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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2007
Vital Factors is a wonderful promotional piece about the benefits of MAP's business consulting success as told through the stories several of it's clients. The stories are quite inspiring in terms of the dramatic results the individuals and organizations achieved subsequent to the implimentation of the MAP process. However, I found myself wanting for more of a text book understanding of the MAP steps as they are best applied. For example, I would have preferred more of a case analysis of the methodology of MAP's determination of a business' Vital Factors and how those were identified and subsequently measured.

I recognize that all improvement comes through a feedback loop where efforts are measured against results and then adjustments to future efforts are made to optimize outcomes. While MAP distills that process down the book doesn't really get into the meat and potatos of their approach, leaving me wanting for something more to learn from. Guess I'll have to call MAP to learn more. Maybe that's what they wanted all along...
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2010
I was mostly surprised about what this book isn't about. It's not about Vital Factors really. It's about the people that have implemented the Map/Vital Factors (and many other branded terms) processes. 98% of the book is stories of how businesses have fared on the system. Very few pages are given to exactly how to impliment the system yourself.

That said, the purpose of the book is to lead you to Map consulting. For that I give it a three star rating, because I think the title and the summary are misleading. It's a book that convinces you quite well that you need the system, but doesn't focus how to do that. Should the last third have been instruction and method, I would have easily awarded this book 5 stars. Easy!

Even though the book gets a low rating, the success stories they present are mind-blowing. The companies they focus on (like Cold Stone) increased their company size ten fold. It's strange that company profiles only date back to 2000, besides one or two, but I am still convinced it's a good system.

After reading this book I can't tell if the map system is extremely simple or not. There's just not much about the Map system in the book. I would very much like to implement it in my companies so I will research it more before hiring Map. I am guessing that will start around $20k to have Map consult with us. It's a big leap from a $10 book you see.

Surprisingly absent was a focus on general processes. E-Myth handles that well, but that doesn't address Vital Factors (priorities) like this book does.

Please, let's have a book ABOUT the Map system. I am not one that needs to go to a seminar or hire a consultant to initiate change. Good book, but I can't recommend it fully until that is added.

To Mr Lee Froschheiser: I am sorry to be so negative about your book. Should you be interested in adjusting it to meet these concerns, I will happily issue 5 stars and hand out 30 copies to my network. If one of the Vital Factors measurements behind writing the book is increased company exposure, I think I have offered a simple solution to help that factor improve. On the other hand, I understand not wanting to give away all of Map's secrets. Sure would be good reading though!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2010
This is just a commercial for the consulting business. You cannot take much from this book to use in your business. There are single pages that refer to "MAP" (the author's consulting company) 12 times. MAP this and MAP that. Aaaaggghhhh. Enough already. Hard to finish. I want my money back.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Like the human body, each organization has "vital factors" and it is important to know what they are and how to monitor and protect them, especially when attempting to transform any organization from what it is now to what will improve and strengthen it. In this volume, Lee Froschheiser and Paul Chutkow introduce their reader to MAP (Management Action Programs) which they characterize as "a powerful system of business management and personal growth." It consists of six basic functions: Leading, Communication, Planning, Organizing, Staffing, and Controlling. Expect no head-snapping revelations nor do the authors claim to offer any. Rather, the substantial value of their book is derived from understanding and then effectively applying the Vital Factor process which they explain and illustrate with rigorous precision.

The authors assert that the best-run companies share a common set of attributes and virtues. These they list on pages 6-7 and are essentially the same as those identified by others such as Jim Collins, Andrew Hargadon, Jason Jennings, and Alfred Marcus as well as by Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman. For example, personal as well as organizational goals are clear, specific, and measurable; people, strategy, operations, and competitive marketplace are in proper alignment; continuous improvement at all levels and in all areas of operation; and decisions are based on "outside-in," customer-centric perspectives. In this volume, Froschheiser and Chutkow cite research conducted by Eric Gillberg and his associates which reveals that "companies are like people: each was unique, each had its own distinctive DNA, each had its own particular set of defining strengths and weaknesses. Moreover [key point] each company had its own unique - but often hidden - set of vital factors, the critical elements that would either hold that company back or propel it to success."

In this instance, in terms of alignment, the challenge is recognize the strengths of each individual and then apply them to tasks appropriate to those strengths. In fact, Marcus Buckingham is among those who support this leveraging of talents and skills against work to be done while suggesting, also, that managers should concentrate on increasing strengths rather than wasting time struggling to eliminate weaknesses. Specifically, how to do that successfully? Froschheiser and Chutkow offer the MAP system whose foundation consists of Vital Factors and business fundamentals, "the daily blocking and tackling that winning companies do better than their competitors. MAP is an ongoing process that, when implemented well, produces all those attributes and virtues that [Gillberg's] team found in the best-run companies."

As I read this book, I appreciated learning much more about how the transformation of an organization (regardless of size or nature) must occur - and indeed, can only occur -- simultaneously with the transformation of those who are involved in it. Credit Froschheiser and Chutkow with a brilliant explanation of how and why MAP is such a powerful system of business management and personal growth. With comparable brilliance, Collins has discussed companies which made a "leap" from good to great and he and his research associates also learned a great deal about once great companies which became only good and then mediocre. Obviously, there are significant differences between and among those companies that "leap" as well as between and among those that deteriorate...and especially between the two groups...but all of these companies share at least one factor in common: their "health" as an organization is determined almost entirely by the "health" of their people. The ROI on initiatives which achieve and then sustain the mental, physical, and emotional vitality of everyone involved in a given enterprise is incalculable. What Lee Froschheiser and Paul Chutkow offer in this exceptionally practical book will guide and inform such initiatives.

Those who share my high regard for this volume are urged to check out Michael Ray's The Highest Goal, James O'Toole and Edward E. Lawler's The New American Workplace and O'Toole's Creating the Good Life, and Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths And Total Nonsense co-authored by Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2006
Fascinating book! I particularly enjoyed the personal stories of people and organizations who have used the management system described in the book. I have been in senior positions in business for quite some time and it never ceases to amaze me that one can always learn from the experiences of others. A lot of the stories were about people in smaller companies who do not have internal groups responsible for organizational development. I am recommending the book to my son-in-law, who is in just such a position.
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Terrific book. As a business management consultant I utilize many of the concepts and have seen many incorporated into best practices for businesses, I was not aware of the complete MAP process and was impressed with how the elements work together. The book does a great job of providing this direction and insight. I was impressed with the emphasis on personal improvement and leadership modeling that are key parts of the MAP system. If you need assistance implementing new business systems in your business feel free to contact me.
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on June 27, 2008
A very helpful book that reminds you to focus on the small number of "vital few" things that will truly impact your company. This book helped me idnetify and concentrate on the things that will make my company a true success.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I was a MAP Senior Consultant for 2-3 years back in the late eighties and didn't totally appreciate the value of the overall MAP system that its' creator, Eric Gillberg, MAP founder had passed along to his colleagues until I rejoined the professional management ranks after my short, but most professionally rewarding experience with that very talented group of consultants.

The system is simple, pragmatic and extremely rewarding to those who chose to incorporate it into their company culture and, for that matter, their own personal lives. The heart of the system is learning to identify and focus attention on the Vital Factors of the business, rather than the trivial many that tend to clutter our professional lives.

The book will also clearly illustrate how the business owner can significantly enhance business productivity, while empowering and motivating their team to become fully engaged in making the business successfully grow, increase revenues and improve profitability -- I know because it worked for me and a great couple of teams that I had the pleasure of being a member.
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