Jim Collins asked the question, “Can a good company become a great company and if so, how?” In Good to Great, Collins concludes that it is possible, but finds there are no silver bullets. Collins and his team of researchers began their quest by sorting through a list of 1,435 companies, looking for those that made substantial improvements in their performance over time. They finally settled on 11–including Fannie Mae, Gillette, Walgreens, and Wells Fargo–and discovered common traits that challenged many of the conventional notions of corporate success.
Making the transition from good to great doesn’t require a high-profile CEO, the latest technology, innovative change management, or even a fine-tuned business strategy. At the heart of those rare and truly great companies was a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner. Good to Great is one of those books that managers and CEOs will be reading and rereading for years to come.
Barry Farah, Chairman and CEO of GAAP Solutions, is the author of this book. Simply put, CUSTOMER SUCCESS is the tried and true company philosophy upon which all of our business practices have been built.
Gerstner quarterbacked one of history’s most dramatic corporate turnarounds. For those who follow business stories like football games, his tale of the rise, fall and rise of IBM might be the ultimate slow-motion replay. The book’s opening section snappily reports Gerstner’s decisions in his first 18 months on the job-the critical “sprint” that moved IBM away from the brink of destruction. The following sections describe the marathon fight to make IBM once again “a company that mattered.”
One of Gerstner’s first tasks was to redirect the company’s attention to the outside world, where a marketplace was quickly changing and customers felt largely ignored. He succeeded mightily. Upon his retirement this year, IBM was undeniably “a company that mattered.” Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? is a well-rendered self-portrait of a CEO who made spectacular change on the strength of personal leadership.
Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman expose the fallacies of standard management thinking in First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently. In seven chapters, the two consultants for the Gallup Organization debunk some dearly held notions about management, such as “treat people as you like to be treated”; “people are capable of almost anything”; and “a manager’s role is diminishing in today’s economy.” “Great managers are revolutionaries,” the authors write. “This book will take you inside the minds of these managers to explain why they have toppled conventional wisdom and reveal the new truths they have forged in its place.”
Disciplines like strategy, leadership development, and innovation are the sexier aspects of being at the helm of a successful business; actually getting things done never seems quite as glamorous. But as Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan demonstrate in Execution, the ultimate difference between a company and its competitor is, in fact, the ability to execute.
Execution is “the missing link between aspirations and results,” and as such, making it happen is the business leader’s most important job.
Kenneth Blanchard continues his trend of writing easy-to-read books with BIG ideas for making your business better. Raving Fans is a book of stories relating how fictional companies have created an environment of delivering awesome customer service. A guy that has just been put in a managment position requiring a turnaround goes on a fictional trip with his “angel” to visit businesses that have figured out their vision and their system to deliver customer service extraordinary. Based on three simple principles (Decide, Discover, Deliver), each company has created a group of Raving Fans (not just customers, but fans) who wouldn’t consider shopping anywhere else for what one of these companies offers.
Maister, a professional service consultant, surveyed 6,500 employees at 50 worldwide companies to evaluate the relationship between company financial performance and employee satisfaction and loyalty. He found a direct and dramatic correlation. Here, he offers detailed commentary from CEOs, managers and staffers, and analysis of the survey results. Bosses in all kinds of companies will benefit from his solid advice, which should be required reading for executives and upper level managers.
I often give this book out as a gift whenever a person younger than me asks for my advice on money. I always present this book to them saying “if you read it and do as it says, it will work magic.” It really contains excellent, time tested advice, and would make a good gift for someone in their early 20s who is on their own for the first time, and struggling.
The book is a series of parables about money written in the 1920s by George Clason. They were written as individual essays of a few thousand words, but the theme throughout them is consistent — save 10% of your money, give 10% away, use 10% to reduce your debt load, and live on the remaining 70%.
The stories in the book are entertaining; they are reminiscent of some of the parables in the Bible, such as the Prodigal Son or the story of the Workers in the Vineyard. I think this is intentional on the part of the author; certainly readers in the 1920s had an appreciation for “old fashioned stories with a moral” that people today seem to have lost. I enjoy the book greatly, though, and any thoughtful person who reads the book should find it interesting, especially if they are trying to get their finances in order.