Books About Business: Why Apple Is So Successful, Strategies, Being Innovative, and When It Time to Reinventby Larry Cox on May. 08, 2012, under Uncategorized
Making a Difference: Stories of Vision and Courage from America’s Leaders by Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger with Douglas Century (William Morrow, $26.98)
Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger came to international attention when he successfully landed a disabled airliner on the Hudson River. He epitomized what it meant to be a leader and in his new book he sets out to meet with distinguished Americans to determine what it takes to achieve genuine leadership. What makes this venture so interesting is that the author contacted people from all walks of life, young and old, famous and less well known, and from fields as diverse as medicine, government, sports, finance, and even space exploration.
Leaders interviewed include such heavy hitters as Jennifer Granholm, former two-term governor of Michigan, Admiral Thad Allen, former Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, a man who led recovery efforts after Katrina, the Deepwater Horizon spill in the gulf and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, and Jim Sinegal, co-founder and CEO of Costco.
Who’s in the Room? How Great Leaders Structure and Manage the Teams Around Them by Bob Frisch (Jossey-Bass/Wiley, $29.95)
Bob Frisch, managing partner of The Strategic Offsites Group, has worked with organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies to the U.S. Department of State. He believes that at the top of every organization chart is a myth, namely that the boss and senior management make all of the critical decisions together. Instead, Frisch points out that the truly important decisions are made by the boss and an inner circle of confidents, a group he calls the “team with no name.” Since this team exists outside the formal process, it has more flexibility but also creates a problem. Executives wonder why they weren’t consulted earlier in the process and a tension soon beings to fester in the executive suite.
Frisch’s decades of experience as one of the world’s leading strategy facilitators has given him insight into the real workings of the business world including how decisions are made and how great leaders can unleasj the full power of their senior management teams against a specific set of critical tasks for which they are uniquely suited.
The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Localty by Carmine Gallo (McGraw-Hill, $25)
When a new Apple product is introduced, it is a given that thousands of customers throughout the world will wait in lines for hours to just be the first to own it. That is customer loyalty but it doesn’t just happen. It is nurtured and that is one of the big secrets behind Apple’s extraordinary retail success.
Carmine Gallo, a former anchor and correspondent for CNN and CBS and an award-winning business writer, breaks down Apple’s customer-centric business model into three parts to provide an action plan that when put into action almost any business can try and capture some of Apple’s magic. Those three factors are to inspire customers, serve customers, and set the stage.
Setting the stage isn’t just a catchphrase with Apple. Walk into any of its store and you will immediately notice that it is designed more like a theater than a retail outlet. Employees are hired for distinct personalities to greet customers with carefully trained body language and prepared to describe the company’s latest wares in friendly but scripted “message maps.” Put another way, nothing is left to chance at an Apple store.
Last year, the company celebrated its ten-year anniversary and had 325 stores that attracted one billion visitors, racking up more than $10 billion in sales. How Apple did this even in our current sluggish economy is revealed in this remarkable book.
All In: How the Best Managers Create a Culture of Belief and Drive Big Results by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton (Free Press, $25)
How does a regular manager create a positive, profitable culture in his or her own team or organization?
Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, bestselling co-authors of “The Carrot Principle,” and founders of the global training and consulting firm The Culture Works, serve up a simple plan that, if utilized, will help create a high-achieving culture in which employees believe in their leaders and the company’s mission, values, and goals.
According to the authors, leaders too often ask their people to agree with the strategies, policies, and goals of their culture without really knowing how to persuade them. The secret is to engage people so that they are motivated to work toward a common mission with passion and urgency instead of hopelessness being coerced by rules that won’t work. Put another way, to make certain that everyone is included in that mission, to be “all in.”
Whether you run a small team or a large corporation, this highly readable guide will help dramatically increase the odds of a manager to build a culture that will flourish and last.
Reverse Innovation: Create Far from Home, Win Everywhere by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble (Harvard Business Review Press, $30)
Emerging markets have become more and more important in today’s global economy. How to capitalize on the full potential of these markets is the goal.
The authors build a convincing case that the best plan is to innovate specifically for and in developing countries to create breakthroughs that will be adopted next at home and around the globe. They add that since innovation flow uphill, its future lies in emerging markets. A good example of this is Pepsico, a company which drew upon local teams and global resources to develop Alica, a new savory cracker created by Indians for the Indian market, but with high global potential.
Thinking outside the box and realizing that the biggest hurdles to reverse innovation are not scientific, technical, or budgetary but rather managerial and organizational. The result can be a win-win result, both at home and abroad.
The Reinventors: How Extraordinary Companies Pursue Radical Continuous Change by Jason Jennings (Portfolio, $26.95)
Southwest Airlines went from a start-up airline bleeding cash to America’s largest passenger airline. It did this by reinventing itself and that is just one example in this book that underscores the fact that the only thing constant about business is change.
Jason Jennings, bestselling author and motivational business speaker, reveals that almost two thirds of the top twenty five companies in the Fortune 500 in the year 2000 fell off the list by a decade later. Why? Because many refused to change and simply floated along with the attitude that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. In this ever-changing economy, that is industrial suicide. If you don’t believe it, look at the recent news concerning Blockbuster, Kmart, and EMI.
Jennings believes any company can reinvent itself if it spots game-changers before it’s too late, builds and commits to a culture of growth, avoids the hesitation trap, and gets people on the same page to adapt with the changes.
Packed with strategies, this guide is a roadmap to successfully pursuing continuous change so that not only can a company grow but stay relevant for years to come.
The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Company Needs by Cynthia A. Montgomery (HarperBusiness, $27.99)
According to Cynthia Montgomery, a Professor at the Harvard Business School, the time has come for CEOs to wrest back strategy. Once the heart of American business, the responsibilities of many CEOs have been outsourced to consultants and ousted from their rightful place during the past 25 years. Professor Montgomery redefines business strategy and explains why it is important and how the ultimate responsibility for its stewartship rests on one person alone: a leader.
She backs her opinions with several compelling case studies. Gucci’s, for example, had an incredible turnaround resulting from Domenico De Sole’s finely-turned, tailor-made system of value creation driven by a fresh purpose. This couldn’t have been achieved without a strong leader.
This is a personal call to action for leaders to continuously ask themselves why their organizations matter today and will matter tomorrow. In doing so, vitality can be triggered breathing new life into the day-to-day life of a company.