In this bestseller, Verne Harnish shares the business lessons to be learned from case studies of ten remarkably different organizations: Castek Software Factory, Express-Med, HRF Exploration and Production, The Lawrence Group, Logical Choice Technologies, Marlo Furniture, McKinney Lumber, Mostly Muffins, Orion International, and The Scooter Store. In fact, Harnish acknowledges that he learned three even more important lessons from Titan, Ron Chernow's brilliant biography of John D. Rockefeller, framed as questions:
1. "Does the organization have objective Top 5 priorities for the year and the quarter and a clear Top 1 priority along with an appropriate theme?"
2. "Does the organization have sufficient data on a daily and weekly basis to provide insight into how the organization is running and what the market is demanding?"
3. "Does the organization have an effective rhythm of daily, weekly, quarterly, and annual meetings to maintain alignment and drive accountability?"
These three questions suggest issues that leaders in any organization (regardless of size or nature) should regularly address with sufficient rigor and candor. Leaders in the ten exemplar organizations do so to ensure that (a) everything they do and are planning to do is of great importance to their current and prospective customers, and (b) everything they do or are planning to do will differentiate their organization from its competitors.
In my opinion, this is one of the most practical business books written in recent years, offering material based on a wealth of real-world situations and filled with insights and suggestions that almost any leader can put to immediate use. Yes, it can help to increase the value of a growing firm as its subtitle suggests; it can also help those leading start-ups to avoid most (if not all) of the mistakes that doom most new enterprises. I also highly recommend it to those now preparing for a career in business or who have only recently embarked on one.
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