An expert at business turnarounds shares his method for advancement.
During his four-decade career, debut author Boni has specialized in turning companies around. Clearly, Boni has also studied business books, for he employs the requisite technique of labeling a process to anchor the content, in this case, a strategy he calls “The ABCs to Advance.” Boni admirably walks the reader through the phases and steps of the process, using both historical and contemporary examples to support his premise that “disruption creates 10 times (10x) the opportunity to advance.” Perhaps the most engaging portion of the book, however, is a section devoted to the stories of six leaders who were responsible for turning around diverse organizations in such areas as consumer goods, technology, health care, and education. Conveyed in interview form, these stories offer rare insight into the senior-leader mindset, detailing the unique struggles these individuals faced and demonstrating their ability to meet the challenges of leadership during trying times. For example, Dorvin D. Lively discusses his role as CFO during the rebirth of Maidenform, a once-leading brand that had to survive bankruptcy and multiple owners. Lively’s senior leadership team “converted a bankrupt brand with outdated business practices and serious deficiencies to form a successful, global public company.” In 2013, Maidenform was sold to HanesBrands at “nearly a 40-percent increase from its earlier IPO price,” according to Lively. “Maidenform took a risk on me,” Lively says. “And I took a risk. Succeeding wasn’t a cake walk for me or the company, but I’m now an experienced CFO with an IPO under my belt.” These are the kinds of first-person, real-life war stories that leaders will lap up. If there is a downside to the book, it may be Boni’s self-aggrandizement; for instance, the first of the six interviews is his own, which takes up almost twice as many pages as several of the others. Still, there is much business intelligence of value here, especially for leaders in turnaround situations.
Ego aside, a highly pertinent, applicable how-to for business leaders.