FORTUNE The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time: How Apple, Ford, IBM, Zappos, and others made radical choices that changed the course of business.

Overview

Decisions equal success-nothing happens until one is made. Businesses make millions of decisions every day. But once in a great while a leader makes a truly game-changing decision that shifts not only the strategy of a single company but how everyone does business. These big decisions are counterintuitive-they go against the conventional wisdom. In hindsight, taking a different direction may seem easy, but these bet-the-company moves involve drama, doubt, and high tension. What made Apple's board bring back Steve...

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Fortune The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time: How Apple, Ford, IBM, Zappos, and others made radical choices that changed the course of business.

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Overview

Decisions equal success-nothing happens until one is made. Businesses make millions of decisions every day. But once in a great while a leader makes a truly game-changing decision that shifts not only the strategy of a single company but how everyone does business. These big decisions are counterintuitive-they go against the conventional wisdom. In hindsight, taking a different direction may seem easy, but these bet-the-company moves involve drama, doubt, and high tension. What made Apple's board bring back Steve Jobs to the company? How did Johnson & Johnson decide to recall every bottle of Tylenol after a poisoning scare that involved only a small batch of the drug? What made Henry Ford decide to double the wages of his autoworkers, and how did that change the American economy for the next century?

Here management consultant Verne Harnish, the CEO of Gazelles, and Fortune's editors provide the background stories behind the greatest business decisions of all time. In this fully original book, you'll get a glimpse into the thought processes leading up to these groundbreaking moments and will learn how the decisions have shaped the thinking of today's top leaders. The book also contains an insightful foreword by management guru Jim Collins, the author of Built To Last and Good To Great, which explains the importance of decision making in creating a successful company.

ADVANCED PRAISE FOR FORTUNE Greatest Business Decisions

"CEOs make thousands of decisions every year, but only a few of them have dramatic impact on a company's brand, performance, and culture. IBM knows something about those types of 'big bets.' This book is a concise look at some of those big decisions and the C-suite moves that separated winners from the competition." - Samuel J. Palmisano, Chairman and former CEO, IBM

"A great resouce! Learning about how others make great decisions can help you make great decisions! A fascinating, practical history that can change the way that you make decisions. Required reading for decison-makers- at all levels!" -Marshall Goldsmith, named the No. 1 Leadership Thinker in the World by Thinkers50, is a consultant and author of the New York Times bestsellers MOJO and What Got You Here Won't Get You There.

"When you look at the best business decisions that have been made throughout the years, a clear pattern emerges: The best decisions require not only great insight, but courage and commitment as well. The greatest business leaders are the ones who focus their energy not solely on profits, but on improving people's lives. These important lessons from our past, which this book brings to light, are more relevant than ever today." -Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Decision-making is not about consensus. Harnish, a management consultant, presents 18 business cases, including major players such as Apple, General Electric, and Ford, whose leaders made extraordinary decisions to change the status quo, leading their companies to overwhelming results. Harnish argues that picking the best business decisions is "more art than science". He and his co-authors proceed by sharing a conceptual framework with four parts: people, strategy, execution, and cash. But Harnish says great timing and "good old-fashioned dumb luck" also play a role in making great decisions. The "counterintuitive" decisions discussed in each chapter will surely spark debate. Each story offers a look at the processes leading up to the groundbreaking moments. Readers will learn what made Apple bring back Steve Jobs to the company, and how General Electric's first-class training center set the tone for thousands of other corporate universities. This book will encourage business leaders to consider how to apply those strategies in their own organizations.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From the Publisher
"CEOs make thousands of decisions every year, but only a few of them have dramatic impact on a company's brand, performance, and culture. IBM knows something about those types of 'big bets.' This book is a concise look at some of those big decisions and the C-suite moves that separated winners from the competition." -Samuel J. Palmisano, Chairman and former CEO, IBM

"When you look at the best business decisions that have been made throughout the years, a clear pattern emerges: The best decisions require not only great insight, but courage and commitment as well. The greatest business leaders are the ones who focus their energy not solely on profits, but on improving people's lives. These important lessons from our past, which this book brings to light, are more relevant than ever today." -Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor

"This is a treasure trove of compelling, insightful, and digestible stories that will provoke any leader to rethink how they make big decisions. A great read too." -Patrick Lencioni, President, The Table Group; bestselling author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and The Advantage

"A great resouce! Learning about how others make great decisions can help you make great decisions! A fascinating, practical history that can change the way that you make decisions. Required reading for decison-makers- at all levels!" -Marshall Goldsmith, named the No. 1 Leadership Thinker in the World by Thinkers50, is a consultant and author of the New York Times bestsellers MOJO and What Got You Here Won't Get You There.

"Out of millions of decisions made every day, the 18 big decisions highlighted in this book provide great insight. The authors give enough context that the reader can understand the goals, the needs, and the possibilities for the decisions. The stories portray the studied nature of some decisions and the serendipitous nature of others. The book reminds those who want to lead that they have to choose a different path from the well trodden one of competitors." -Howard Stevenson, Professor Emeritus of Entrepreneurship, Harvard Business School

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781603200592
  • Publisher: Time Home Entertainment, Inc
  • Publication date: 10/2/2012
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 336,368
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 5.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword Jim Collins 13

Introduction Verne Harnish 23

Chapter 1 Apple Brings Back Steve Jobs Adam Lashinsky 29

Chapter 2 How Free Shipping Saved Zappos Jennifer Reingold 39

Chapter 3 Why Samsung Lets Its Stars Goof Off Nicholas Varchaver 47

Chapter 4 At Johnson & Johnson, the Shareholder Comes Last Timothy K. Smith 57

Chapter 5 Why Daydreaming Pays Off Big at 3M Geoff Colvin 65

Chapter 6 How Intel Got Consumers to Love Chips David A. Kaplan 75

Chapter 7 Jack's GE Cathedral David A. Kaplan 85

Chapter 8 Bill Gates Decides to Take a Week Off David A. Kaplan 97

Chapter 9 Softsoap's Blocking Decision Brian O'Keefel 107

Chapter 10 Toyota Pursues Zero Defects Alex Taylor III 117

Chapter 11 Extreme Customer Service at Nordstrom Geoff Colvin 129

Chapter 12 Tata Takes the Sting out of a Painful Situation Geoff Colvin 139

Chapter 13 Boeing Bets big on the 707 Adam Lashinsky 149

Chapter 14 IBM's Operation Bear Hug Adam Lashinsky 157

Chapter 15 Wal-Mart Createst the 6 a.m. Meeting Hank Gilman 167

Chapter 16 Eli Whitney: Is Your Business in Trouble? Pivot! Geoff Colvin 175

Chapter 17 The HP Way David A. Kaplan 185

Chapter 18 Henry Ford Doubles Worker's Wages Alex Taylor III 195

About the Authors Geoff Colvin Hank Gilman David A. Kaplan Adam Lashinsky Brian O'Keefe Jennifer Reingold Timothy K. Smith Alex Taylor III Nicholas Varchaver 205

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