How Excellent Companies Avoid Dumb Things: Breaking the 8 Hidden Barriers that Plague Even the Best Businesses [NOOK Book]

Overview


Every day, seemingly intelligent and successful companies make headline news for poor decisions that can cause their business to stumble and make many of us scratch our heads in wonder. Why would such a successful business make ”that” strategic decision? Neil Smith, with more than 20 years of experience leading large-scale performance improvements, reveals the hidden barriers that limit excellent companies from reaching their potential, and cause even the smartest managers and leaders to falter. During his ...

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How Excellent Companies Avoid Dumb Things: Breaking the 8 Hidden Barriers that Plague Even the Best Businesses

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Overview


Every day, seemingly intelligent and successful companies make headline news for poor decisions that can cause their business to stumble and make many of us scratch our heads in wonder. Why would such a successful business make ”that” strategic decision? Neil Smith, with more than 20 years of experience leading large-scale performance improvements, reveals the hidden barriers that limit excellent companies from reaching their potential, and cause even the smartest managers and leaders to falter. During his experience transforming some of the top global businesses, Smith has identified 8 barriers that exist in every organization and prevent them from implementing literally thousands of ideas to improve the way they work:

Avoiding Controversy

Poor Use of Time

Reluctance to Change

Organizational Silos

Management Blockers

Incorrect Information and Bad Assumptions

Size Matters

Existing Processes

Rich with anecdotes and case studies, Smith identifies the ways in each of these barriers interrupt your own business.  He then outlines a fast and proven process in which 12 principles of business transformation can break down the processes that hold companies back.  What Smith offers his readers is the same thing he offers every day to the major companies he works with,  A PROMISE that by following his insights,  the company will be able to increase communication, simplicity, and profit to levels never before attainable.

Throughout the book, Dr. Richard Levak has contributed personality and organizational insights that shed light on why an individual or an organization behaves in contrary ways giving you a better sense of why these internal walls exist and how to be aware of your actions in your day to day life. 

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

That successful companies don't do dumb things sounds like a no-brainer, but actually, this tautology is a post facto conclusion. The real crux question is how do these industry leaders avoid the mess-ups that lead many companies down the slide of mediocrity. In this memorable bullet point of a book, consultant Neil Smith ticks off the eight hidden barriers that many managers ignore while they are doing everything else right. Filled with tips, corrections, and anecdotes, How Excellent Companies Avoid Dumb Things can help transform a dull business commute into a brain-stimulating session.

Publishers Weekly
How many times have we read about a company’s decline or demise and the problem seemed so obvious that we wonder how management could have missed the signs? In his first book, consultant Smith, CEO of Promontory Growth and Innovation, suggests that many companies get derailed by “dumb things” because management fails to recognize obstacles or confront basic issues. Drawing on 20-plus years of consulting to top international companies, Smith pinpoints eight of the most common barriers that hold businesses back, including familiar concepts like poor time management, which can seem innocuous on a small scale but can cripple productivity if allowed to permeate the culture. Similarly, organizational silos, which plague many companies, prevent growth or productivity through competing priorities. Smith illustrates his points with examples from companies he’s worked with, as well as anecdotes from major corporations. A helpful reminder on how lack of oversight on even commonplace issues can interfere with an enterprise’s productivity and success, this work will appeal to managers and leaders alike. (June)
John Quelch
“A helpful reminder on how lack of oversight on even commonplace issues can interfere with an enterprise’s productivity and success, this work will appeal to managers and leaders alike.”
—Publishers Weekly
From the Publisher
“[Courvoisier’s] voice is a good match for Smith’s direct and sometimes humorous style.”
AudioFile
Library Journal
Veteran business consultant Smith reveals hidden barriers to innovation. According to Smith, every company is presented with opportunities that are never taken, and sometimes even ignored completely, as a result of communication failures or management problems, either personal or corporate. First, he focuses on eight common communication barriers, including hierarchical silos, inflexible existing systems, and breakdowns in decision-making processes. Chapters include real-world examples of how companies have recognized and eliminated these barriers and include commentary on psychological barriers by personality expert and organizational consultant Richard Levak. The second half explores how companies can further reduce barriers through corporate buy-ins, changing organizational psychology, and monitoring processes. Overall, the book provides readers with a clear understanding of how psychological hang-ups cause companies to operate at suboptimal levels. VERDICT While there's nothing radical in Smith's book, he provides a good reminder on how complacency slows growth. Recommended.—John Rodzvilla, Emerson Coll., Boston
Kirkus Reviews
Assisted by veteran business and leadership writer O'Connell, Smith (CEO of Promontory Growth and Innovation) offers his recipe for business success. The author's "secret sauce" is consensus building. This idea, along with many of the other ingredients in his concoction, is well known by now. The names might change, but the staples remain the same--reductions in the cost of running a business through layoffs and what used to be called speed-up. The author claims that his process is designed to encourage the emergence of ideas from all layers and participants. He uses the word "ideas" in a specific technical way that is quite different than its usual meaning. "Every idea will have a value--that is, the costs it saves or the revenues it generates," writes Smith. In this conception, ideas have a concrete financial value that can be quantified based on the risk level assumed in achieving payback of the costs of their implementation over time. Smith bases his system on the importance of undermining inertia and resistance to change; he claims to do this by identifying behavioral and structural "barriers" that have their roots in human nature. Preplanning and staffing is critical. Exposing the identified barriers and changing the burden of proof in internal discussions are among the ingredients that go into the preparation of the "secret sauce." Smith illustrates his ideas with a variety of interesting examples--e.g., a candy company saved money by reducing the types of chocolate it used; a shipping company eliminated left turns on truck routes and reduced accidents. Sometimes his methods can be painful but beneficial to a company--for example, he contends that the bottom five percent of programmers in tech companies can be considered a cost and usually let go. The author claims that his method will increase profits--and they likely will--but changes in corporate culture will be required to realize them.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781137031617
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 6/5/2012
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • File size: 535 KB

Meet the Author


Neil Smith, CEO of Promontory  Growth and Innovation (PGI), has for the last 20 years focused on helping large corporations dramatically improve performance and profitability by growing revenues and innovatively reducing costs. Smith has led initiatives across a number of industries with some of the strongest companies in the U.S. including, Mellon Bank, Willis, and North American Van Lines. He recently spearheaded the highly visable initiative across Bank of America, and a firm he co-founded was responsible for projects at Heinz, Detroit Edison and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee. His efforts have helped increase profits at top companies by 20 percent or more.

Patricia O’Connell, former Management Editor at BloombergBusinessweek.com, brings more than 20 years of writing and editing in a variety of subjects, including business, leadership, and strategy. 

With contributions from Dr. Richard Levak, a nationally recognized personality expert who has been in private practice for over thirty years and has a growing practice in organizational consulting, assisting businesses with executive hiring, development and teambuilding.

 

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Leaders of even successful companies unwittingly make bad decisi

    Leaders of even successful companies unwittingly make bad decisions and costly mistakes. Consultant Neil Smith identifies “eight hidden barriers” that keep companies from reaching their full potential and explains how to shatter them. Recognizing barriers is the first step, but, to create lasting change, companies must reshape their corporate culture from the top down and employees must take ownership of their ideas. Smith identifies both obvious and subtle obstacles, though he can get bogged down in details. getAbstract recommends Smith’s diagnosis to executives seeking to increase their companies’ efficiency and profits.

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    Posted June 5, 2012

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