From Publishers Weekly
In this breakthrough business book, Pascale, Millemann and Gioja troll the emerging science of complexity for "ideas [that] can produce a concrete bottom-line impact." Extracting key "dynamics of survival" from the life sciences, these three management consultants successfully show business leaders how to turn their companies into agile and adaptable "living systems" that achieve long-term vitality and sustainability in a swiftly evolving environment. Their four "bedrock" principles are "Equilibrium is a precursor to death"; "Living things move toward the edge of chaos"; "Components of living systems self-organize" in response to turmoil; and "Living systems cannot be directed along a linear path." Writing with clarity and verve, the authors illustrate these larger points by comparing the functioning of organic systems (e.g., Yellowstone National Park), the behavior of organisms (dental plaque) and of insects (fire ants) with detailed case studies of five companies (British Petroleum, Hewlett-Packard, Monsanto, Royal Dutch/Shell and Sun Microsystems) and the U.S. Army. Practical-minded readers will appreciate their nitty-gritty insights into the relative advantages of "adaptive" and traditional "operational" leadership, as well as their consistent distillation of concrete business guidelines. While the authors aver that "there is no permanent victory in this eternal cycle of life and death," they make a persuasive case that "understanding living systems does not decisively win the game but, most assuredly, it improves the odds." (Nov. 1)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Great storytelling, experience-based insight, and effortless prose.”
—Christopher Meyer, Director, The Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Center for Business Innovation, and coauthor of BLUR: The Speed of Change in the Connected Economy
and Future Wealth
“Surfing the Edge of Chaos
is a breakthrough book . . . rendering subtle and complex ideas into readable prose by refracting the ideas through the prism of real-life organizations. This book will be must reading for any serious executive or student of organizational change.”
—Warren Bennis, University Professor and Founding Chairman of the Leadership Institute, University of Southern California, and author of Managing the Dream
“Surfing the Edge of Chaos
is an action plan for bringing organizations to life and life to organizations.”
—Prof. Gary Hamel, author of Leading the Revolution and coauthor of Competing for the Future; Visiting Professor, London Business School; and Chairman of Strategos
“Grounded in both theory and practice, Surfing the Edge of Chaos
helps any manager facing change to replace equilibrium and the status quo with innovation and self-renewal. The links drawn between the world of nature and the world of business form a particularly rich source of ideas for turning complexity and chaos into resolve and results.”
—Dave Ulrich, Professor of Business, University of Michigan, and author of Results-Based Leadership