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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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Editorial Reviews

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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (December 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118054016
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118054017
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #682,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John M. Bernard consults with state government leaders on the transformation to results-driven government. Bernard has authored two books on designing state-of-the-art management systems, the best-selling Business at the Speed of Now (Wiley, 2012) and Government That Works, The Results Revolution in the States (Results America, 2015). In the early 1980s Bernard began studying, writing about and implementing the concepts of Dr. W. Edwards Deming and Toyota. He founded and serves as Chairman of Mass Ingenuity, a Portland, Oregon based consulting firm. He also co-founded Results America, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting and installing best-practice, results-driven management systems in government.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As with any other strategy, speed needs to be used selectively rather than impulsively. In Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi (pronounced "chick-sent-me-high-ee") acknowledges the importance of speed but as a strategic option, not an imperative, when striving to achieve peak performance. To paraphrase Albert Einstein, companies should move as fast as appropriate...but no faster. The speed to which John Bernard refers in his book's title enables an organization to stay ahead of its competitors' threats as well as its customers' expectations.

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.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lit Lover on November 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I found this management book a little deceptive. It's relatively brief, yet it delivers an amazing number of thougthprovoking ideas and practical tools. The stories and examples make it vastly more interesting than the typical business tome. We will be putting a lot of John Bernard's advice to work in our company this afternoon. I can't remember the last time a management book not only stirred my imagination but stimulated me to make some immediate changes in the way we interact with each other and our customers. I highly recommend this book to entrepreneurs who know the value of agility in a digital world. I'd like to buy up all the printed copies, just to keep them away from my competitors!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BobW on March 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be really outstanding. It's straightforward in its message and full of practical examples. I read this book at the same time as I was reading Geoff Colvin's Talent is Overrated. These two books seem to go very well together - Bernard's book describing and explaining different methods of process improvement for an organization and Colvin's book describing and explaining different methods of process improvement for an individual.

On a personal level, I also found Bernard's writing very compelling so that it was relatively easy to finish the book (about 200 pages) in a short period of time. Bernard talks about the concept of "Now" versus "Then" organizations. It was refreshing to see that while I currently work in a "Then" organization there is the possibility of working in a "Now" organization in the future. While "Then" organizations are plentiful - to be successful organizations will need to become "Now" in their mentality and how they motivate and manage people.

Overall I thought this was an outstanding book and I would recommend it highly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Denis on August 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ACC on February 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
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. Loved the 7 deadly sins on page 28, it is why managers fail. On page 35 John writes, " Employee engagement is not about people feeling all warm and fuzzy; it is about people possessing the knowledge, skills, and authority to act swiftly and skillfully without waiting for permission." This is so true and the reason the Four Seasons is so successful. It is all about really listening to your people. On page 200 John provides a clear way to make sure everyone understands the vision and impact it makes with individuals and the organization. I have been training companies for almost 20 years on leadership and communication, this book supports what I do. I will refer to it in my programs and recommend it to my clients. Thanks for ideas John! Allison Clarke
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Modern businesses are grappling with a changing environment and changing marketplace. Customers are demanding more and more customized products and failure to deliver can result in immediate and widespread reputation damage inflicted by social media tweets, shares, and evaluations. How do we make sense of it all and how should we respond?

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.

--David Marquet
author [...]
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