To The Emerald City picks up where Oz left off. This is a step-by-step guide to first understanding your current culture and then defining what it needs to become in order to attain and even exceed your expected levels of achievement.
As a former TEC Chair, I had the privilege of working intimately with CEO's and Presidents of companies ranging in revenue from just under $2M to over $60M. One of the hardest steps any of these successful leaders had to take was creating a Culture of Accountability within their organizations. The reason for the challenge was painfully clear, most leaders do not know how to create a culture of accountability, let alone really understand what such a culture looks and acts like. More and more senior leadership teams are searching for the "magic program" to make people "more accountable." Happily, Journey provides just that program, but it isn't magic. It's practical and simple to understand. It's implementable, right now. It doesn't require any special training to understand, and in the face of potential return on investment of time, it stands head and shoulders above all other ideas on the subject.
In Journey, you will find a model called "The Results Pyramid." To borrow a phrase, this model is profoundly simple and simply profound. Readers will find their thoughts leading to circumstances and situations that exemplify and validate the model without effort. The beauty of the model is that it helps leaders define their business case for change, as well as defining the path along which the organization must be aligned in order to achieve success.
Readers are introduced (or reintroduced for readers of Oz) to the best practices that actually define "The Steps to Accountability," See It, Own It, Solve It and Do It. It is these best practices that, when applied and practiced within an organization, will lead to success. Connors and Smith clearly define the path and the processes necessary to change an organizational culture.
The final section of the book deals with accelerating the culture change within the organization. It's no secret that certain activities will impede and others will accelerate any change. Connors and Smith promote the use of what they call, "Focused Feedback" to accelerate and achieve the desired changes. Leadership is the key and the entire organization needs to be enrolled.
In making my decision to delve into this book, several things are worthy of note. First, as I mentioned, I have dealt with senior leadership for several years and believe they know they don't have all the answers. I wanted to have another tool to give them. Second, I read a review by someone who was frustrated with the book because he felt it was merely a promotional piece for the authors to sell their consulting services. This intrigued me because I have yet to meet an author of business and leadership books (myself included) who didn't want to be contacted by their readers and hopefully create some business relationship between these readers and themselves.
Lastly, I read The Oz Principle when it was first published in 1994. I have yet to find another business book that created as deep a feeling about "the right thing to do" as Oz did for me. Journey To The Emerald City runs a very close second. Having been exposed to authors writing about accountability from T.J. Rodgers to Jack Welsh and back to Andrew Grove and the Marines and our service academies, I understand the subject quite well (both as a service academy graduate and as a consultant). This book is a must in today's business environment. The stories support and motivate. The process is direct and clearly defined.
If you have the least concern for how to evolve, grow and define your company's future success, Journey To The Emerald City is required reading.
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on March 12, 2004
In Journey to the Emerald City, Connors and Smith present the principles that make organizational culture THE competitive edge for the 21st Century. They describe in useful, applicable, and concrete ways how to blast away boundaries, create ownership, and drive performance by creating a culture of accountability. Applying the process found in Journey will give any organization a competitive edge!
David Mathisen
Sr. Vice President & General Manager
Orbital Transportation Management Systems
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on March 12, 2004
For me, the authors wrote a solid "how to" book on developing a culture within an organization that gets results. Practical and easily understood approaches to fashioning cultural change for achieving results are presented point by point within the pages of this work. For example, several issues addressed are:
-exposing the fallacy of activities for the sake of activities with no appreciable results
-recognizing that every organization has a culture and how to transition that culture into one of effective accomplishment and results-oriented accountability at every level and with every member of the organization
-conveying an agenda on how to make that transition and sustain the new results-oriented culture
It is all here in understandable and ready-to-apply form. While the authors don't pretend that this work to change culture is simple or can be accomplished overnight, they do provide a very focused and forthright view of what is important to work on and maintain as progress is made.
If your organization could be achieving better results or needs to meet promised goals, this is an easy read that contains critical ideas, notions and concepts on how to get there fast.
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on March 12, 2004
Due to the recent successes and significant accomplishments of Orbital Transportation Management Systems (TMS), I want to provide you with an update on the cultural transition of TMS. In June 2001, TMS began the Journey to the Emerald City. What a process! The material and practical exercises led each of us to evaluate ourselves individually as well as how we related to each other. We ended with a renewed vigor and commitment to make TMS a world-class organization. And most importantly, as the organizations leaders, we were aligned around a new culture.
Well, here we are seven months later. Today we are a different organization. The organizational boundaries that prohibited our progress are gone. The indifference to one another's problems have been replaced with cross-functional ownership. The disparate views of how TMS works have been replaced with a set of TMS specific beliefs that guide our actions. And most importantly, we are aligned to hit our results.
2001 was the best year in the history of TMS since its inception. I can confidently say that without our cultural transition we would not have been as successful in hitting our financial goals for 2001.
David Mathisen
Vice President, General Manager
Orbital Transportation Management Systems
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on March 15, 2003
In 1998, the authors wrote The Oz Principle around the concept that "an organization will perform at its highest potential if, and only if, each of its members assumes personal accountability for achieving its results." Thus, Conners and Smith emphasize a corporate culture that is based on personal accountability, with leaders, goals, tasks, teams, and every aspect of organizational life connected to that theme.
I will admit to being put off by the title and the cover. Wizard of Oz? Dorothy and her red shoes? The Cowardly Lion? Do I have time for fables and games? There are some mentions of Frank Baum's classic, some quotes, and some relationships like explaining that managers don't have magic. Overall, however, this book is a solid management book on changing organizational culture. And that's a vital issue for a lot of companies today.
The book is organized into three sections whose titles give good insight into the value and flow of the text: Understanding Company Culture, Shifting to a New Culture, and Accelerating Culture Change. The ten chapters explain the concepts and a process for moving forward in an organized, results-oriented fashion. The book is filled with practical approaches that can open a company to achievements that have been trapped inside by a dysfunctional culture. The key is accountability that starts at the top of the organization with an open and complete style of leadership. No games: communication.
The authors show us how to change the way people think and act. They show how to get people involved in a positive way so transformation can occur. Culture change is a journey, a journey that can be taken at an agonizingly slow pace, a normal flow (whatever that is), or moved to a higher level of velocity and enthusiasm. Graphics and an index enhance the book's value, which is far beyond the connection to the Oz story.
You'll learn from consultants who have "been there" and achieved results. The knowledge you gain will enable you to achieve some change in your organization based on what these men have learned and share in this book.
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on March 12, 2004
We were faced with the task of bringing two companies together and creating a common culture focused on results. We've been able to build a single orgranization--one team in terms of the way we think and act--in a very short period of time. Frankly, I didn't think it was possible to accomplish this transition in the timeframe in which we've been able to do it.
People are on board. They are excited, and they are focused on creating a culture of accountability. The process you offered is clearly laid out in your book, Journey to the Emerald City, and has had a profound and lasting impact on our organization.
I can highly recommend the Partners In Leadership process to any organization focused on accelerating the creation of a common culture where people are accountable to both think and act in the manner necessary to achieve results.
Joe Lima
Vice President, Operations
Guidant Corporation
Cardiac and Vascular Surgery Group
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on March 12, 2004
Journey to the Emerald City is a call to action and a significant help in setting a framework for team actions that produce more effective results. Each of us need to be reminded that the actions we take to get results are based on our experiences and beliefs and that changing those beliefs, although very hard, can greatly influence our results in business and personal life. Journey to the Emerald City is a "must read" for anyone looking to create greater effectiveness in their organization.
John Bent
Amgen, Inc.
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on April 7, 2000
An Excellent Book.. A must for all the mangers in any organisation.
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