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Practically Radical: Not-So-Crazy Ways to Transform Your Company, Shake Up Your Industry, and Challenge Yourself Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 4, 2011
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My favorite section of the book is Part III, "Challenge Yourself." (The other two are "Transforming Your Company" and "Shaking up Your Industry.) The lessons here are palpable, and for me the most valuable was in Chapter 8 and Taylor's interview with Boston Scientific cofounder John Abele. Taylor focused on a more personal story rather than the more well-known aspects of Boston Scientific. I won't spoil the story, but the insights from it helped me understand the delicate balance of collaborative leadership. It's not simply collective intelligence that solves a problem, but "collective capability." That is, leaders create the conditions in which diverse people work together to solve a tough challenge. The crux, as Abele says, is that "leaders can't be so self-effacing that they become invisible. They have to create a reason to collaborate and a platform to make it possible."
Taylor's book creates these conditions as well, conditions in which "diverse and dispersed groups of people can rally around a cause, sort through a problem, and make tangible progress on difficult-to-achieve goals." I hope that Taylor continues this with a companion website to this book to let leaders share their ideas, issues and stories.
The book ends with a Practically Radical Primer: 10 Questions Every Game Changer Must Answer. This is a quick-hit section that offers a lot of insights and challenge-yourself questions to help you create the changes you want to see happen.
Taylor agrees with Rabe that zero-gravity thinkers have "psychological distance" from the setting in which they work, "renaissance tendencies" that draw on a range of interests and influences, and "related expertise" that allows them to find the points where blue-sky ideas intersect with real-world opportunities. They are visionary pragmatists: they see possibilities and realize how difficult it will be to make them realities.
For example, Taylor cites what he calls "Five Truths of Corporate Transformation" (Pages 83-93):
1. Most organizations in most fields suffer a kind if tunnel vision, which makes it hard to envision a more positive future.
2. Most leaders see things the same way everyone else sees them because they look for ideas in the same places everyone looks for them.
3. In troubled organizations rich with tradition and success, history can be a curse - and a blessing. The challenge is to break from the past without disavowing it.
4.Read more ›
But regardless of who said it, the belief is repeatedly challenged in William C. Taylor's PRACTICALLY RADICAL--an excellent book that will get you thinking about change in your company or organization . . . and how you can use it to help things become even more energized.
The author, cofounder and founding editor of the magazine FAST COMPANY, looks at a wide range of for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations to determine how they have been able to succeed in today's tough times . . . among those profiled were Zappos, Swatch, the Girl Scouts, Interpol, fast-growing banks, high-flying airlines and Providence Police Department.
What I liked were the many ideas that I got from reading that can be applied to virtually any situation, such as this one:
* Why is this unlikely group of civilians sitting on the command session of a big-city police department? Because Chief Esserman has opened his mission-critical meetings to anyone who wants to attend: government officials, high-powered community leaders, grassroots activists, ordinary citizens, even members of the press. Virtually anything and everything about crime in this troubled city is open to the public and on the record every Tuesday morning at 8:30 sharp. In return, virtually anyone and everyone who wants to play a role in reducing crime has a seat at the table. Rhode Island may have a reputation, as the Times noted, for "parochialism" and "insecurity"--but there is nothing parochial about these gatherings, and most of the participants are secure enough to speak their mind.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is fantastic if you are in a leadership position or want to be an agent of change (even if you don't have the authority). Read morePublished 1 month ago by Laura W
I liked the general concepts of the book. I thought the authors concepts of Vuja De and the others are very relevant to implementing change in todays organizations. Read morePublished on October 7, 2013 by dthomas2003
there were some good ideas but few that have not be written about before. More in-depth review of some of the major challenges that the successful companies had to resolve would... Read morePublished on September 24, 2013 by Manu
The author, William Taylor, has captured some great ideas that will challenge how you lead, think and get results in your business. Read morePublished on June 25, 2012 by Norman Gauthier
Bill Taylor profiles companies that are proving that radical is the new practical. If you don't get with it, you'll be history.Published on June 28, 2011 by Jim Rohrbach
At a time when negativity still runs heavy as regards the economy, William Taylor has provided several breaths of fresh air in providing real-life stories of how others have... Read morePublished on April 21, 2011 by John
You want to transform your company, shake up your industry, and challenge yourself. Now, where do you start? Read morePublished on February 16, 2011 by Marylene Delbourg-Delphis