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Strategic Speed: Mobilize People, Accelerate Execution Hardcover – June 1, 2010
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Full disclosure: I worked with Henry Frechette 30 years ago at the Forum Corporation, but Henry and I haven't spoken for 20 years and no one asked me to write this review.
Since I left the Forum Corporation in 1986, I have been engaged in strategic leadership and change work. Clearly both Henry and I have worked in leadership alignment and driving change initiatives.
Things I like about this book:
- Clarity, Unity, Agility -simple straightforward and all necessary.
- I really like the metrics time to value and value over time. I am always telling clients that in order to improve you must measure the delta.
- Climate: -I'm really glad to see the climate material still lives. Henry and I share a mentor in George Litwin. But really, I'm just tired of all the focus on the long term variable -culture" - which seems to have become the excuse for inaction of the 21st century "Our culture won't let us do that." Climate is much more manageable and a secret to Clarity, Unity, Agility -than the "long shadow of the founder" - culture.
- Cultivating Experience -There is no change without insight and action upon it, no growth without learning. I know that Dr. Frechette has a lifelong career in understanding and growing organizational learning -and so I'm not surprised that this is in here, but I absolutely agree.
Things I don't like, really only one:
The book kind of pooh-poohs a focus on process. While I absolutely believe that a singular focus on process, structures and systems to the exclusion of people is wrong-headed. (I am constantly struggling with clients to keep the from pulling them formal organization structure lever as the only thing they do to make change.) People use processes and systems every day and if they don't work, it slows things down. So focus on people first, yes; prioritize systems and processes for driving initiatives, yes. But ignore them -No!
A good thought provoking book. Thank you
This book is masterfully written as both an executive's desk reference, and as a tool on the frontlines where business is done, for multiple reasons:
Because the book can be read quickly (easily in two sittings), it makes good on the idea that solid approaches can be communicated and executed with speed; and it is full of examples from real world companies that demonstrate the approaches described by the authors really work.
Beyond the compelling case studies, the recommended practices are also research-based; Forum has gone through the effort to discover and test what is being preached.
The assessments in the book are something that can be referred to repeatedly and used as pre- and post-pulse checks; people passionate about learning application and execution will love it.
"Strategic Speed- Mobilize People, Accelerate Execution" gives HR and coaches common ground to work with leaders on achieving business results through best practices in talent management.
And not least of all, the people in organizations will get behind these approaches because they create the working relationships with leaders they've always wanted.
Beyond a critique of the current way of solving problems, the book offers tools to help business leaders leverage the talent of their employees and build stronger more agile organizations. Moreover the book is based on research conducted with The Economist Intelligence Unit using surveys and interviews with hundreds of companies and in depth profiles on some companies you already know about and others you probably should know about.
It's a practical treatise that should be read by business leaders worldwide.