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Whatever their size and nature may be, most organizations seem to have a workforce that is bipolar: employees either support or challenge the status quo. Those who defend it tend to believe that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" whereas others agree with Robert Kriegel ("sacred cows make the best burgers") and Marshall Goldsmith ("what got you here won't get you there"). My own opinion is that the status quo pays the bills but that constant improvement through innovative thinking sustains its ability to do so. Peter Drucker once observed, "If you don't have a customer, you don't have a business."
In Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, written with Greg Mckeown, Liz Wiseman juxtaposes two quite different types of persons whom she characterizes as the "Multiplier" and the "Diminisher." Although she refers to them as leaders, suggesting they have supervisory responsibilities, they could also be direct reports at the management level or workers at the "shop floor" level. Multipliers "extract full capability," their own as well as others', and demonstrate five disciplines: Talent Magnet, Liberator, Challenger, Debate Maker, and Investor. Diminishers underutilize talent and resources, their own as well as others, and also demonstrate five disciplines: Empire Builder, Tyrant, Know-It-All, Decision Maker, and Micro Manager. Wiseman devotes a separate chapter to each of the five Multiplier leadership roles.
I mention all this to create a context within which to discuss the "lessons for leading change in traditional businesses" that Jamie Gerdsen shares in his book, Squirrels, Boats, and Thoroughbreds. Let's start with the squirrel metaphor and Gerdsen's preference for squirrels over dogs and thoroughbreds (Pages 41-42).Read more ›
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You probably can't make the connection based on the title but this book is an excellent guide specifically targeted to the owner of traditional businesses. Let me be a little more specific on the target audience. It was written as a guide for the owner of the typical local business that is looking to grow their business both in revenue and more importantly profits.
It is very easy to find a large number of books targeted toward Internet based businesses. Likewise, there are plenty of books targeted to the leaders of very large businesses. But this book is really different from most "how-to" books you will find. Jamie Gerdsen, the author, has written based on his own experience of achieving significant growth/success in his own HVAC business.
Jamie writes in a very folksy style, language that any business owner can understand. Since he has encountered most of the problems the typical business owner will encounter, the advice and insights he offers are sound and workable. This book is not some highly theoretical study ... this is a good summary of the things he did and the lessons he learned about growing a business.
The book covers all aspects of growing a business. His story offers some excellent insights on dealing with employees who have retired on the job, on marketing in an age when people go to the Internet first to collect information and the difference between "leading and leadership".
In the book, Mr. Gerdsen covers all segments of running a successful business. Because so much is covered, he cannot go into deep detail in each subject. I think you use this book as an overall guide and if you need to go deeper into any particular subject, then seek out resources that go deeper.