A viable tool for business leaders who accept change as part of growth.

Why Organizations Struggle So Hard to Improve So Little

OVERCOMING ORGANIZATIONAL IMMATURITY

Business professionals present a refreshing approach for organizational change.

Some companies seem to be in a perpetual state of “improvement,” with thousands of dollars spent on consultants and a constant avalanche of new policies. Often, there’s little positive change, but it’s time to stop blaming leadership for an organization’s shortcomings, say Klubeck, Langthorne and Padgett. While that sentiment may be radical at first glance (and it will no doubt catch managers’ attention), the authors’ straightforward, comprehensible presentation is actually based on common sense. Instead of pointing fingers, business leaders are urged to examine the cultural climates of their organizations to determine if they’re indeed prepared for change. As the authors say, organizations often rush to fix problems with broad, companywide directives that are regularly doomed to fail. Instead, small “targeted initiatives”—with input from employees excited by the results—can spread positive attitudes. Therefore, the authors say, one of the most important steps to successful organizational change is understanding the differences between a mature company and an immature one. Part 1 of the book is devoted to this assessment, though the concept is expanded throughout the book with examples that will leave many readers nodding their heads: “You know you’re in an immature organization when one or more senior leaders regularly circumvent processes (and no one challenges them).” A self-assessment maturity quiz and an organizational health survey are included in the book’s appendix, as are other hands-on guides, and readers are urged to use the maturity assessments as tools for discussion before making any change. The authors’ presentation is concept-driven except for a few anecdotes, such as a short chapter “interlude,” which strives for a lighthearted tone but ends up a bit superfluous. Parts 2 through 4 delve into the identification of more mature-business behaviors and a discussion of some familiar terms, like strategic planning and effective communication. Later, a compelling case is made for personality over résumé content when hiring: “Mature organizations care more about talent, attitude, and personality than skill set. Skills and knowledge can be attained and enhanced easily…compared to developing a person’s personality. Personality traits, such as values, morals, a sense of humor, and the ability to relate to and interact with others, are present in youth and refined over a lifetime.” The text also includes charts, graphs and encouraging words, but readers shouldn’t expect motivational directives here; rather, the book’s clear-eyed practicality is its strength.

A viable tool for business leaders who accept change as part of growth.

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2010

ISBN: 978-0313380228

Page Count: 222

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2012

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BEATING THE STREET

More uncommonly sensible investment guidance from a master of the game. Drawing on his experience at Fidelity's Magellan Fund, a high- profile vehicle he quit at age 46 in 1990 after a spectacularly successful 13-year tenure as managing director, Lynch (One Up on Wall Street, 1988) makes a strong case for common stocks over bonds, CDs, or other forms of debt. In breezy, anecdotal fashion, the author also encourages individuals to go it alone in the market rather than to bank on money managers whose performance seldom justifies their generous compensation. With the caveat that there's as much art as science to picking issues with upside potential, Lynch commends legwork and observation. ``Spending more time at the mall,'' he argues, invariably is a better way to unearth appreciation candidates than relying on technical, timing, or other costly divining services prized by professionals. The author provides detailed briefings on how he researches industries, special situations, and mutual funds. Particularly instructive are his candid discussions of where he went wrong as well as right in his search for undervalued securities. Throughout the genial text, Lynch offers wry, on-target advisories under the rubric of ``Peter's Principles.'' Commenting on the profits that have accrued to those acquiring shares in enterprises privatized by the British government, he notes: ``Whatever the Queen is selling, buy it.'' In praise of corporate parsimony, the author suggests that, ``all else being equal, invest in the company with the fewest photos in the annual report.'' Another bull's-eye for a consummate pro, with appeal for market veterans and rookies alike. (Charts and tabular material— not seen.)

Pub Date: March 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-75915-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1993

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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