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Adaptability: The Art of Winning In An Age of Uncertainty Kindle Edition

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Length: 228 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

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"History is not filled with stories of cultures or companies that managed to hold the status quo. History is filled with stories about those who dominated and those that disappeared. Companies need to figure out what being adaptable means to their organizations and how they use it to dominate. Max Mckeown's newest book is the road map they need." - Tac Anderson, Vice President, Head of Digital Strategies, EMEA at Waggener Edstrom

Book Description

Survival rules for the real world of business

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More About the Author

Max Mckeown is a best-selling, award winning author who seeks to make complex ideas practical for the real world. His research focuses on how to increase the successful adaptability of individuals, teams and organizations. He has also has an MBA and Doctorate from Warwick Business School.

Combining cutting edge strategy and management science with pragmatic wisdom, wit and pop culture, he pinpoints how the most resilient people inspire all-important, trust-filled, make-a-difference energy from their people.

He has written six books, including The Strategy Book, The Innovation Book, Adaptability, The Truth About Innovation, and Unshrink The People.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change." Charles Darwin

Max McKeown presents his material within a three-part framework that focuses on these strategic objectives: How to recognize the need to adapt? (Chapters 1-6), How to understand necessary adaptation? (Chapters 12-17), and How to adapt as necessary? (Chapters 12-17). As Abraham Maslow suggests with his "Hierarchy of Needs" (usually portrayed in the form of a pyramid), man must first survive before giving thought to security; and only when secure can man consider "self-actualization" (i.e. personal fulfillment). McKeown's primary objective in this book is to help his reader to understand when, how, and why to adapt "faster and smarter than the [given] situation changes." He accepts Darwin's concept of natural selection but asserts, "Adapt or die is not the only choice. In the future, you can try to maintain what you already have, or you can attempt to transcend the constraints of your situation. We're part of a long chain of adaptive moves. Each move has changed the circumstances of our ancestors, until we arrived." How to learn how to adapt?

In response to that question, McKeown provides an abundance of information, insights, and counsel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
Organizational success and failure can be reduced to one thing, or so argues management consultant Max McKeown in his scientific and cultural look at adaptability around the globe and through the ages. If groups can't change and adapt appropriately, they can't succeed. McKeown offers case studies from companies you know, such as Starbucks, providing insight into familiar story lines. Some of his other examples aren't as famous but are just as compelling: He looks at civil war in Liberia, computer game development and Italian bureaucracy to flesh out his 17 rules (which would be just as good without those few swear words) for adapting and, thus, succeeding. McKeown's rules are eye-catching, but they don't always connect smoothly to the stories or to a plan of action. As such, some of the book works better as a history of adaptability than as a manual for acquiring that skill. Still, an eager reader can tease out techniques and ideas for becoming more adaptable, and McKeown offers warm, inspirational tales that provide general road maps for successful adaptation. getAbstract believes leaders of companies small or large looking to motivate their employees or themselves will find value here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kris Vockler on May 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
I read a ton of business books and most are either lacking in substance or lacking in steps to go from point A to point B. Honestly, the writing style of Adaptability threw me at first, but once I got into it, the excess number of examples were not a problem. Max seriously did his research for this. He draws on some interesting historical situations to prove his points. Rule #2 (Embrace unconventional wisdom) reminded me of my father, a rogue entrepreneur. He always said to never listen to those who said it can't be done but to those who said what if we could.

All-in-all a great book and one that sparked more thinking for sure, Adaptability is almost a lost art that should be taught in school at young age.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ChrisG on May 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
When you run your own company, or you're responsible for leading people and/or motivating, it's important to keep yourself in a positive mental state.

In order to keep positive, one of my chosen tactics is to read motivating/energetic books. And I have read hundreds of books - quick reads such as the E-Myth and various coaching books by John Wooden and such, and longer reads on psychology and emotions. Max's book is one of those quick motivating reads that can help keep mental momentum.

Max uses analogies and common examples to make points. Having been in business now for almost 2 decades, it's not stuff I haven't seen before but I have found that I need to read similar material from different sources to keep my ideal engine fresh.

I think this book could do that for you and help keep you in the right frame of mind and keep you energetic about ideas and execution in a world of rapid change.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Gifford on June 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
'All failure is a failure to adapt', says McKeown in his introduction to this book.

In the living world, if a species doesn't adapt to its environment, it dies and its precise genetic make-up leaves the gene pool. Organisms that evolve through chance mutation or through the evolutionary selection of existing advantageous adaptations manage to survive to reproduce another day. But, as McKeown points out, human beings have managed to add another layer of adaptation to the brute business of genetic inheritance. McKeown characterises these mechanisms as culture, science and technology: we learn and pass on tricks that help to us adapt to changing circumstances, regardless of our genetic make-up.

McKeown's introduction to 'Rule 1' (Play your own Game) says it all: 'If you are getting whipped playing by the existing rules, get used to losing or change the game. If you can't win by standing and fighting then run and hide. If you can't win by being big, be small. If you can't win by being small, be big. The first rule of winning is that there is no one way to win.' Organisations - especially corporations - need to remind themselves of this vital need for constant adaptation, argues McKeown. As another of his proposed rules for survival nicely puts it, `Stability is a dangerous illusion.' Or, as he quotes IBM CEO Virginia Rometty as saying: 'You may be only one mistake away from irrelevance.'

The problem is that most organisations are inherently conservative; they don't just resist change, they actively fight against it. McKeown offers three fundamental steps for survival that form the structure of this book: recognise the need for adaptation; understand what adaption is required; do what is necessary to adapt.
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