Although the resources available to the US Army have diminished since the Cold War's end, it remains an estimable...


HOPE IS NOT A METHOD: What Business Leaders Can Learn from America's Army

Although the resources available to the US Army have diminished since the Cold War's end, it remains an estimable institution with nearly 1.5 million employees, annual revenues of about $63 billion, and facilities in over 100 countries. Sullivan (who recently retired as the army's chief of staff) offers a detailed briefing on how the army has remained an effective, flexible, well-trained force to be reckoned with despite the budget cuts, downsizing, and restructuring that occurred on his watch (1991-95). While some observers might conclude that the military took its survival cues from business, the four-star general argues that corporate America could in fact learn a lot from the army's transformative experiences. The issue of who's borrowing from whom is almost beside the point, since, with the aid of anecdotal evidence gathered from civilian as well as military sources, the author and his collaborator (a retired colonel who headed the army's strategic planning group) provide a comparatively conventional governance manual; as a practical matter, moreover, the text's down-to-earth advisories are broadly applicable to great or small organizations of virtually any kind. In their can-do canvas of guiding principles for capitalizing on convulsive change, they stress the importance of shared values, identifying objectives, challenging the status quo, empowering subordinates, and visionary leadership. Covered as well are the putatively handsome returns obtainable from investing in people, benchmarking the future, reinforcing an outfit's collective commitment, encouraging constructive dissent, and keeping all hands abreast (if not ahead) of the learning curve. Sound counsel for aspiring and incumbent executives from old soldiers who appreciate the difference between leadership and management.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1996


Page Count: 304

Publisher: Times

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1996

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