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Churchill's Adaptive Enterprise: Lessons for Business Today (Lessons from History) Paperback – July 1, 2005

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Product Details

  • Series: Lessons from History
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Multi-Media Publications Inc. (July 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1895186196
  • ISBN-13: 978-1895186192
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6.9 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,489,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Covers it all, in the right order. This book is essential reading for professionals. -- Richard Blasko, Senior VP, Mobile Computing Corporation

Delivers a killer punch. -- Ken Barker, Director, IT, CB Richard Ellis Management Services

If you are looking for clear directions for breathing new agility into your organization, this is the perfect instruction manual. -- Hugh Woodward, Editor, and PM World Today

This book [is] appealing and revealing to both our historic interests and our current-day challenges. -- Stacy Goff, Vice President, asapm

This is a must-read for anyone who is truly interested in understanding how an adaptive enterprise should work. -- Michael Panagis, Practice Principal, Hewlett-Packard

From the Publisher

This book analyzes a period of time from World War II when Winston Churchill, one of history's most famous leaders, faced near defeat for the British in the face of sustained German attacks. The book describes the strategies he used to overcome incredible odds and turn the tide on the impending invasion. The historical analysis is done through a modern business and information technology lens, describing Churchill's actions and strategy using modern business tools and techniques. Aimed at business executives, IT managers, and project managers, the book extracts learnings from Churchill's experiences that can be applied to business problems today. Particular themes in the book are knowledge management, information portals, adaptive enterprises, and organizational agility. The book

* Provides an example of problem solving using emerging technologies and how they were applied
* Outlines emerging technology projects in action, how they were managed, and the required decision making
* Illustrates an example of successful agile project management
* Describes how a leader inspired his project team... and his nation
* Shows how emerging technology can have a breakthrough effect in solving a business problem previously thought insolvable
* Makes the experience memorable by looking at envisioned challenges through the eyes of colourfull characters (villains and heroes)
* Tells a riveting tale that reinforces familiar lessons

More About the Author

The Lessons-from-History series was developed by Mark Kozak-Holland, PMP, IPMA-D. Mark is very passionate about history and sees its potential use as an education tool in business today. Mark is a Project Manager and a Senior Business Consultant (certified in the Consultant Profession). He specializes in helping organizations evaluate how emerging technologies can impact their business.


Mark puts a different spin on complex business problems by applying lessons from history. In his book series, Lessons-from-History, he uses relevant historical case studies to examine how projects and emerging technologies of the past solved complex problems. Mark believes history has great relevance in business today. A good analogy helps to simplify, frame and put today's complex projects into context. It builds up a better understanding and enhances reader retention. It makes the whole learning experience more memorable.


The series was very much influenced by James Burke who advocated an alternative approach to using history in business. Mark published his first book titled "On-line, On-time, On-budget - Titanic lessons for the e-business executive" in 2002. The book explains in layman's terms how to deliver an Internet project successfully using Titanic as a case study. He has continued to publish every 18 months.

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Format: Paperback
In May of 1940, England faced enormous odds. Since the previous September, the German armies had handily conquered Poland, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium and the combined armies of Britain and France. France had surrendered and although the bulk of the British army was rescued from Dunkirk, nearly all of their military equipment was now in German hands. Furthermore, the Italians had entered the war on the German side and the German alliance with Russia seemed firm, as both sides had so much to gain by maintaining it.
Now essentially devoid of significant allies and low on supplies, the only hope the British had to carry out the fight was to make more efficient use of what they had. Therefore, the British carried out one of the greatest improvements in managerial operations ever achieved. Winston Churchill selected the right people for all positions, relying almost solely on talent rather than political or social position. His only concessions to political necessity were in allowing some leaders of the political opposition to have high government posts. For example, Clement Attlee was appointed Deputy Prime Minister during the war years. The direness of the times allowed Churchill and his appointees' great range in their actions and power. Fortunately for the British side, they were men of sense and effectiveness.
In this book, the actions of Churchill and his wartime staff are used as a set of demonstration cases for how effective adaptation can be in the business world. Despite the serious differences in the circumstances, after all, no business staff is really battling for its very life, the analogies work. Kozak-Holland does an excellent job in toning the circumstances down to a set of fundamental business circumstances.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tony Redmond on August 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
As this book clearly shows, the notion of an Adaptive Enterprise is not a new concept. Perhaps it's a new term, but the ability of gifted individuals to respond to changing conditions with out-of-the-box thinking and innovative approaches to lead enterprises to solve hard problems has always been a hallmark of brilliance. Churchill wasn't the only brilliant mind working on the problems posed by global warfare and material shortage in World War II and he made mistakes along the way, but the important thing is that Churchill learned from both triumphs and mistakes and adapted his tactics along the way to eventual success.

Tony Redmond

Vice President and Chief Technology Officer

HP Services
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Format: Paperback
Over the years, I have read many books and written reviews of some that attracted my attention for various reasons. Recently, I discovered a book series that uses historical events and key persons to illustrate concepts and initiatives that could apply to business. The series, Lessons from History, is the creation of a consultant, Mark Kozak-Holland, and the intention of the series is to examine complex business problems by applying lessons from history. He uses historical case studies to demonstrate how challenges were overcome, offering a unique view for business and technology management to apply the lessons of history to their situations.

The book, Churchill's Adaptive Enterprise: Lessons for Business Today, brings the reader to the late 1930's and early 1940's with descriptions of the world situation and the state of politics and lack of preparedness for World War II that existed in Great Britain. When Churchill became Prime Minister in May 1940, his country was facing the onslaught of Nazi Germany alone, France and the Low Countries had fallen under Germany's control, and Britain was poised to be Hitler's next victim. As we know, Britain survived, it regained strength and allied itself with the United States and the Soviet Union to defeat Hitler and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The questions "How did he do that?", "What were the actions and practices that enabled Churchill to emerge as one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century?" are the subject of Kozak-Holland's book.

This book is fascinating reading, despite the fact that the outcome of WWII is known to the reader.
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Format: Paperback
There must be some kind of way out of here say the joker to the thief.
-- Jimi Hendrix

Today's business gurus evangelize the benefits of story like a TV evangelist on a book tour. Still, there are few authors who use story to teach business strategy. Enter Mark Kozak-Holland who uses the stories of history to teach the lessons of the adaptive enterprise. Long after you've read and forgotten strategy concepts taught in standard text books, you'll find yourself remembering and applying adaptive enterprise concepts through the stories in Churchill's Adaptive Enterprise; stories that breathe life into the sense and respond organization.

In Churchill's Adaptive Enterprise, author Mark Kozak-Holland shows how to create an adaptive enterprise by using lessons from World War II. In spite of Britain's stunning defeat at the Battle of Dunkirk, and her subsequent limited resources to wage war, Churchill was able to stave off German occupation and give America time to join the war, by making an entire country agile.

The author writes of how the German Luftwaffe believed they were on the verge of wiping out Britain's Royal Air force, and yet, Churchill, through a sense-and-respond network was able to make 50 British fighters seem like hundreds, and demoralize the German air command. Indeed, Churchill had his watchtower.

From a story perspective, this book is brilliant. First, the author didn't try to make up his own story, or worse, create a fable to teach the adaptive enterprise. No, that could of been a disaster. Why? Because Churchill's stand against Hitler is an archetype that is almost impossible to improved upon. I mean, even Spielberg, if he wanted to... would find it difficult to produce a better protagonist and antagonist than Churchill and Hitler.
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