Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don't, by Jim Collins
Based on a five-year research project, Good to Great answers the question: “Can a good company become a great company, and, if so, how?” True to the rigorous research methodology and invigorating teaching style of Jim Collins, Good to Great teaches how even the dowdiest of companies can make the leap to outperform market leaders the likes of Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck. New York: HarperBusiness, 2001. 320 pages, 9 chapters.
Profit From the Core : Growth Strategy in an Era of Turbulence, by Chris Zook and James Allen
A 10-year-long Bain & Company study uncovered that only 10% of businesses achieved sustained growth and provided shareholder satisfaction. The authors argue that most companies veered off course from their core business into adjunct markets without redefining their core market strategy. Without clearly defined strategies, the move into adjunct businesses hurt, rather than helped, most companies. Chris Zook and James Allen say companies fare better when they concentrate on customer loyalty, channel dominance, product superiority and value. Chris Zook and James Allen, Harvard Business School Press, March 2001 .
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey
Effective Individuals Make an Effective Organization The key to an organization’s success is the people. From the mailroom to the boardroom, it becomes more imperative that employees are effective, both personally and professionally. This book was a groundbreaker when it was first published in 1989, and it continues to be a business bestseller, with more than 10 million copies sold. Stephen Covey, an internationally respected leadership authority, realizes that true success encompasses a balance of personal and professional effectiveness, so this book is a manual for performing better in both arenas. His anecdotes are as frequently from family situations as from business challenges. Free Press, 1989.
The Experience Economy, by B. Joseph Pine & James Gilmore
In The Experience Economy, the authors argue that the service economy is about to be superseded with something that critics will find even more ephemeral (and controversial) than services ever were: experiences. In part because of technology and the increasing expectations of consumers, services today are starting to look like commodities. The authors write that "Those businesses that relegate themselves to the diminishing world of goods and services will be rendered irrelevant. To avoid this fate, you must learn to stage a rich, compelling experience." Harvard Business School Press, 1999.
The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action, by Robert S. Kaplan & David P. Norton
As running a corporate or government or not-for-profit enterprise becomes increasingly complicated, more sophisticated approaches are needed to implement strategy and measure performance. Purely financial evaluations of performance, for example, no longer suffice in a world where intangible assets relationships and capabilities increasingly determine the prospects for success. Kaplan, a Harvard Business School professor of accounting, and Norton, president of Renaissance Solutions, make a key contribution by describing and illustrating the balanced scorecard, a multidimensional approach to measuring corporate performance that incorporates both financial and non-financial factors. The concept of a balanced scorecard originated in a study group of 12 companies that met throughout 1990; since then, the authors have worked with several companies, including FMC Corporation, Brown & Root Energy Services, Mobil and CIGNA, to create scorecards and use them as a systematic means to implement new organizational strategy. Though still in the preliminary stages of development, balanced scorecards could represent the emergence of a new era of management sophistication, in which both the hard and soft variables of work life are taken into account in a rigorous, testable fashion. Kaplan and Norton provide an excellent, though dry, introduction to a new methodology of management. Harvard Business School Press, 1996.