Top critical review
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Good Information, Unnecessary Format
on May 8, 2006
This book offers executives and business owners guidance on how to design and maintain an effective and efficient organization. The author decided to apply a fable format, similar to the business classic "The Goal," to drive the ideas home. The fable dramatizes two competing firms where one owner has incorrectly identified his competitive advantage. The fable is based on a clueless HR executive's experience and description of what he thinks is a dysfunctional team at one firm as he attempts to wiggle his way into a job at the competing firm.
For some this may be an effective method. For others like me you will have no need for the fable. While the fable format worked very well in "The Goal" it seems superfluous here. For those of you that have been in business for a while you will already know all too well the elements and characteristics of a functional and dysfunctional team highlighted in the fable. Furthermore, you know that some effective elements and structure exist --after all, why did you pick up this book? Even though it is a quick and easy read, for those with little time or care to delve into the fable, I recommend that you just skip right to the section (p 139 - p 180) called "Putting The Disciplines Into Practice: A Summary And Self Assessment." This pamphlet-sized section is the information you are after and it does offer some nice insight and clarity to building an effective and efficient team. Much of the information will be ideas or concepts that you have heard before, maybe many times, through coworkers, b-school, management seminars, etc. However, the author is correct in identifying the lack of true implementation, clarity, and consistency in most organizations.
Ideas are easy, implementation is very hard, and sustaining an effective organization is accomplished by few. All too often executives place themselves above a certain task or participation in a certain level of interview. How often have you been with a VP and he or she will take a call or check email during a meeting, or interrupt someone trying to make a point because they are impatient or think they know where something is leading, or offer cross messages by doing something not consistent with the organization's values, or assume everyone knows the company values, or well there are million examples. The results can be very damaging to an organization. And that is the point of this book. The higher the executive the more important the need for the basics: clarity, trust, focus, consistency, and communication. In the end this is a recommendable book.