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Judgment on the Front Line: How Smart Companies Win By Trusting Their People Hardcover – October 11, 2012
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“A useful and intelligent guide for elevating the performance of any organization”
–Jim McNerney, chairman, president, and CEO, The Boeing Company
“This book demonstrates how companies have prospered by empowering their frontline staff to address customers with the degree of passion and commitment you would otherwise only expect from those who owned the company.”
–Ratan Tata, chairman, Tata Group
“DeRose and Tichy offer a practical, no-nonsense prescription for building an organization in which each person’s voice can be heard and everyone’s ideas can make a difference.”
–Doug Oberhelman, chairman and CEO, Caterpillar Inc.
“This well-informed and timely book unlocks the secrets of employee empowerment with compelling examples as important insights,”
–Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School professor; director of the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative; author of Confidence and SuperCorp
“At last! Unique insight into every company’s undervalued competitive advantage, the front line – where success actually happens or doesn’t – from the authors who’ve been there. Managers everywhere must pay attention to this book.”
–Geoff Colvin, Fortune columnist; author of Talent Is Overrated
“An essential volume.”
–Andrew N. Liveris, chairman and CEO, The Dow Chemical Company
“Read Judgment on the Front Line and tap in to a brain trust that has been right under your nose!”
–Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager and Leading at a Higher Level
“Tichy and DeRose have put their finger on the issue that all executive know determine success… you are only as good as the customer thinks you are.”
–Ray Lane, managing partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, executive chairman, Hewlett-Packard
“A must read and more important, a must act volume of insight and wisdom!”
–Leonard A. Schlesinger, president, Babson College; former vice chairman and COO, Limited Brands
“A comprehensive and easy-to-understand model to attain great outcomes.”
–J. Randall MacDonald, senior vice president, Human Resources, IBM
“Judgment on the Front Line takes the notion of empowerment from motherhood to a practical imperative for success.”
–Don Tapscott, CEO, The Tapscott Group, author, most recently, of Macrowikinomics
About the Author
Noel M. Tichy is the author of Judgment, Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will and many other business bestsellers. He is a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and advises CEOs around the world.
Chris DeRose has consulted and taught around the world with companies such as Royal Dutch/Shell, Ford Motor Company, Agilent, 3M and HP.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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Those who have read Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls, a book Tichy co-authored with Warren Bennis, that was published by Portfolio/Penguin, already know that he has an insatiable curiosity about the relationship between great leadership and the decision-making process. Moreover, he insists that all organizations (whatever their size and nature may be) need great leadership at all levels and in all areas, and that is especially true of frontliners, those who interact directly and frequently with "the world out there," one shared with customers, of course, but also competitors, strategic allies, and others within what has now become a global chain. He and DeRose are eminently well-qualified to address the complex issues that
Early in their book, DeRose and Tichy introduce and then thoroughly explain a five-step process for building a front line-focused organization: (1) Connect the front line to the customer, (2) Teach people to think for themselves, (3) Experiment to implement, (4) Break down the hierarchy, and (5) Invest in frontline capability. As they point out, "While we depict this process in a step-by-step fashion, the building of a front line-focused organization may not occur [and probably won't occur] in such a neat, linear manner. Nevertheless, we have found that all of the elements are necessary whether building an organization from scratch or transforming a decades-old institution."
These are among the dozens of passages that caught my eye, also listed to indicate the scope of coverage in the material.
o Leadership in a Front Line Organization (Pages 19-21)
o Building a Front Line-Focused Organization (22-41)
o Making It Local (59-62)
o Judgment on the Front Line for SEALS (67-74)
o Taking the Time to Think (78-81)
o Innovation Models, A Culture of Experimentation, and Providing Structure for Innovation (89-97)
o Making Everyone a Genius at Intuit (99-106)
o The Mayo Clinic's "Plus One" Protocol (109-113)
o Making Time for the Front Line to Think (118-120)
o When Radical Change Is Needed (125-128)
o The Human Factor, and, Creating Supervisors Who Empower the Front Line (135-141)
o Bringing Customer-Centricity to Life (152-154)
o Frontline Leadership in the Social Sector (175-178)
Following the tenth and concluding chapter, DeRose and Tichy provide a "Handbook for Judgment on the Front Line" (Pages 188-255) that, all by itself, is worth far more than the cost of this book. It consists of Nine Sections that contain a wealth of information, insights, and counsel that will enable companies to develop "more productively engaging frontline workers to solve customer problems, fix broken work processes, and innovate new products and services." In the chapters preceding the Handbook, Chris DeRose and Noel Tichy examine real frontliners in 20 real organization. Then, in the Handbook, they serve as their reader's tutors, focusing on how they can help build a front line-focused organization.
This is a process, not a destination, during which senior leaders must frequently find ways of listening to and learning from the front line in order to adopt to changing environments. "Frontline employees and customers can be senior leaders' source of early warnings about shifts in the market, so that they may in turn exercise their own judgment about the organization's overall strategy." I presume to add that most of the companies on the annual lists of those highly admired and the best to work for are also on the lists of those that are most profitable, have the greatest cap value, and dominate their competitive marketplace. However different these companies may be in most other ways, all are front-line focused, and, mutual respect and mutual trust define their culture.