Well it took me 6 months to finish it but you don’t want to be reading this book in one sitting anyway. As the last 6 months have been full of many landmark business and life events it’s been a beneficial to absorb many of the lessons from the lens offered in this book. With 2013 looming the chance to start new Waves at both home and work present themselves so finishing this book now is timely.
Dov Seidman promises a lot and I have to say I found myself saying “This has to be the best book ever written on the future of business” many times. Having just sold Velteo to a US based consultancy called Bluewolf, its been an interesting journey in aligning our How’s. Velteo has always been a values aligned business with a significance pursuit for customer and staff engagement. So this book struck many chords for me.
‘HOW’ covers many dimensions on how business should be done now and the reasons why. This review is not extensive but will highlight what I think to be of great appeal.
Why the need for a shift?
Hyper-transparency and Hyper-connectivity, thanks to the digital and social age that we find ourselves in, no one can hide so the integrity of how we do things is even more important and hence so is our reputation. We cannot manage our reputation any more we now need to earn it with How we perform our Whats.
You find yourself asking questions like “Do I run a business that’s about winning at all costs or about out-behaving our competition?” and “Are we about chasing success or significance?” and “Do I really need hierarchy in my business or should I flatten it?”
Competing on your What’s alone is no longer enough its now about How which is a product of human behavior. Dov does a great job of uncovering what needs to shift and how we got here. From Command and Control environments that contain disengaged staff, lack of trust, and management who wield power over people to cultures who master Connection and Collaboration through engaged staff who act as leaders, where trust is in abundance and where power is wielded through people with inspiration. The essence being strong connections and alignment to enable a culture of self governance – the panacea of any organization.
Dov makes a great case for the power of Trust and the organic effect it has on people and groups to take risks and innovate, which affects both qualitative and quantitative outcomes. Super human performance can only be generated through inspiration, inspiration comes when we act on our beliefs, its intrinsic and is propelled by values. An organization with aligned values will always outperform rivals by the very fact that less management overhead is required, staff behave like owners and the collective wisdom of the organization is focused on the vision, hopefully a significant one. What is a significant vision, one that is bigger than one’s self interest i.e. just profit.
Dov opens and closes the book with a challenge to create Waves in our realms. He recounts Krazy George Henderson who in 1981 started what we know today as the Wave at a New York Yankees game, where people join in on one massive human wave around the stadium. It’s a great example of what Dov wants us to achieve. It took Krazy George a few attempts to first get the crowd immediately in front of him to trust him then understand what he had envisioned, then enlist them to take part. Once he got the wave to beyond half way around the stadium and people booed the crowd who let it die, the crowd was self governing and the Wave was born. Dov claims if a stadium full of people who have no connection with each other and very little shared vision can achieve such a feat then we can too.
He claims we can do this by taking TRIP’s, not the kind you’re thinking but projects where Trust is proactively granted, Risk is allowed and owned and Innovation is enabled to achieve Progress. By giving away power in a relationship or project we empower others, trust accelerates progress in business and in life and hence is the basis of this new lens.
Finally, the Paradox of Success is covered in great detail and is important in that you cannot pursue success directly, its what you get when you pursue significance. If leaders, managers and staff of all ranks pursued not what they Can do but what they Should do in pursuit of Significance there would be no need for rules, policies and governing authorities. A values aligned culture will generate a self governed organization that achieves more than it may aim to and even achieve the bottom line: Sustainable Happiness.
So as the year comes to an end what new Wave will you start in 2013?
BTW: Engaged cultures are inventive, check out this quick video of Dov.
Happy New Year.