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Results: Keep What's Good, Fix What's Wrong, and Unlock Great Performance Hardcover – October 18, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Results: One of Harvard Business Review’s “Breakthrough Ideas”


“Highly readable and right on target, Results will help readers at all leadership levels understand why their organizations fall short, frustrate talented people, and deny even the most obvious needs for change. In the hands of committed leaders, Results will get results.” —Hank McKinnell, chairman and CEO of Pfizer, Inc., and author of A Call to Action: Taking Back Healthcare for Future Generations

“I highly recommend this practical book on how to organize and deliver the optimal results you always wanted but never achieved.” —Dick Kovacevich, chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo Bank

Results makes a solid case for organization types and the four building blocks that make up a company’s DNA. Neilson and Pasternack show how business leaders can use these tools to diagnose problems and modify their DNA to create sustainable solutions and a healthy company.” —Chad Holliday, chairman and CEO of DuPont

Results is critical for any executive. You’ll learn how to figure out the DNA of your organization and then act on that knowledge. With readable tales and enlightening examples, it shows how to build on what’s good and discard what’s bad.” —Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute and author of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

Results identifies a number of all-too-common organizational pathologies that get in the way of business performance. More than that, Neilson and Pasternack provide explicit, example-filled advice on how to fix the problems and take your organization to the next level.” —Jeffrey Pfeffer, professor of organizational behavior, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and coauthor of The Knowing-Doing Gap

About the Author

Gary L. Neilson is a senior vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton and has been with the firm since 1980. Located in Chicago, he is a member of the firm’s board of directors and leads the global team that developed the OrgDNA ideas and the related Organizing for Results service offering.

Bruce A. Pasternack is president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.–based Special Olympics. He was a senior vice president for almost thirty years at Booz Allen Hamilton, served on its board of directors, and was a founding partner of its organization and strategic leadership practice.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business (October 18, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400098394
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400098392
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,256,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
5 star
63%
4 star
25%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
13%
See all 8 customer reviews
To Neilson and Pasternack, I now offer "Well-done!"
Robert Morris
Finally, those who, having read Execution (Gary Bossidy and Ram Charam), and afterwards felt that there was something missing, may find that something in this book.
Augusto Carneiro
This is a book about leverage for changing organizations into a high-performance, employee-energizing, model.
Art Kleiner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Art Kleiner on January 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I wasn't going to review this book, because I have a connection to it. I am the editor-in-chief of strategy+business ([...] where an adaptation of part of Results appeared. But the first review, while complimentary, seems to have its own axe to grind, and someone should put Results in perspective.

This is a book about leverage for changing organizations into a high-performance, employee-energizing, model. There are a lot of books on that subject, but Results is distinguished by three things. First, it's theoretically rich. Drawing on both economic organizational theory and the authors' own extensive global surveys (still going on at [...] it has a coherent theory of the "building blocks" that leaders can either design effectively or not. These levers include decision rights, information flows, incentives, and other practices that are usually tackled piecemeal. Results shows how to put them together.

Second, Results is distinguished by the way it labels organizations. The link between the combinations of "building blocks" and the perceived personalities (resilient, passive-aggressive, military, and so on) is remarkably consistent, and it helps people see the nature of the organizations they work for - and the reasons why they got that way.

Third, Results is distinguished by its writing style. It's accessible, but not glib. The examples are substantial, and worthy of attention, like Caterpillar, whose story represents one of the most genuine transformation stories I know of -- from a company on the point of stagnation to an extremely successful high-performance global enterprise.

I spend a lot of time trying to make sense of the entity called "organizations," which are so influential - and so difficult to influence.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Obviously, all human effort produces results, including no change of the status quo. What Neilson and Pasternack are talking about are efforts which sustain what is both effective and efficient, repair or eliminate what isn't, and thereby result in ("unlock") great performance. They identify four separate but interdependent "building blocks" (decision rights, information, motivators, and structure) on which to establish a program to achieve whatever the desirable results may be. Perhaps to manage growth. Perhaps to rightsize. Perhaps to introduce a new product or service and/or to penetrate a new market.

In Chapters One through Nine, they examine several different types of organizations:

Passive-Aggressive: "Everyone Agrees But Nothing Changes"
Fits-and-Starts: "Let 1,000 Flowers Bloom"
Outgrown: "The Good Old Days Meet a Brave New World"
Overmanaged: "We're from Corporate and We're Here to Help"
Just-in-Time: "Succeeding by the Skin of Our Teeth"
Military Precision: "Flying in Formation"

Each of the first six types has specific characteristics, most (if not all) of which are perversions of what would otherwise be desirable. For example, most executives would agree that an organization's operations should be disciplined, consistent, and lean; also, that there should be a well-defined chain of command. However, in a Military Precision organization, there can be serious problems which result from "command and control" management which discourages (if not punishes) principled dissent and individual initiative. Almost everyone involved awaits "orders" to be followed without question or hesitation.
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24 of 36 people found the following review helpful By SR on December 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Results makes a solid case for building blocks that a good Business 101 textbook would tell you make up a company's likelihood for success, but Results misses the mark on identifying or leveraging company personalities.

The term `company personality' is misused. Instead of a company 'personality', the authors appear to be more accurately describing the maturity or efficacy of a company ~ which is a VERY different realm. Said another way, the survey tool (and the book) do not describe a company's personality, they describe a company's level of dysfunction. Results illustrates a preferred end of the efficacy spectrum labeled Healthy in which companies are said to have mature capacities for what we know are best practices for decisions, org charts, metrics, and performance infrastructure. On the Unhealthy end are companies that have not developed similar capacities. Results would then have us believe that all companies should aspire to become the same personality. Herein lies the misnomer of the term `personality'. The Healthy-Unhealthy spectrum of dysfunction offers a simplistic explanation of what makes a company 'work', but it is only two-dimensional. A company's personality is THREE dimensional. A company's personality is also founded on its core values, core beliefs, signal behaviors, its attitudes, and its vision.

If you are looking to leverage success through understanding your company's personality, read Companies are People, Too (Fekete, 2003) instead. This book (and tool set) offer a well rounded approach to understanding company personalities and provides a way for all company personalities to have their place - and still be successful!
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