A business-advice book that explores the four most important “levers” for leading an organization.
Alliteration can occasionally be overdone in business books, but sales and marketing professional Lipuma (Lead from the Front, 2014) puts it to good use in serving up “the four Ps…People, Passion, Proposition, and Process.” In four parts, the author nimbly crafts a work replete with first-person narrative, lots of examples, short chapters, and plenty of boldfaced type and bullet points. All these elements make for an exceedingly readable text, but the breezy style also reveals real substance. Not surprisingly, “the absolute most important factor” for success, Lipuma writes, is people (or “talent”); the book’s first section offers a wealth of good advice on this subject, including defining the desirable attributes of employees, showing what it means to build a personal brand, and explaining how to rank those who work for you. Less experienced managers will be particularly interested in the author’s discussion of graded “A, B, and C performers,” who he says roughly make up 20 percent, 60 percent, and 20 percent, respectively, of a company’s workforce. The author’s wise suggestions on how to elevate talent from “B” to “A” should prove especially helpful. The second and third sections (“Passion” and “Proposition”) continue in the same instructive, upbeat vein, but they’re not nearly as detailed as the fourth (“Process”). In this section, Lipuma addresses numerous critical elements, including establishing KPIs (key performance indicators), recruiting new talent, and “topgrading,” (identifying and developing A talent and coaching B and C talent). The weighty chapters on “onboarding” (formalized employee orientation) and training should prove quite valuable for human resources professionals. Several other chapters, such as “Best Practices” and “Standards and Accountability,” offer solid, experience-based intelligence for senior managers. A final chapter does an excellent job of summarizing key points. This work succeeds in emphasizing the development of a positive, meaningful corporate culture while also achieving measurable results.
Chock-full of smart advice, deftly organized, and rich in leadership wisdom.