on September 4, 2012
Having served for 35 years in the United States Air Force, retiring as a four-star general, being executive vice president for operations of a very large railroad, serving on the board of directors of six corporations, and now continuing to serve on three business boards, I've attended many university and military leadership programs and read a number of leadership books, all of which have been helpful through my careers. The Vanoureks' book is based on the authors' personal knowledge and what they learned and share through interviews with very successful leaders in many types of organizations. They "stirred" all the key leadership points into a book that is a rich amalgamation of thoughts and recommendations by successful business leaders. Triple Crown Leadership is very readable and will be valuable to new entries into the business world, mid-level managers, senior staffs, CEOs, and boards of directors. I highly recommend it.
on June 20, 2013
My perspective - I am a general manager - I hold my MBA and have more years of experience than I care to admit.
For those seeking new buzzwords or 7 steps to reinventing the world, just wait - a silly business book will be forthcoming somewhere - this is not it.
I found this book to take a refreshing approach in reinforcing and recasting some of the best management concepts of the past 30 years - and it adds data and perspective to support the case for ethical, effective and enduring organizations. It is a valuable read.
on February 20, 2013
Triple Crown Leadership identifies five leadership principles that are essential for creating high performance, lasting organizations in any field. Each of these "big ideas" is connected to a horse racing metaphor and story, adding to its memorability and reading interest. It is then supported with numerous business examples of where it has either been applied successfully or ignored to an organization's detriment. The five practices focus on: 1)choosing the right people who fit well with your organization's character; 2)providing them with a motivating vision and set of values; 3) leading with sensitivity but also a hard edge when necessary; 4)empowering people to share responsibility and contribute creatively to improved solutions; and 5)creating a management system that aligns values, practices and rewards with consistency and fairness. After laying our this template for excellence, the Vanoureks delve into specific challenges that can cause companies to abandon their best intentions about values and culture: internal and external crises that pose a survival threat; performance deterioration that requires a dramatic turnaround; start-ups where resource constraints don't seem to allow for any cultural niceties; and organizations committed to deliver both societal benefits and financial sustainability. Finally, the authors do a more in-depth analysis of three outstanding organizations that have succeeded while embodying the five triple crown principles: Infosys, KIPP and Google. The Vanoureks have done an outstanding job of identifying the common practices of leaders who are succeeding today across a range of diverse organizations. The authors recognize that simply driving people to deliver results, using the inherent intimidation built into hierarchical organizations, can cause short spurts of improvement in an economy where everyone needs their job. The goal of Triple Crown Leadership, however,is more profound: To arm leaders with a toolkit that will create organizational excellence that endures without cutting ethical corners, because it is built on a cultural foundation that inspires the abilities, affection and loyalty of all those people who are doing the actual work. Any manager today will benefit from mastering these principles and applying them to whatever leadership task they face. Improved performance will inevitably come as a by-product of following these five practices, and the promotion to higher management levels will naturally follow. Hopefully this will create a new generation of skilled, authentic leaders who can avoid the pitfalls that have so often plagued companies and disappointed stockholders in the past.
--Richard Chandler, Adjunct Professor, UC Irvine and former NYSE company CEO
on September 9, 2013
Triple Crown Leadership is one of those rare books a dedicated student of leadership carries with them from office to office as one travels up the career ladder. It ranks up there with Leadership Challenge and On Becoming a Leader. The chapter on Steel and Velvet was particularly riveting. Leaders make minute by minute decisions in facilitating long-term strategic plans. Knowing how to flex your strength or soften your approach are key elements to being a successful leader. After all, don't we all want to be the leader others want to follow? Well written, insightful and a gracious example of leadership in action, this is a must book for your professional library.
on September 19, 2012
I guess I should not have been surprised that the triple crown was a reference to horse racing (but I was). And ironic part of me could not connect ethics and horse racing (perhaps because my puritan parents would be mortified by any form of gambling and it did not seem in line with high
integrity). So I did not really like the horse racing examples they used.
But still, I enjoyed the book immensely. It was all about great leadership and many things I believe in. The gist of the message is leadership is a stewardship responsibility. Leadership is long term. Leadership requires ultra dedication.
It is a book about ethics and values and what place they have in leadership and business (clearly they have a huge place and successful people and organizations have them)
One of my favourite sections was one on alignment. Alignment is much harder and more important that vision. 99% of the time is spent on alignment so figuring that part out is the key.
The points are illustrated with real world examples of businesses in various situations (like J and J and the Tylenol recall). This helps readability and brings points across better.
I loved the many quotes scattered throughout the book - it gave me lots of material for my twitter feed and Facebook updates. I had previously blogged a review on the Tao of Twitter bemoaning the 140 character limit. One quote above that limit:
"I look for three things in hiring people. First is personal integrity, second is intelligence and the third is energy level. If you don't have the first, the other two will kill you."
Warren Buffet (I like Buffet - not because of his wealth but because of his common sense and long term approach)
and A river cuts through the rock not because of its power but because of its persistence. James Watkins
on September 4, 2012
Are you frustrated with mediocre performance, unethical behavior and short-term thinking on the part of individuals, organizations and governments around the world? The Global Financial Crisis comes to mind, or how about unethical behavior at the top of world organizations, such as Lehman Brothers, the International Monetary Fund or FIFA. Or how about the unfolding at Penn State? Are you wondering what can be done? I am.
In my search, I came across a book recently published, called Triple Crown Leadership by Bob and Gregg Vanourek. The book is about how to build excellent, ethical and enduring organizations. In addition to incorporating their own vast experience in diverse leadership positions, they have interviewed 60 organizations in 11 countries. Based on their research, they identify leadership practices that will lead to the three Es - Excellence, Ethics and Endurance. They discuss the need for people with 'head' and 'heart.' They identify the need for purpose, values and vision. They acknowledge the need for collaboration, as well as the firmness necessary to be consistent. The authors go on to define new responsibilities for the stewards, senior executives, board members and other influencers. And they discuss the need for alignment to establish a sense of flow.
But they don't stop there.
This book also gives valuable insights into how to put these practices into action, even in challenging situations, such as turnarounds and start ups. Bob and Gregg Vanourek are a father and son team spanning two generations and two continents (Gregg lives in Sweden, Bob in Colorado). Not only are they bridging the cultural divide, they are also bridging the gap between what is now and what we are striving for. They have successfully researched and written a book that challenges and inspires equally.
If you are interested in having a positive impact in this world, I'd recommend this book. But beware. This is not just a book for senior leaders. Triple Crown Leadership is a call to action for all those who want to make a difference, regardless of your leadership level. It's a book written for you and directed at you.