Free, Perfect and Now
tells how one CEO nearly quadrupled his company's market value through the power of the Internet and some daring management. Written by Bob Rodin, president of electrical distributor Marshall Industries, Inc., the book is about the struggle to give customers what they want: reduced prices, higher quality, and speedy service. "Who in the world is figuring out how to serve customers at a lower cost? Closer to perfect for your customers' changing values? Faster?" Rodin writes. "We ask ourselves those questions every day at Marshall." Rodin is renowned in the trade for overseeing the creation of an award-winning business-to-business Web site--launched in 1994, far ahead of the competition. A disciple of management guru W. Edwards Deming, Rodin describes his company's astonishing rise over six years. He changed the culture by ridding the company of contests and bonuses and freeing managers from meeting quarterly objectives. One of his most revolutionary moves: abolishing commissions for his 600-strong sales staff. As far as Rodin can determine, Marshall boasts the only major sales team in the U.S. that gets paid strictly by salary and profit-sharing. That means sales pros can move customers to the Internet without worrying about losing commissions. But Rodin cautions that the Internet also means relentless competition. Even as this book was released, Marshall lost a major customer and its stock price was cut in half--Rodin may need to work some magic again. This book is for senior executives, middle managers, and businesspeople open to some radical methods for expansion. --Dan Ring
George Gendron Editor, Inc.
magazineCall me crazy, but the last thing we need in business is another "Big New Management Idea." What we could all use -- whether we are part of a big organization or a small one -- is more trustworthy information about the implementation of the ideas we already have. Free, Perfect, and Now
is the perfect business book for our times, one of the few authentic accounts I've read of how companies really manage to transform themselves. No New Economy babble here -- real people, a real company, pulling off real change."
Warren Bennisauthor of On Becoming a Leader
One of the most remarkable, firsthand stories of wealth creation I've ever read! For anyone who wants to understand the "on the ground" narrative of how entrepreneurs work, how innovation leverages intellectual capital, and how ideas -- business ideas --
can improve the quality of life, this is the book for you.
Rosabeth Moss Kanter Harvard Business School, author of Rosabeth Moss Kanter on the Frontiers of Management
Rob Rodin's personal journey to innovative leadership is told with candor and wit -- it's the real story of how things get done in the best companies. The lessons learned by this world-class change master will resonate with every CEO or wannabe CEO, and the down-to-earth advice for managers on every level can help almost any business to profit and grow.
Alan Webber, founding editor, Fast Company
magazineThese days, lots of companies talk about change and transformation. But if you want to see what it really takes to become a fast company -- and what it really looks like -- read this book.
Bruce Karatzchairman and CEO, Kaufman and Broad Home CorporationWith great candor about his setbacks as well as his victories, Robert Rodin offers compelling advice on making an organization succeed. He combines a broad vision of the future with the management skill to deal with the present -- a rare talent indeed! Because all of us -- even those in government -- serve "customers," this is an important book for any organization.
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