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Business at the Speed of Now: Fire Up Your People, Thrill Your Customers, and Crush Your Competitors Hardcover – December 6, 2011
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From the Inside Flap
At the start of the twenty-first century, we've witnessed a shift to a mass customization-driven economy, leaving behind a century focused on mass production. Customers have come to expect immediate and tailor-made responses to their needs, and the businesses that fail to deliver quickly fall behind. How fast does your business move? Are you doing business at the speed of NOW or trailing the pack at the speed of THEN?
Business at the Speed of Now outlines principles and practices that forward-thinking managers can use to enhance customer experience, reduce costs, and drive growth. Three major game changers have accelerated business today. Social media creates vast powerful communities by instantly connecting people inside and outside an organization. Cloud computing provides workers access to the resources they need to resolve issues the moment they arise. And the Millennial mindset demands that it all happens now. Business at the Speed of Now presents systematic advice on how to build an integrated, engaging, and transparent management system, enabled by cloud computing and internal social networks.
Use this comprehensive guide to create a NOW organization where everyone boldly pursues every opportunity every time. Through more than sixty real-world stories of success and failure, this book:
- Demonstrates how to achieve the three goals of the NOW management system: eliminate fear, reduce variation in everything you do, and rapidly overcome constraints that inhibit progress
- Applies speed-enabling technology to the three essential types of work: Fundamentals (routine work that consumes 95 percent of all resources), Breakthroughs (initiatives that can change the game), and Problems (daily challenges and crises that occur in all organizations)
- Provides a wealth of real-world examples, assessments, tools, guidelines, and checklists that enable readers to apply the concepts immediately
- Offers practical tools for building account ability and transparency into every position, thereby eliminating the loose ends that so often cause business execution to stumble
Set your organization free from the old THEN management ways that no longer get the results you need. Adopt the new NOW management thinking and the state-of-the-art tools that will get your organization doing business at the speed of now.
From the Back Cover
Praise for Business at the Speed of Now
"Practical. Useful. Inspiring. Managers and leaders who want to engage the hearts and minds of every employee will find all the tools they need in the pages of Business at the Speed of Now."
—Marshall Goldsmith, author of the New York Times bestsellers Mojo and What Got You Here Won't Get You There
"Mr. Bernard's book achieves a critical first by showing how social media and cloud computing are resetting customer expectations. Then he makes clear why competitive pressures demand that management apply process thinking to management itself in order to ensure everything is in place for employees to meet customer needs in real time."
—Richard Walje, President and CEO, Rocky Mountain Power, a division of PacifiCorp
"Our citizens demand transparency and accountability. Government must achieve outcomes that matter. Business at the Speed of Now is more than thought provoking, it provides answers every leader needs to understand."
—Michael J. Jordan, Chief Operating Officer, State of Oregon
"This book connects dots from the past, present, and future, simplifying complex issues that can appear daunting to today's leaders. Bernard's GPS for navigating today's fast-changing business environment reveals the principles and practices leaders should keep and those they should leave behind to create highly competitive organizations where people fully engage their hearts and minds. Compelling stories and pragmatic tools in every chapter help readers apply those insights immediately."
—Teresa Roche, Chief Learning Officer, Agilent Technologies
"Bernard brilliantly tackles the issues of speed and turnaround that everyone struggles with today. Using engaging stories, new thinking about creating a responsive organization, and case studies that drive the point home, Bernard lays out a game plan for success. If you want to discover the keys to creating a responsive organization that provides customer solutions in 'real time,' you need to read this book."
—Roger Connors and Tom Smith, authors of the New York Times bestsellers The Oz Principle, Change the Culture, Change the Game, and How Did That Happen?
"Required reading for any business owner or manager who wants to grow and profit in the now!"
—Gene Marks, President, The Marks Group, and New York Times columnist
Read excerpts (PDF) from five top social media and marketing books to kick start your marketing and PR strategy: The New Rules of Marketing & PR, Content Rules, Inbound Marketing, UnMarketing, and The End of Business as Usual.
Top Customer Reviews
Many (most?) business leaders embrace what James O'Toole so aptly characterizes in one of his books, Leading Change, as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom." In a word, "then": whatever was done until now that has been successful. Marshall Goldsmith observes, "What got you here won't get you there" to which Bernard responds, "What got you here won't even keep you here." At best, "then" is a fond memory and for many (most) people, "now" is a continuation of it.
Bernard offers 12 admonitions. He assigns a separate chapter to each, explaining how to formulate and then implement a plan to achieve high-impact results with sharply-focused initiatives:
1. Prepare for Yes (e.g. empower front-line people with authority)
2. Put an End to Then (i.e. simplify the flow of work)
3. Drive Growth with Yes (i.e. create a culture of contagious affirmation)
4. Gain the Speed You Need (e.g. "travel light" in terms of "baggage")
5. Create the Context for Speed (e.g. base decisions on verifiable facts)
6. Achieve Critical Breakthroughs (with a seven phase process)
7. Close the Execution Gap (with seven-step transparency initiative)
8.Read more ›
John Bernard is well equipped to answer this question. John, though his company Mass Ingenuity, has helped his clients -- which have included major companies and most of the state governments in the Pacific Northwest -- sort through this problem. Now, he has distilled his method with his book, Business at the Speed of Now.
The "big shift" is characterized as a transition from mass production to mass customization. This big shift is being powered by three strong trends: rise of social media, shift toward cloud computing, and coming of age of millennials. The result is a demand for significantly shorter sense-act cycles for business and the ability for companies to treat each customer with a customized solution and personal touch. Companies that can achieve this shift will thrive, those that don't will die.
John describes the end result as a "system of management" and in the book describes their approach from assessment, determination of fundamentals, and discovery of breakthroughs. The book illustrates these steps with stories from his consulting experiences.
One of the stories I liked in particular told how a company front line manager took a customer's complaint but couldn't act on it. The employee had to pass the complaint "up the chain" for approval of the company's response. Although this arrived several days later, the damage to the company's reputation for this customer was already done. In other words, don't push the information to a decision maker, push the decision authority to the employees on the front line that already have the information.
This book and its underlying philosophy will set apart the next generation of organizations.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book has some basic good thoughts. Not realistic in our department that will never stop micromanaging. This is required reading for our department managers.Published on September 11, 2013 by Dammitt
I purchased this book as a gift for a new manager. This gives the managers of viewing the way business is being conducted and ideas of how to motivate they employees.Published on August 17, 2013 by Lynn Denis
After a major national consulting firm dived deeply into its multi-million dollar process improvement project with our government agency, I observed to a friend that the... Read morePublished on April 10, 2013 by 12SRV
I found this book to be really outstanding. It's straightforward in its message and full of practical examples. Read morePublished on March 18, 2012 by BobW
John Bernard's book is important for all leaders to read! It captures the importance of communicating differently to make the changes necessary in your company. Read morePublished on February 23, 2012 by ACC
There's an almost-hidden gem in this book. John Bernard leads off observing the demands of today's business climate and wraps up with a philosophy that values the contribution of... Read morePublished on January 11, 2012 by Miguel J.
Bernard recognizes the magic of being able to say "Yes" to the customer. He describes how existing systems and processes stand in the way of yes, and lays out what wt will take to... Read morePublished on December 8, 2011 by Leo Hopf