Book Review: Running the Gauntlet: Essential Business Lessons to Lead, Drive Change and Grow Profits
I heard the author of Running the Gauntlet, Jeff Hayzlett speak at a conference in February 2012. Jeff is an awesome speaker and received a standing ovation. A lot of his character/persona from the speech carries over to the book. Below are ten quotes that are takeaways from the book that I found valuable:
1. If something sucks, get rid of it. If it isn’t working, change it and own those changes. Refuse to tolerate problems and passivity. Period.
2. In the end more businesses can sustain a little “ready, fire, aim” when they are changing… Push like crazy, and be persistent… One mistake or setback does not mean total failure.
3. I was willing to get over myself and be a beginner… Being a beginner does not mean being unprepared… You stand in the way of a winning attitude when you refuse to stretch yourself to be a beginner.
4. In all the companies I worked with and for, they all had one thing in common: whether they were small business or Fortune 1000, at some point they forgot about the basics.
5. Now, ROI is an essential measurement tool that I see being used everywhere these days. And overused… Some things cannot be measured with numbers. (Please see my article Is ROI Overrated? for more on the shortcomings of ROI)
6. Yet I can tell most of what’s wrong with a business by walking around the place and sizing up the energy of its people… Put simply, bad mood can ruin a company faster that bad business.
7. It’s always easier to change the person in the job than to try and change the person.
8. Unless you are truly unique, the only difference in most industries between you and your competitors is your people.
9. The best decisions are made after you look at the problem or program from the customer’s point of view.
10. …it all comes down to my “Rule of Thirds.” For everything – marketing programs, initiatives , and beyond.
a. A third of the people will get it immediately.
b. A third of the people will get it eventually.
c. A third of the people will never get it.
Executing points 4, 8 and 9 all but assure success!
Point number 4 - not forgetting the basics and creating the equivalent of organizational muscle memory to assure the basics are always executed at a high level.
Point number 8 - not only taking care of your people at a high level, but better than your competitors and continually developing/motivating your people. It has always struck me as odd that in tight economic circumstances organizations immediately sacrifice the care and development of their people.
Point number 9 - always look at every circumstance from the customer’s point of view before a course of action is decided.
There is no magical, groundbreaking or new revelation in the three points above because there is really no magical revelation for success. The true test for success is whether your organization has the discipline to do it given all the other constraints and pressure. Without that discipline whatever success your organization has is only fleeting.
James T. Brown, Author The Handbook of Program Management, McGraw-Hill
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