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Whoosh : Business in the Fast Lane Hardcover – August 7, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this short, engaging, but ultimately frustrating book, McGehee, a consultant with Cap Gemini Ernst Young, broadly sketches a strategy for remaining competitive in business in coming years: constant, radical innovation through breaking down barriers between an employee's achievements and those of the company. His advice boils down to these recommendations: "a leadership style that emphasizes freedom, not control... an understanding that success means creating the new and not replicating the old" and a "work style that values individual expression and collaborative work [rather than conformity and individual work]." While these concepts are sound and presented clearly, they're practically clich‚s in the management world. Managers who want to know how to make their organization into what the author calls a "Creation Company," one that understands its past successes and builds off of them instead of maintaining the status quo, may find the book short on nuts-and-bolts advice. McGehee is a lively writer who has extensive experience with large organizations, such as British Petroleum, Johnson & Johnson, Genentech and American Airlines, but this book won't mark his breakout.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

A consultant for Cap Gemini Ernst &Young's Accelerated Solutions Environment, McGehee defines "whoosh" as the feeling one gets at the moment of creative business success. To unleash this energy, companies need to change from "compliance companies" (companies that try to replicate past successes) to "creation companies" (companies that look to the future). A "creation company" values collaboration, freedom, focus, networking, the Internet, and distributed judgment. In this management scheme, argues McGehee, beginners are more important than experts because of their fresh, open viewpoint. The author is willing to jettison such standards as best practices, mission statements, and policy manuals if they get in the way of innovation. With a committed staff, this method will work as well as any other to transform the workplace. This breezy read offers fewer examples than most management books, no scholarly apparatus, and as much enthusiasm and superficiality as any in the field. The word responsibility is hardly mentioned. Neither unique enough nor good enough to recommend highly, it is nonetheless a harmless, acceptable purchase for a public library if someone asks for it. Patrick J. Brunet, Western Wisconsin Technical Coll., LaCrosse
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Unleashing Power Creation Company edition (August 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738204021
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738204024
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,013,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bryan S. Coffman on August 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Does the world really need another book on how to re-make and lead high performing companies? If the reaction of many companies to the recent downturn is any indication, then no, not one book, but probably 1,000 more books until the business world "gets it." There are some important concepts in this book that should be fairly easy to take away and implement--once a company generates the corporate will to do so. One is the difference in mindset between running what the author calls a creation company and running the more common type of company, which he calls a compliance company. The second centers on the topic of chapter five--the art of collaboration. While collaboration has received a great deal of lip service in recent years, the author lays out some simple characteristics and a simple process to remind everyone how to do actually do it. Collaboration will become a more important ingredient for survival over the next decade, regardless of which way the economy turns. Brian Gillooly of Information Week thinks it's so important that he's chosen it as the theme of their annual conference this September. The third important concept is the chapter on models. Senge popularized the idea of mental models, but McGehee has some nice insights to add.
The book is not a substitute for an MBA, but an MBA is not a substitute for insight, either. We're all in the process now of watching a whole new generation of businesses and business leaders analyse themselves into the ground and demonstrate a failure to focus on their ability--and the ability of their people--to create something good and powerful out of adversity.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This whole book is based on the work of so many others and doesn't really offer any new ideas. Group think, fast business, keep up with the times, all of these ideas have been floating around for at least a decade if not longer. I suggest reading books on the subject that are ten years old. You'll get the same basic stuff.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
In the Introduction, McGehee suggests the need for �new methods� for leaders and managers in today�s workplace. �As I see it, organizations face two choices. The first option is to remain the same, emphasizing current methods of compliance, by which I mean consistently focusing on what the company has done, not on what it can do. That method calls for constantly measuring past performance, focusing on problem solving to regain what you�ve lost, rigidly holding onto past models of success, and creating experts in various specialties.� McGehee thinks he has a much better idea and I wholeheartedly agree. �Or, an organization can become a Creation Company. Creation Companies see the changing nature of work as one of the greatest opportunities of our time, and they understand that the opportunity can only be seized by unleashing the individuals within the organization. What this means is allowing individuals the freedom to explore, discover, and take action on the organization�s behalf, in real time.� In his thought-provoking book, McGehee explains HOW.
He examines three trends (cultural, technological, and structural) which will eventually determine whether or not a given organization survives. He characterizes the first as the �Death of the Corporate Myth�: there are no jobs for life, no careers even, not in the traditional sense. The second is manifest in the rapid rise of portals for real time, instant information sharing, and Internet communities. As for the third trend, organizations (willingly or not) are being changed from stand-alone hierarchies to interconnected webs of alliances, partnerships, and outsourcing relationships.
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