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Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies


Collins and Porras spent six years researching what makes truly exceptional companies different from others. They focused on companies founded prior to 1950 that have had multiple chief executives and are usually considered the best of their industry. They compared 18 companies selected by this criteria to the runner-ups in their industry. Their research does not show that these companies depended on one great idea or a key charismatic leader. Rather, these organizations tend to rely on key underlying processes and fundamentals embedded in their organization.

Fourth Generation Management: The New Business Consciousness


Fourth Generation Management is built around the Joiner Triangle:


  1. focus on quality defined by the customer,

  2. rapid learning through the scientific approach, and

  3. team focus within and beyond the organization.

This approach to management is built on the three previous generations:


1st Generation Management - management by doing;

2nd Generation Management - management by directing; and

3rd Generation Management - management by results.


The book has five parts:


Part 1-Overview, Chain Reaction, Organization as a System, PDCA Cycle;

Part 2-Making the Organization Customer Focused;

Part 3-Managing Variation;

Part 4-Standardization and the 7-Step Model; and

Part 5-Cooperation, Focusing on People, Appraisal and Compensation.


Joiner writes in a casual style that managers should enjoy reading. The chapter on the use of standard and standardization is an excellent summaryof these issues.

Scuttle Your Ships before Advancing: And Other Lessons from History on Leadership and Change for Today's Managers


This book is sub-titled, "and other Lessons from History on Leadership and Change for Today's Managers." Luecke uses a number of historical events involving conflict, planning, leadership, and change from which the modern executive may draw useful lessons. The historical events document situations faced by some of history's most intriguing leaders. The author draws parallels to circumstances faced by modern executives
and illuminates these situations with insights and important scholarships from the literature of contemporary management. Chapter four discusses "change agents" in history. Luecke uses the example of Martin Luther during the reformation and Dr. Deming during the modern day quality revolution.

Partners In Command


From the preface of this book: "....No longer could a single individual supervise mobilization, oversee policies, plan strategy, administer the forces, and direct field operations. Warfare had become too complicated for that. Political and military leaders had to collaborate, to establish effective partnerships that could translate strategic vision into battlefield execution. They needed to learn how to join with others to harness and employ their resources most efficiently in order to triumph in the war...._ This book is about those command relationships. It focuses on how commanders in chief interact with top field generals, and how those officers work with critical subordinates. The study of the Grant/Sherman relationship in this book should be of particular interest to management teams that must collaborate, establish trust relationships, take advantage of strengths, and minimize weaknesses in a management team. This relationship provides a good model of such a management team.

Sun Tzu: Art of War (History and Warfare)


Sun-Tzu's book is one of the all time classics and also one of the oldest books in existence. It is not actually a book about war except in the most superficial sense, but rather is a book about getting things done, psychology, and generalized conflict management. The Art of War is considered a first reader in Japanese business schools. There is a huge secondary market on Sun-Tzu there, and to a lesser extent throughout East Asia. Sun-Tzu was a general of non-royal birth who eventually commanded all of the troops for the King of Wu in a series of campaigns beginning in the late 6th century B.C. The books of Sun-Tzu were state secrets available to only the military aristocracy, unauthorized possession being usually punishable by death. His name was widely known to ordinary Chinese for about 1,000 years after his death. Thereafter he was an on-again, off- again hero. French missionaries translated the first version into a western language in the time of Napoleon, who is said to have been impressed with it. When reading the book, relate the ideas to business by replacing conquest of territory with acquisition of markets, and generalship for management.

The Genius of Sitting Bull

Sitting Bull, Custer, and Jack Welch; what do all of these people have in common? The author has identified 13 dimensions of leadership and  historical figures of Sitting Bull and Custer to give good and bad examples of leadership. Custer ended up the loser in the Battle of the Little Bighorn. In this book, his losing streak continues as the bad example of leadership. Many Custer fans would argue with the historical conclusions. The author does a good job of identifying the positive leadership traits of Sitting Bull, and then uses the modern day examples of the several current leaders to demonstrate these traits.

Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self Interest

Block proposes a stewardship model for leadership in organizations. He focuses on completely integrating the management of work with the doing of work. Traditional command and control can be replaced with partnerships and choices for all employees as well as customers. The result is a democratic organization with ownership of the business by all team members. The leaders of organizations become stewards rather than bosses. Block discusses the impact of these ideas on day-to-day management, staff functions, accounting, and human resource activities.

The Trust Factor: Liberating Profits & Restoring Corporate Vitality

John Whitney is Director of the W. Edwards Deming Center for Quality Management at Columbia University. In this book he explores the origins and the costs of mistrust in the business. He traces mistrust to biased and useless measures, the misalignment of measures and rewards, poor understanding of systems, presumed incompetence, and the occasional lapse of integrity. Whitney asserts that the cost of doing business is inflated by mistrust. This mistrust shows itself as bureaucratic creep, useless budgeting exercises, and lack of cooperation between departments. He offers some structure in the form of questions to help managers learn about the cost of mistrust and to understand its origins.

Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World

"Each of us lives and works in organizations designed from Newtonian images of the universe." In this book, Margaret Wheatley introduces us to some new views of management theory that are founded in "new science." Wheatley takes the reader on a journey into the new science, based on recent discoveries in quantum physics, chaos theory, and molecular biology that are changing our understanding of the universe. She applies these scientific principles to the management issues of how we manage systems and people. She poses the following questions and offers some insight as to their answers:

How can we find order in a chaotic world?
How is order different than control?
How can we create more participative, open, and adaptive organizations?
How can we reconcile individual autonomy and organizational control?
What leads to organizational growth and self-renewal instead of decline and death?

Managing for the Future

In this futuristic book, Drucker extends his view of management into the next century. He predicts an end to the era of the blue-collar worker and Keynesian economic theory. He puts the Japanese economy into perspective and describes the role of multinational corporations. The book has two chapters on leadership: "The Mystique of the Business Leader" and "Leadership, More Doing than Dash." Drucker's definition of a leader is "someone who has followers." He points out that only in the last 20 years have we begun to view business people as leaders, both inside and outside of the business. There are two important demands of leadership: responsibility and personal integrity. The importance of charisma in leaders is overplayed; leadership is not a set of personality traits. Leadership is working toward clear goals, accepting responsibility, and earning trust. These are the same traits of an effective manager.

Leadership: The Inner Side of Greatness, A Philosophy for Leaders, New and Revised

Kostenbaum refers to himself as an "applied philosopher." In this book he presents a model for leadership based on the "leadership diamond," whose four corners are vision, ethics, courage, and reality. Kostenbaum's educational background is in philosophy and he has experience in the field of psychotherapy. This background brings an unusual perspective to this book which reads like a collection of consulting notes. While the book is about leadership, there are no references to social psychology, which occupies a prominent role in leadership issues. Kostenbaum's approach to developing leadership is at the level of individuals, not groups.

Leadership Is an Art


The author is chairman and CEO of Herman Miller, Inc., the furniture maker that was named one of Fortune magazine's ten "best managed" and "most innovative" companies. Leadership is not learned simply from reading books. It is an art that "is more tribal than scientific, more a weaving ofrelationships than an amassing of information..." Depree's concept of a leader as a sensitive, caring, people-oriented, purpose-driven individual is not revolutionary, but it is very well articulated. This is a fun, interesting book that reminds the reader that there are real people with real feelings inside our carefully designed and controlled systems and structures.

The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done (Harperbusiness Essentials)


This classic from Peter Drucker is being re-read by many executives today. Effectiveness is what executives are being paid for. Effectiveness converts intelligence, imagination, and knowledge into results. To be effective, executives must first understand that their time belongs to everyone else, that they are operating within an organization, and that they are effective only if other people make use of their contribution. Drucker describes five habits that must be acquired to be an effective executive:

  1. Know where your time goes, and manage the time you can control.

  2. Focus on outward contribution, results rather than work.

  3. Build on your own strengths and strengths of those around you.

  4. Concentrate on the few areas where superior performance will produce big results.

  5. Make the fundamental decisions.

Narcissistic Leaders: Who Succeeds and Who Fails


Today's business leaders maintain a higher profile than their predecessors did in the 1950s through the 1980s. Rather than hide behind the corporate veil, they give interviews to magazines like Business Week, Time, and the Economist. According to psychoanalyst, anthropologist, and consultant Michael Maccoby, this love of the limelight often stems from their personalities--in a narcissistic personality. That is both good
and bad news: Narcissists are good for companies that need people with vision and the courage to take them in new directions. But narcissists can also lead companies into trouble by refusing to listen to the advice and warnings of their managers. So what can the narcissistic leader do to avoid the traps of his own personality? Maccoby argues that today’s most innovative leaders are not consensus-building bureaucrats; they are “productive narcissists” with the interrelated set of skills -- foresight, systems thinking, visioning, motivating, and partnering – that he terms “strategic intelligence.” Maccoby redefines the negative stereotype as the personality best suited to lead during times of rapid social and economic change.

The Leaders We Need: And What Makes Us Follow


Leaders We Need", Maccoby steps into this yawning gap in the literature. This insightful book shows that followers have their own powerful-making leaders' work more challenging. The key for modern-day leaders? Being sensitive to how a group's collective psychology and social motivations to follow. Many relate to their leader as to some important person from the past - a parent, a sibling, a close friend. With major shifts
context shape its leadership needs.For example, factory workers in a large city during a period of relative calm would need very different leaders than people working in a star management consultancy during a time of stiffening competition. The author outlines the profound shift from a more bureaucratic society and leadership model to an interactive, collaborative one - and provides crucial advice on how to become a leader
we need. Offering provocative psychological insight and thoughtful analysis of social and cultural changes, this book examines leadership through an entirely new lens.

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