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Lead Like Ike: Ten Business Strategies from the CEO of D-Day Hardcover – May 31, 2010
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History To Repeat & Some To Not
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“Geoff Loftus has written an intriguing and highly useful book on Dwight Eisenhower’s extraordinary ability as a leader. If you liked Ike before, you’ll like him even more now. And you’ll be grateful to Geoff Loftus.” – Christopher Buckley, author of Boomsday and Thank You for Smoking
“In Lead Like Ike, Geoff Loftus provides keen insights on management lessons drawn from one of the greatest battlefields in military history. The lessons may appear simply, but it’s the simplest management principles that we often forget: Listen to your people. Set your vision. Be consistent about your message. Let your managers manage.” – Salvatore J. Vitale, Senior Vice President, The Conference Board --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
About the Author
Geoff Loftus, a lifelong history buff, is Vice President, Communications, of the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals, Inc. He has been an editor and writer for more than 25 years in print, television, radio and on the Internet. He has addressed large audiences from Fortune 500 companies on numerous business topics. He has been interviewed by Forbes, Fortune, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, in addition to Compliance Week, Directors & Boards, and Corporate Boards. Mr. Loftus was Managing Editor of Across the Board, a monthly business magazine of thought and opinion at The Conference Board, and he was the first director of The Conference Board’s website, which won numerous awards during his tenure. He has also written and co-written original screenplays and teleplays, including two that were broadcast on television.
More About the Author
I also wrote the non-fiction "LEAD LIKE IKE: Ten Business Strategies from the CEO of D-Day," which reflects my interests in history and business. Finally, I'm a regular contributor on FORBES.com.
Top Customer Reviews
The ten strategic lessons distilled by the author are: determine your mission; plan for success; stay focused; prioritize; plan to implement; communicate; motivate your people; manage your people; avoid project creep; and be honest. Whenever the book describes an action or decision relevant to one of these lessons, it is highlighted in a text box.
In my view the principles which the author has listed do not amount to a significant contribution to the field of leadership theory, and his portrayal of some of the characters in the story seems a bit limited. For example, Winston Churchill comes across as a time-wasting nuisance and General Montgomery as a pompous incompetent fool. The descriptions of Eisenhower's interactions with such people appear to reflect poorly, and probably unfairly, on his leadership abilities, leaving me thinking that I might not want to "lead like Ike" after all. Notwithstanding these objections, I enjoyed reading the narrative parts of the book, and I think that the idea of seeking leadership lessons from Eisenhower's career is a good one.
Disclosure: I received my copy of the book for free from BookSneeze.
Author Geoff Loftus follows Dwight Eisenhower's leadership from his assignment as Commander of Overlord through to Victory in Europe, periodically interrupting the narrative with sidebars to emphasize the management principles employed by Ike and drawing comparisons to similar steps taken by business leaders.
Loftus takes the reader through ten strategies for success and shows how Ike succeeded and, in some instances, failed, in each of them.
Strategy No. 1: Determine Your Mission- D-Day, Inc.'s mission, "unconditional surrender," was determined by its chairman of the board- Franklin D. Roosevelt. Ike achieved that out without an eloquent mission statement, but with incessant concern for his workers who would carry the mission to a successful conclusion.
Strategy No. 2: Plan for Success-Ike asked the question of whether D-Day, Inc. could have survived without Overlord and correctly concluded that it could, but could not afford continued operations if it did not take a chance on Overlord. He then made his plans accordingly. Loftus compares that to the Japanese companies who, when they needed to set up plants in the U.S., assured that those plants would maintain their companies' reputations for quality. He contrasts then to GM and Chrysler who failed to plan for success by not designing and building fuel-efficient cars.
Strategy No.Read more ›
One of the strengths is that not only does Loftus provide us with ten leadership strategies, but he interjects specific applications of theses strategies throughout the narrative. At the end of each chapter, he also provides debriefing notes which focus on the lessons of the story. In so doing the overarching strategies are fleshed out.
Although Eisenhower successfully fulfilled his mission using these strategies, the reader does get to see the times that this General failed. The reader is able to learn from these failures as well as from the successes.
I was left with a greater appreciation for Eisenhower. The manner in which he thought and felt about his soldiers is lesson enough for any leader.
Candidly, the stakes associated with the Allied invasion of Europe were far higher than the risks associated with a company's attempt to compete by taking market share from an established competitor. Nevertheless, there are aspects germane to both that remain analogous.
There is an over-riding historical narrative that depicts Ike as he matures in command. His strengths and weaknesses as a commander are portrayed honestly. Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin are cast as the Board of Directors while colorful personalities such as Gen. George Patton, Field Marshall Montgomery and Omar Bradley are among the key managers reporting to Ike.
For those of us who have logged professional time within the structure of the military and / or corporate America the interpersonal dynamics of the organization here will strike a familiar chord; one that I am glad to have experienced, but equally grateful from which to be currently removed.
There are quite a few literally battle-tested leadership strategies presented in the course of the story line. The author takes the time to `debrief' at the conclusion of each chapter to reinforce those principles that made all the difference between failure and success.
Today's crop of upcoming managers who aspire to leadership positions or to be a CEO will be well-served to read this book. I'm particularly interested in how this book will be interpreted by those managers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, who rise to the level of CEO.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
After 50 years in business, half as an executive and a lifelong student of military history, there is nothing about the strategy of war, violence, and death that transfers to... Read morePublished 6 months ago by William H. Franklin Jr.
Used the book for a class. Great insights into business strategy and Ike.Published 11 months ago by Cathy
The book takes an interesting approach to Ike and D-Day operations. It looks at D-Day as a business engaging a new market. I enjoy the perspective.Published on November 8, 2012 by Jon Reynolds
It took me an exceptionally long time to finish this book. It sat by my nightstand for several months and I would occasionally pick it up and make it through a chapter or two. Read morePublished on March 21, 2012 by D. Brennan
For those of us who like a bit of practical application in our reading, I would recommend Lead Like Ike by Geoff Loftus. Read morePublished on February 16, 2012 by St. Louis Mark
Lead like Ike is one of those books that I would not naturally gravitate toward. I tend more toward fiction. I am glad, however, that I gave this book a chance. Read morePublished on November 23, 2011 by Shanda
I thought that Loftus did a good job setting up the 10 different strategies of leadership he wanted to explain. Read morePublished on November 13, 2011 by Oklahoma Vmax
I cannot recommend this book. I thought it was a huge stretch to make Eisenhower's tactics work for today's marketplace. Read morePublished on November 4, 2011 by Laraine Hester
In Lead Like Ike: Ten Business Strategies from the CEO of D-Day, author Geoff Loftus examines Dwight D. Read morePublished on September 27, 2011 by Nathaniel LaClaire