Its been a very interesting summer – but then, Copenhagen always brings me some surprises. I come back refreshed and inspired by the students at CBS and the people I meet in my travels. A gift given to me by a client upon my return, is “Firms of Endearment: How World Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose” by Raj Sisodia, Jag Sheth and David B. Wolfe. Today’s best companies get it – doing good is good business.
For me, finding a book like this is a present from the universe. My entire focus in my consulting and teaching is linking passion to purpose – and that is the foundation of this book. For all you hard-core finance people, the authors have not only done a great job of telling captivating stories but also supplying the bottom-line ROI on this strategic approach. I think instinctively, we all know that great companies pay attention to all of their stakeholders and celebrate the creative capital of their people. This is a new form of capitalism – capitalism with a conscience. What sets these “Firms of Endearment” apart from their competitors? Culture. Corporate Culture. Like air, culture is invisible but pervasive. We keep returning to the same solution – so why are our organizations not paying attention? In order to have a sustainable winning game plan, a superior value creation model is a constant. This book will show you how to not only become a highly successful businessperson, but at the same time, become a good human being. Enjoy!
Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose (2nd Edition)
It’s been a busy year but when you are doing what you love, it doesn’t seem to matter. I’m getting ready to return to the Copenhagen Business School where I teach one of my favourite subjects – Business Anthropology and Organizational Fieldwork. Conventional business practice ignores emotion – and without emotion there is no change. Emotion is the expression of our beliefs and values and in our global workforce, understanding and interpreting those multi-cultural world views is critical to competitive advantage. One of my go-to basics is a great book by Rita Denny and Patricia Sunderland. I use it as a reference for both consulting workshops and university teaching. They have compiled a collection that captures the spirit, breadth and depth of work that has been conducted at the intersection of anthropology and business. This is the first major reference work for this rapidly growing field. Over 60 scholar-practitioners from both universities and major corporations from high tech to health care contributed their experiences.
Whether you are interested in change management, innovation leadership or consumer marketing trends, you will find this book to be an invaluable resource.
Handbook of Anthropology in Business
At our last meeting of the Council on Customer Experience at the Conference Board of Canada, I got to add to my book collection – always a happy experience! Dan Ponterfract is the Head of Learning and Collaboration at Telus and has driven a philosophical and cultural shift in the way TELUS views and experiences learning. His book, Flat Army, documents how he drove change in TELUS corporate culture. He maintains that there is no easy way to undo what years and even decades of bad management practice have done to leaders. His emphasis? Command and control is rampant, evil and unnecessary. I love anyone who is willing to kill the elephant in our boardrooms! As you can tell, Dan doesn’t pull any punches in his book. To me it is a great story of the power of employee engagement – what it takes and how long it takes to drive cultural change. Drucker was right when he made the comment that culture eats strategy for lunch. To work in this environment of change management means you need the qualitative skill to understand quantitative results. To permanently engage your employees, you need insight, not just data. And without your employees, your most recent strategic plan will remain in a binder on a shelf collecting dust. Doomed to failure with no means of execution.
If you need a quick qualitative skill update, check out my QRCA webinar on aspects of changing corporate cultures on April 24th. Registration is free if you are working in this area. And who wouldn’t want to? Just my opinion, yes, but to me the only way to maintain competitive advantage in an increasingly complex world.
Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization
I’m starting to plan my return to Copenhagen Business School for the summer and came upon little gem. It was written by CBS Professors Sven Junghaven and Fleming Poulfelt, Per V. Jenster from the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai and Michael Jessen Holm, a marketing professional. Strategy Execution provides a unique and focused perspective on how strategy is conceptualized, and more importantly, implemented. I have seen many strategic plans on the bookshelves of senior executives – few are executed. Why? Some interesting answers are provided by the authors. Their focus is on small and medium size enterprise – a little examined segment of the market. Although centred in Denmark, this book would be useful for any SME organization or consultants who specialize in the area. Getting a different perspective from the standard North American festish with short-term profitability may give a competitive advantage in your strategic planning cycle. A worthwhile read.
Strategy Execution: Passion & Profit
I’m sitting in my little apartment here in Copenhagen, Denmark getting prepared for next week’s classes in advanced market research and competitive intelligence. Teaching at the Copenhagen Business School as a Visiting Professor is a wonderfully enriching experience – meeting faculty and students from around the world. Lots of fresh ideas, interesting discussions and lots of danish pastry and coffee at the faculty table. Hanging out in Copenhagen isn’t all that bad either!
Of course, I also had to visit the university bookstore. Bookstores are one of my favourite places to hang out and the bookstore at CBS didn’t disappoint. A new book by Thomas Davenport was filling the shelves – and since it directly ties in with the courses I am teaching, I had to grab it. “Keeping Up with the Quants” is a great followup to his first book – “Competing on Analytics.” Davenport and Jinho Kim have done a great job building a beginner’s guide to understanding and using analytics. From formulating a hypothesis, digging for data, interpreting the data into actionable insights and then communicating your results – the authors provide a roadmap that is both comprehensive and easy to follow.
Critical thinking and analytical skills are now a must in any business that wants to remain competitive. I gladly added this book to my recommended reading for the students and passed it along as well to other faculty. Adding to my book collection is always a joy – even if it means I need to buy another suitcase for the journey home.
Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics
Looking at creativity …. for all of us in 2013!