As Al Pacino said in the first Godfather movie, "...let me make you an offer you can’t refuse..." for within this book you will find team member skills and leadership skills distilled to their essence. Though there is a great deal that can be said on these two topics, the essential basics are no longer a mystery and are now out in the open for all to see and take advantage of.
I became captive of this material early in my nearly thirty-eight year career in IBM where I worked in marketing, software and hardware product development, brand management, and services. I was concerned with what I saw inside IBM where the best and the brightest consistently failed to live up to their potential – and worked long hours to do so.
I also became concerned by newspaper reports of conditions outside IBM that sounded familiar.
During a period of major growth in productivity, organizations struggling to get or remain profitable.
Middle managers finding themselves with too much to do, to many demands, and unable to do all that they know is important.
Lower level, non-management employees fearing there is no career path, no pension, no continuing health care, and no way out.
It sounded like increasingly like the business world was approaching a sweatshop mentality.
Polarization of superficially different views on almost every subject in our society.
I had a deep belief that all the resources were already present – human and other – to do much better than was evident on the evening TV news. There had to be a way for people to work better together and to be more effectively led.
I was most fortunate to be in a position to observe, experiment, brainstorm and discuss ideas with kindred souls, and eventually discover what was in front of us all the time like a purloined letter. My intuitive sense gave me the patience, interest and energy to discover the obvious – no one had crawled inside teams and asked what was needed from the viewpoint of the people involved.
Once I had sorted out the team processes I was delighted to read Built To Last – Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras who had done extensive research on what leadership produces visible outstanding corporate results. Their insights and observations helped me to complete my own work on leadership begun in my study of teams.
Last I put these two pieces together as they should have been from the start since they are quite interwoven in may ways. All that it took from there was to spend several years writing, receiving critical feedback and rewriting. It has been a struggle to get my thoughts down clearly. I hope I have done so and if not invite interaction, discussion and feedback to improve the clarity.
The value of this book is that it has packaged all this insight and learning into a very small bundle. Now the magic is available to everyone. So read on and good luck. Be patient with your understanding, apply what you understand right now and take time out regularly to assess what you have learned. Continual progress is not assured to those who are passive but it is guaranteed to those who follow the process laid out.