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Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games Hardcover – June 15, 2004

4.2 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

It's not well remembered, but the planned 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics were scandal-ridden and in complete disarray until Romney took over as CEO in early 1999. In this management primer, he makes his rescue job seem very simple: he came in, displayed a positive attitude and hired competent, committed people, and the result was a successful Olympics that few had thought possible. That same attitude is displayed throughout this book, as Romney is quick to credit those around him for the games' success. He's thorough as he details how he revamped the budget, kept costs down and marketed the games to sponsors. His self-deprecating honesty is refreshing and appealing. As he writes after emphasizing the importance of selling the games: "I know there are people out there who love to sell, but it is far from my favorite thing." He's also honest about his criticism of the Salt Lake City leaders who were tainted by their efforts to buy votes from International Olympic Committee members to get the city the games. The same traits that make Romney, now the governor of Massachusetts, an unobtrusive leader don't always serve the book; some readers will want to see more sparks fly. But those looking for a training manual in how to run a high-profile organization will be rewarded.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Inside Flap

Mitt Romney, Governor of Massachusetts, built a career turning around troubled companies. As the CEO of Bain Capital and Bain & Company, he and his firm helped propel the success of hundreds of companies, from venture start-ups to the world's largest corporations. In 1999, the Salt Lake Winter Olympic Games Organizing Committee turned to him to take over and run the Salt Lake Olympic Games. Romney was reluctant-and with good reason.

Sullied by scandal, on the brink of financial disaster, and with federal investigators, bankers, and the press at its door, the Salt Lake Organizing Committee's senior managers admitted the organization was paralyzed.

But Romney had too much American patriotism to let it become a catastrophe for his country. So he accepted the biggest turnaround challenge of his life.

In Turnaround, Romney reveals how he tackled the seemingly insurmountable obstacles facing the Salt Lake Winter Games. In Turnaround, you'll learn how Romney and his management team:

* eliminated a financial crisis and delivered a profitable Olympic Games;
* built a culture of excellence that inspired gold medal performances from the employees;
* skillfully won the support of government officials, corporate sponsors, local residents, athletes and the international Olympic movement.

With Romney at the helm, and through the teamwork, tenacity, and creativity of the staff he assembled and supported, the organizing committee succeeded against the odds in producing one of the finest Olympic Games ever-a proud moment for America, a great installment in Olympic history, and a valuable object lesson in what effective management and leadership can do.

Mitt Romney is the Governor of Massachusetts. Before he was elected Governor, he led the Salt Lake Organizing Committee as its President and CEO. In 1984, Mr. Romney founded Bain Capital, a successful venture capital and investment company, and later became CEO of Bain & Company. An active member of his church and in charitable activities, Mr. Romney and his wife Ann have five sons, five daughters-in-law, and seven grandchildren.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing; First Edition edition (June 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0895260840
  • ISBN-13: 978-0895260840
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,915,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Craig Matteson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on December 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I honestly had no idea, not the beginning of a notion, of all that has to go on to bring off an Olympic games. Somehow, it seemed to me that these kinds of events have been put on for almost a century. I assumed that the bugs had been worked out and that everyone knew what they were doing, that the funding was well assured, and that there was more or less a well-known road map. In reality, it turns out, that each of Olympics is pretty much a one of a kind; build it all over again kind of thing.

And talk about bureaucracy! There is the International Olympic Committee, each nations Olympic Committee (in our case the USOC), and the hosting site's committee (for the 2002 Winter Games it was the Salt Lake Olympic Committee (SLOC). These all work to cooperate, of course, but they all also have competing interests that make for some very difficult negotiations.

Add to that the unfortunate scandal that broke out over how the games were awarded to Salt Lake (and other previous hosting sites) and you have a situation few would want to take on. However, Mitt Romney was at a perfect stage in his life with an ethos of service long held in his family, and was just ignorant enough of what he was taking on to accept the plea for his help. He also had the management and financial credentials, political skills (and connections), as well as a superb understanding of turning around troubled organizations.

For those of us who love to read about business and how various situations are analyzed and managed, this is a superb read. If you are interested in learning about how an Olympics game is put together, funded, made safe, and ready for sport, this is also a wonderfully done book. However, don't expect to read about the games themselves here. Mr.
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Format: Hardcover
My perspective on this book comes from over 20 years in the sports marketing business, including having been tutored and educated by perhaps the best in the business, Commissioner David Stern of the NBA. My view also comes from having been a member of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games staff (SLOC) beginning in 1997. I was hired by Tom Welch. I worked with Dave Johnson. I lived through Tom's departure in 1997. I lived through the eruption of the bid scandal in 1998 and the ensuing departures of Frank Joklik and Dave Johnson, as well as the hire of Mitt Romney. All the while, it was my job, along with teammates such as Mark Lewis (OPUS/SLOC) and Chris Sullivan (USOC) to sell Games and US Team sponsorships. Not an easy task in 1999.

With regards to the Games and the impact Mitt had, as well as his account of that experience in his book, Turnaround, and having now read the book, my perspective has taught me this: Mitt is the real deal.

It would be hard to describe the seige mentality, the state of mind and the fragile psyche of the SLOC staff upon his arrival. The only reason people came to work was that it was like a bad accident--you just had to see what would happen next. All that changed, albeit not overnight, with Mitt's arrival and his leadership, management philosophy (much of which is noted in Turnaround), vision, integrity, enthusiasm, and relentless energy to raise everyone's game. What you got in Mitt was a guy that knew the quickest way to success was to make everyone around him successful. He did not need the job...the job came after him. It was not about the money, it was not about the fame, it was not about trying to become an IOC member someday.
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Format: Hardcover
I was living in the SLC area during the entire Olympic Saga. I watched with great interest as the SLC Olympic tides turned from

crazy chaos and drama to a great swelling of community pride and

enthusiasm toward the Olympics, which ended in a grand culmination of a job done with great excellence and excitement. This tide change began and kept growing stronger and stronger upon the arrival on the scene of one man: Mitt Romnmey!

I've wondered many times, "How did Mitt do the wonderful things he did for the SLOC games to make them end with such success? The book "Turnaround" gives us all the answers to that question and more. From marketing and promotions to generating sponsors and procuring funding, to creating a new, proactive culture for the entire organization, Mitt was focused, determined and exhibited other astounding abilities as he faced the Olympic challenges with creativity, enthusiasm and insight. All of this comes through the pages of this book to the reader.

In fact,there are plenty of references in the book to the steps that were taken to solve the many challenges within the big challenge of the Olympics. Because of this, I think one of the names that would work for this book could be, "The Nuts and Bolts of Ordering Chaos into Resounding Success".(Hey, maybe they should sell it at Home Depot also!) Of course, we'd also need to combine the above book with a book on how to achieve the energy,intelligence and insight Mitt used as he carefully applied all the other steps toward creating Olympic success.
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