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DO THE RIGHT THING

IN BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT, INCLUDING PROCESS AND TECHNOLOGY

Succinct and skillfully written; an eye-opener for business leaders.

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A debut book precisely defines a business improvement model.

Duryea, who spent three decades as an innovation specialist and worked on over 60 enhancement projects, clearly lays out a plan for implementing a strategy for business improvement. The author is nothing if not direct; he states that the common thread in every improvement project failure is “that leadership did not implement a project that empowered the organization’s most basic goal. The most basic goal is the organization’s core business model.” He goes on to discuss this model in detail but first defines “The Law of Business Reality—Organizations serve customers in a profitable way or cease to exist.” This description is typical of Duryea’s exceedingly lucid prose, one of the assets of the book. Equally strong is the volume’s tight organization into three parts with chapters that treat discrete aspects of a business improvement model, building one upon the other. Part 1 addresses three basics: the business reality law and core model as well as “influencers” of the model. Part 2 concerns business processes, smartly divided into two sets—one comprises courses generally applied to all businesses, and the other is industry-specific. Of particular interest in Part 2 are three industry examples: professional services, financial services, and manufacturing. Processes for these industries are described in text and illustrated in a useful chart that identifies similarities and differences. Part 3 discusses how processes are enabled within businesses. Describing implementation, this last part includes a discussion of internal and external resources and their applications as well as a particularly engaging commentary on technology enablement. Here, the author makes a key point: While technology is critically important, it “is not a core business model. More specific technology cannot fix a broken core business model or replace the need for a core business model.” At the close of each chapter of this impressive book, Duryea adds another step to his business improvement model so that, by the end of the work, it comprises a complete 15-step program—a nice technique.

Succinct and skillfully written; an eye-opener for business leaders.

Pub Date: July 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4908-8607-7

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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THE CULTURE MAP

BREAKING THROUGH THE INVISIBLE BOUNDARIES OF GLOBAL BUSINESS

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

A helpful guide to working effectively with people from other cultures.

“The sad truth is that the vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work,” writes Meyer, a professor at INSEAD, an international business school. Yet they face a wider array of work styles than ever before in dealing with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world. When is it best to speak or stay quiet? What is the role of the leader in the room? When working with foreign business people, failing to take cultural differences into account can lead to frustration, misunderstanding or worse. Based on research and her experiences teaching cross-cultural behaviors to executive students, the author examines a handful of key areas. Among others, they include communicating (Anglo-Saxons are explicit; Asians communicate implicitly, requiring listeners to read between the lines), developing a sense of trust (Brazilians do it over long lunches), and decision-making (Germans rely on consensus, Americans on one decider). In each area, the author provides a “culture map scale” that positions behaviors in more than 20 countries along a continuum, allowing readers to anticipate the preferences of individuals from a particular country: Do they like direct or indirect negative feedback? Are they rigid or flexible regarding deadlines? Do they favor verbal or written commitments? And so on. Meyer discusses managers who have faced perplexing situations, such as knowledgeable team members who fail to speak up in meetings or Indians who offer a puzzling half-shake, half-nod of the head. Cultural differences—not personality quirks—are the motivating factors behind many behavioral styles. Depending on our cultures, we understand the world in a particular way, find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, and consider some ways of making decisions or measuring time natural and others quite strange.

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61039-250-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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