[December 02, 2013] Lately, I’ve been struggling to get my usual reading done. The book The Generals was long and I wanted to take my time to ensure I had a good understanding of the history and reasons for failures and successes in generalship. So, I’ve been slow to jump to reading other books.
Today, more books that I am now reading and find interesting:
Winning Through Innovation: A Practical Guide to Leading Organizational Change and Renewal by Michael L. Tushman and Charles A. O’Reilly III
I don’t normally read books on business innovation – something I plan to correct in the future. This book however is of special interest because the authors ask the question, “Why do some businesses fail while others succeed in the same industry?” The short answer, they say, is the paradox that those strategies employed for short-term success create the conditions for long-term failure. Organizations that structure themselves for success also create an “inertia” (i.e., a rigid structure) that impedes them from changing or adapting, thus failure in the long term. The book has much for us to digest and reinforces what senior leaders may already know. For example the observation that it is necessary to have vision: “A vision people can believe in can add passion and enthusiasm to an organization. A vision people do not understand or believe in undermines management’s credibility and is a source of great cynicism.”
Unknown Iacocca by Peter Wyden
This book is about the “real” Lee Iacocca. When Iacocca refused to grant an interview, Wyden turned to the published record and quotes from Iacocca’s relatives, friends, associates, competitors, and journalists for this biography of Lido Anthony “Lee” Iacocca, the Ford Motor Company president who in 1978 was fired, then went on to lead the foundering Chrysler Corporation back to health with an unprecedented federal government assist. Iacocca is described as a shy, old-style Italian family man; an irresistible salesman; and a vigorous, innovative executive, persistent, proud, patriotic, irascible, charismatic, and fascinated with making automobiles.
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