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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 1998
Gerry Faust is a successful entrepreneur and consultant with a clear, straightforward message:- if you want results from your organisation, develop a climate of responsibility for delivering them. And the fundamental responsibility you have for producing results is to the customer. Some ten years ago Gerry's organisation developed a comprehensive organisational diagnostic which helps organisations to discover how healthy they are against a range of measures. Now, in an engaging way, Gerry shares some fundamental ideas in this "how to" book. I found his proposition that we need to encourage employees to be responsible for results, not just the activities along the way, both seductive and powerful. It explains why so often delegation or empowerment initiatives fail - we have not built the processes and climate which encourage people to feel responsible for delivering results. He links this with a problem solving methodology, and a compelling view of how to select the right teams (not just based on behavioural or role mix) to solve problems in order to maximise the chances of delivering lasting change in organisations. It's easy to read, full of anecdotes and strong imagery, and highly recommended as an element in grounding your consulting skills.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker reluctantly agrees to "try" to salvage his spaceship. The Yoda replies, "Do or do not. There is no try." The authors of this book agree with the Yoda. They suggest that responsible managers insist on achieving results. While chairman and CEO of Pier 1 Imports, Clark Johnson observed that he always encouraged effort but only rewarded performance. Johnson may not have read this book but he certainly agrees with the key points its authors make.
In Chapter 1, they revisit and redefine the concept of responsibility. In subsequent chapters, they discuss a leader's responsibility to the customer, to the organization, and to everyone within the organization. They view the responsible manager as a problem solver and, in Chapter 5, provide a problem-solving approach "that works." They then shift their attention to "Getting the Right Answer" and "Getting the Right Result." For the authors, judgment is the foundation of responsibility. They also assert, in Chapter 9, that there is "a rationale for teams that work" and then explain what that rationale is...also, what it requires of everyone involved. In Chapters 10 and 11, they answer two key questions: How to design an effective team? and How to maximize productivity among the members of a team? In the final chapter, the authors explain what is needed to keep responsible change alive.
According to the authors, "most change efforts fail because of an inadequate understanding of what produces value in the business or of how human beings change." They then offer eight specific reasons why change efforts fail:
1. We like to feel good. [change threatens comfort levels]
2. No top leadership support [if "they" don't care, why should anyone else?]
3. Change efforts do not address the whole system [a fragmented approach tends to focus on symptoms rather than on causes]
4. We hide failure [success is reassuring...failure could involve blame and guilt]
5. Misunderstanding of what has changed [See #3]
6. Too few understand the rationale for change efforts [ie those who are expected to support change initiatives are not told how and why their support is so essential]
7. Neglect of transition [failure to understand that change is an incremental process, not a quantum leap from "here" to "there"]
8. There is no structure for change [within the organization, there are no policies and procedures to resolve the conflict between "what is done now" and "doing better"]
Hence the importance of having a sense of responsibility to help solve problems shared by everyone, of having patience during the inevitably slow process of organizational change, and of having self-discipline throughout that challenging process. The authors correctly point out that (1) "everyone must be willing to carry his or her share of the load", (2) "Sustainable efforts take two to three years but result in dramatically more healthy and more exciting organizations", and (3) "The discipline of change refers to the regularity with which change is pursued as well as emerging skills that are developed through devotion to change." A responsible leader understands all this, conducts herself or himself accordingly, and requires everyone else to do so also. Working together, they identify problems and then solve them. "There is no try...." and excuses are unacceptable.
One final point: Recent research suggests that by 2025 at the latest (but probably much sooner), organizational rewards will be completely based on performance. To varying degrees, responsible leaders have been supporting that policy for decades.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 1998
The focus here is on the end results, the outcomes of management action. The authors present a systematic, thoughtful, practical and step by step method of achieving better results by becoming more effective as problem solvers and its told in story format with interesting and captivating vignettes. Includes several chapters on team building, the elements of team effectivness, and teams that work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2006
Everyone may agree that creating a sense of responsibility in employees and managers is a benefit to an organization. But what is meant by responsibility? And just how can you go about creating a sense of responsibility within a company? These are the questions the authors of this book have tried to answer.

To begin with, it is more important for employees to be responsible for results than for them to be responsible for activities. Employees may, in fact, be able to prove that they performed several activities, without actually achieving the desired result or goal. A good manager, say the authors, must make employees understand that their responsibility lies in achieving the goal behind the work, and not just the work itself. Responsibility has two dimensions. You are responsible to somebody, and you are responsible for something. Employees must be responsible to the customer and the organization. They must also be responsible for results, not just activities or tasks.

Motivating workers to be responsible to the company and for results must proceed from four necessary conditions:

1. The company must be an organization that workers are ready to commit themselves to.

2. Employees must understand what results they are expected to produce.

3. Employees must have a proper reward and recognition system.

4. Employees must have the skills and knowledge necessary to create the results.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 1998
Most of my executive staff has read the book. We are now making our top line managers read it. We can now all talk in terms of the final outcomes not just the activity. We have all agreed to be responsible for the end result. This book will make us a better company.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 1998
The authors focus a bright light on the vital role and enduring quality of personal responsiblity in the work place. Imagine if each of us really did take responsibility for customer satisfaction, getting the right results, and problem solving! We could really make our workplaces stages for personal satisfaction, even joy. This is the future the authors believe in and they've provided a strong tool set in the book to help us get there.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 1999
This is one of the most entertaining and useful books about leadership and management I've ever read. I highly recommend it to anyone in any position of responsibility. Both the concepts and the techniques are invaluable.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 1998
This book should be required reading for any management position. A useful guide for achieving positive results.
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