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Long Term Success Must Read
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.