Lead Like Ike: Ten Business Strategies from the CEO of D-Day

( 17 )

Overview

“A novel, intriguing—and more importantly—highly instructive approach enabling us to truly grasp fundamental management principles. In the person of Dwight Eisenhower planning and executing the D-Day landings and the subsequent liberation of Europe, these basic concepts are vividly brought to life. As Loftus rightly observes, no CEO ever faced a more daunting, pressure-filled, obstacle-laden mission than did Ike. Perfect reading for these turbulent times.” —Steve Forbes, Chairman & CEO, Forbes Media

“Geoff Loftus has written an intriguing and ...

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Overview

“A novel, intriguing—and more importantly—highly instructive approach enabling us to truly grasp fundamental management principles. In the person of Dwight Eisenhower planning and executing the D-Day landings and the subsequent liberation of Europe, these basic concepts are vividly brought to life. As Loftus rightly observes, no CEO ever faced a more daunting, pressure-filled, obstacle-laden mission than did Ike. Perfect reading for these turbulent times.” —Steve Forbes, Chairman & CEO, Forbes Media

“Geoff Loftus has written an intriguing and highly useful book on Dwight Eisenhower’s extraordinary ability as a leader. If you liked Ike before, you’ll like him even more now. And you’ll be grateful to Geoff Loftus.” —Christopher Buckley, author of Boomsday and Thank You for Smoking

“In Lead Like Ike, Geoff Loftus provides keen insights on management lessons drawn from one of the greatest battlefields in military history. The lessons may appear simple, but it’s the simplest management principles that we often forget: Listen to your people. Set your vision. Be consistent about your message. Let your managers manage.” —Salvatore J. Vitale, Senior Vice President, The Conference Board

Who was the greatest CEO of the 20th century? A persuasive case can be made for General Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower, who undertook history’s most harrowing executive assignment: Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe on June 6, 1944. In Lead Like Ike, business journalist and communications guru Geoff Loftus weaves a fly on-the-wall narrative from Ike’s perspective as supreme allied commander overseeing the Normandy invasion. While swept into a gripping story that honors the sacrifice of all who fought and died on D-Day, you’ll also be drawn to a cache of battle-tested strategies and tactics with direct applications to modern-day business leadership.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A novel, intriguing – and more importantly – highly instructive approach enabling us to truly grasp fundamental management principles. In the person of Dwight Eisenhower planning and executing the D-Day landings and the subsequent liberation of Europe, these basic concepts are vividly brought to life. As Loftus rightly observes, no CEO ever face a more daunting, pressure-filled, obstacle-laden mission than did Ike. Perfect reading for these turbulent times.” – Steve Forbes, Chairman & CEO, Forbes Media

“Geoff Loftus has written an intriguing and highly useful book on Dwight Eisenhower’s extraordinary ability as a leader. If you liked Ike before, you’ll like him even more now. And you’ll be grateful to Geoff Loftus.” – Christopher Buckley, author of Boomsday and Thank You for Smoking

“In Lead Like Ike, Geoff Loftus provides keen insights on management lessons drawn from one of the greatest battlefields in military history. The lessons may appear simply, but it’s the simplest management principles that we often forget: Listen to your people. Set your vision. Be consistent about your message. Let your managers manage.” – Salvatore J. Vitale, Senior Vice President, The Conference Board

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595550859
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/1/2010
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 977,204
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Geoff Loftus, a lifelong history buff, is VP, Communications, of the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals, Inc. He has been an editor and writer for more than 25 years in print, television, radio and on the Internet.

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Read an Excerpt

LEAD LIKE IKE

Ten Business Strategies from the CEO of D-Day
By GEOFF LOFTUS

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2010 Geoff Loftus
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59555-085-9


Chapter One

THE PRESSURE COOKER-START-UP

Forging a New Business to Face Staggering Competition

Let's start with a hypothetical case. Your company, Hypothetical Inc., has been plugging along in the good ole U.S.A. for decades. Most of your shareholders have been holding their stock quietly for years and seem to be perfectly content with the steady, if small, dividends. Since you have no substantial domestic competition, all is bliss-until a fearsome competitor looms over the Atlantic from Europe. A German-based company has emerged with global designs, a super-aggressive business plan, and almost complete control of the European market. This German company hasn't jumped the ocean yet to go after your market, but it's pretty clear it will as soon as it has consolidated its gains in Europe. Remember, the German company has global ambitions.

Hypothetical Inc.'s board of directors decides that the only way to counter the German company's plans is to form an alliance with companies in Britain and Russia and create a jointly owned subsidiary, based in England, to compete directly with the Germans for control of the European market. Hypothetical's board names you as the CEO of this subsidiary and sends you to London with these goals:

Build an organization from scratch that will compete successfully with the extremely successful German company that has almost absolute control of its market. Create a management structure for your brand-new organization. Oversee the hiring and training of a massive multicultural and multilingual workforce-eventually numbering more than three million. Do all of the above in twelve months-if it takes longer, Hypothetical Inc. may not survive. This is a daunting set of challenges, but you head off to England fully committed to delivering on them because you, like your board, are absolutely convinced that the very survival of your company is dependent on your success. Urgent as these problems are, they are not the worst aspects of your job as CEO. If you succeed in building this subsidiary in the severely limited time frame, you will be rewarded with a demotion. Before leaving the United States, it was made clear to you that a star executive from the parent company in the United States will replace you once the organization is ready. He will lead the effort against the German company-he will reap the fame and glory.

The prospect of getting to watch someone else succeed-thanks to all your hard work under extreme pressure-is not the worst of your problems. Your competition is incredibly well organized, is highly innovative, and has years of successful experience in executing its often daring strategies. And formidable as your competition is, your board of directors is a collection of overpowering personalities, is in complete disagreement about strategy, and has not empowered you to decide where and how to implement Hypothetical's plan of direct competition with the Germans.

If you are a normal human being, at this point in your career as CEO of Hypothetical's European subsidiary, you are well on your way to an ulcer or a drinking problem. Remember, you believe (as does your board) that if you fail, Hypothetical will go out of business. The value of company stock will disappear, devastating your large body of shareholders. There will be massive job losses, not only for your employees but also for those of your alliance partners in England and Russia. The ripple effect in the economies of your country and your alliance partners could be disastrous. No wonder that, as you head to London to take your post as the European subsidiary's CEO, you are feeling more than a little anxiety.

This hypothetical case more or less describes what Dwight D. Eisenhower faced as he became the CEO of an organization that, for simplicity's sake, we'll call D-Day Inc. No executive in history has ever had more skin in the game than Eisenhower.

If he failed in planning and building D-Day Inc., the failure would not be measured in devalued stock and unemployment. Failure would result in hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of deaths.

* * *

On June 24, 1942, Dwight D. Eisenhower, CEO of D-Day Inc., arrived in England to start his new job.

It's hard to imagine any executive taking over a company with more pressure. His assignment was much more of a concept than an operational reality, but that didn't stop Ike's board from giving him a twelve-month deadline for launching the most ambitious business project ever: the cross-Channel invasion of the competition's territory. No organization had ever attempted such a large-scale project. No organization had ever faced tougher competition. The Germans had complete control of their European territory, short supply lines, and a robust industrial base supplying their operations. They had a large, well-trained, well-equipped, experienced workforce already in the field.

Ike also had to forge success despite amazingly low expectations for his personal success. A few months shy of his fifty-second birthday, when he became CEO for the first time, his entire thirty-year career with his company (the U.S. Army) had been spent in middle management. As you might expect from a career middle manager, Ike was seen as the perfect staff man-not true top-executive material-despite decades of experience and rave reviews from all of his superiors.

Now that he had reached the top spot, he was expected to build the organization and then hand over the job to the organization's next CEO-someone higher up in the parent company-who would take over D-Day Inc. once it was ready to launch operations. Someone more suited to the glories of successfully completing the most daunting business project ever.

Eisenhower was aware of all this and went into the job knowing that the accolades would go to someone else. He didn't care. His focus-his only focus-was to build an organization capable of penetrating the competition's territory and then taking every bit of it away, to free Europe from the clutches of the Germans. This invasion came to be known as Operation Overlord. After Overlord, D-Day Inc. would push through France, Belgium, and Holland into Germany itself.

D-Day Inc.'s board, however, wasn't unanimous about the best path to success. Some of the Brits, including Winston Churchill (who, from Ike's viewpoint, functioned as the lead director of the board), thought going into northern France was the wrong way to compete with the Germans. Churchill didn't completely buy into Operation Overlord until the final weeks before D-Day. Many of the senior British commanders agreed with Churchill. They felt that a gigantic cross-Channel project was out of the question. Better to launch smaller projects as soon as D-Day Inc.'s workforce could handle them. These smaller projects would be followed up cautiously, and Germany would be beaten through a course of slow and steady progress. Eisenhower, however, felt that doing smaller projects was a distraction and would delay the organization's completion of its true mission-seizing Europe from the Germans, which was only doable, in Ike's mind, by going through northern France.

The Germans, Ike reasoned, could afford to lose territory in North Africa or Italy or even in southern France. He considered Churchill's oft-mentioned plans of going through the Balkans to be a waste of time. Ike and the Americans on his board of directors believed that if you want to take down the competition, you have to attack the core of the business, not take out satellite operations that are not essential to the competition's survival. That meant D-Day Inc. had to go through northern France-the shortest route-into the industrial heartland of its German competitor.

When Eisenhower arrived to take charge of D-Day Inc., his board had given him a mixed set of directions. Prepare to go through northern France in a year (1943), but also get ready to launch a suicide initiative almost immediately (September 1942). Why the suicide project? FDR, Churchill, and the senior American and British commanders had one overriding fear: their alliance with the Soviet Union would collapse at any moment.

Since June 1941, only the Soviets had been competing directly with the Germans for territory in Europe. A massive share of America's industrial output, and that of Britain's as well, was going to support the Soviet effort. Everyone at D-Day Inc., from FDR on down, believed the Germans would get stronger if the Russians ceased to compete-and the Americans and Brits were aware the Russians had signed a noncompete agreement with the Germans before the war (the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in August 1939) and that at the rate the Soviets were suffering now, if the Germans offered a new noncompete agreement, there was a high likelihood of Soviet acceptance.

This fear of a Soviet collapse is what drove the creation of the suicide project, delicately named Operation Sledgehammer. If the Soviets suffered too many setbacks between Eisenhower's arrival in England in June and September, Ike was supposed to launch Sledgehammer to divert pressure from the Soviets and keep their massive workforce in direct competition with the Germans.

The only problem with Sledgehammer was that almost no one believed in it. It was almost impossible that Ike could launch anything three months after taking the CEO's job. The Americans and Brits didn't have sufficient resources-in personnel or supplies. Even if Sledgehammer was launched, there was no guarantee the Soviets wouldn't sign a noncompete anyway. And Sledgehammer, if activated, would cause unforeseeable delay in the main mission-the invasion of France.

Like many executives, Eisenhower found himself saddled with a directive that he had to accept and at least create a semblance of complying with. His only hope was that the competitive situation in Europe would never reach the point that it required him to launch Sledgehammer. (It didn't.)

Eisenhower arrived in England in late June 1942 with his mixed set of directives (go into France, but get ready to launch Sledgehammer too!); without the actual, in-place resources to accomplish his mission; and with an aggressively ambitious timeline for launching the project.

On his first day on the job, Ike set the tone he wanted for the organization. He met with the American staff he was inheriting and immediately stated their mission: build D-Day Inc. to be ready to go into France in a year's time.

He explained to his fellow Americans that they had to present an attitude of "determined enthusiasm and optimism." Ike made it clear that pessimism was out-any officer who couldn't handle the challenges without talking of defeat should leave. Ike also changed a fundamental way of doing business. From that moment on, the staff would take complete responsibility for solving its own problems instead of referring them to Washington. As he reported to his boss, General George C. Marshall, "No alibis or excuses will be acceptable."

As a young officer, Eisenhower had spent a great deal of time coaching football teams on army posts, and he emphasized the most important lesson of his football experience once he became the top executive: team first. He wanted a coordinated effort, not dazzling solo performances. In his experience, successful teams were the ones who pulled together with the players selflessly supporting each other. Stars and prima donnas were often successful through sheer brilliance, but brilliant performances are about as predictable, and as dependable, as the weather.

Despite his clarity on the themes of optimism and team first, Ike found that the staff in London was not particularly adaptive. The staff members were entrenched middle management-they heard what Eisenhower said, but like lots of middle managers who have survived a change in executive management, they were not particularly impressed. And Eisenhower-perceived by everyone (including himself) as an interim executive in charge of setting up the project and then handing it over to the "real" boss-didn't have the pull to fire and hire the people he wanted. He couldn't build the staff he needed. When officers left or were added to his staff, it was due to the normal course of rotation within the organization. Personnel decisions were being made for Ike thousands of miles away in Washington.

Historian and biographer Stephen Ambrose wrote, "Eisenhower forcibly impressed his presence on the staff," but Ike wasn't sure that wasn't part of the problem, saying, "Too many staff officers are merely pushing paper" and were coming to him for decisions. Eisenhower couldn't get the staff to stop pushing paper and decisions toward him, but he could take steps to make sure that his time was spent focused on the invasion project. He dumped almost all of the administration duties onto the extremely able Major General John C. H. Lee and freed himself to focus on strategy. There would be plenty of tiny details Ike needed to consider as he strived to meet his project's daunting one-year deadline, but he wanted to be sure they were the crucial details involved in executing the project, not the adminis-trivia of it.

In his first months on the job, Ike fought the perception of himself as a weak interim CEO and struggled mightily to get the British and the Americans back home to take his position seriously. Sure there was ego involved, but mostly Eisenhower was convinced he couldn't do the job properly if no one respected him. He even told off superiors in Washington when he felt they were being dismissive. When Washington approved the transfer of a man from one part of Ike's command to another without telling Ike, he fired off a letter to the general responsible, a man of higher rank and senior to Ike. Eisenhower firmly told the general that "'such a move involves only the authority of the theater commander,' and told him in the future to see to it that such assignments were made only to the theater commander." It took time, but with consistent and rational arguments, Ike began to convince one and all that the CEO of D-Day Inc. was a dead-earnest, serious position.

Of course, arriving with a one-year deadline, Ike couldn't just focus on his own position and his staff. The British Isles were about to be inundated with American servicemen, who would require housing and training facilities and a massive supply chain. With a twelve-month time frame, there was no time to waste.

One area-public relations-presented Eisenhower with an opportunity for quick success, and that success would have immense impact on almost all the other phases of his work. If Ike could generate favorable publicity, he would increase his credibility with his allies and with the folks back home, and that would help with the perception of his job and with the strategic decisions that were coming, and it would help American and British morale as the Yank workforce "invaded" England.

Ike didn't waste any time before leaping into the public relations arena. On June 25, 1942, his second day in England, he held a press conference. Before the conference he was an anonymous staff man; in Stephen Ambrose's words, "His role was more that of an administrator than a commander." After the conference, the spotlight remained intensely trained on him. His appointment as CEO was front-page news in Britain-the English did not need to be convinced that no organization was more important than D-Day Inc. for successful competition with the Germans. And the man himself was a natural. He was blunt about the difficulties facing the organization but always optimistic. He let his passion for the project show-no one was in any doubt that he meant to beat the Germans completely and totally. And, hard as it is to believe in our modern era of "gotcha journalism," Ike trusted the press, referring to them as "quasi members of my staff."

There was one more important ingredient in Eisenhower's successful public relations plan-there was no ego in it. He spent no time on self-aggrandizing. Ike was committed to beating his competition, and he believed that the only way to do that was with an Allied organization. He knew that when D-Day itself came, Americans wouldn't be the only ones going into German territory. Success was utterly dependent on the Allies, and Ike used the press to push Allied unity constantly. The press couldn't get enough stories on him, and almost every single story had a positive angle on the Allies because that's the drum Eisenhower beat.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from LEAD LIKE IKE by GEOFF LOFTUS Copyright © 2010 by Geoff Loftus. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The World's Most Daunting Business Initiative xiii

1 The Pressure Cooker-Start-up: Forging a New Business to Face Staggering Competition 1

2 Lighting the "Torch": Prioritizing to Deal with the Pressure 21

3 First Op: Leading When You're a Rookie Manager 45

4 Getting Husky: Managing Difficult Personalities 63

5 Overlord-D-Day: Supreme Commander: Making Life-or-Death Decisions 95

6 Overlord: Actions and Results: Moving Decisively Toward the Endgame 135

7 Losing Focus: Keeping Clear Regarding Risk vs. Reward 161

8 "Nuts": Never Giving Up-Ever 191

9 Completing the Mission: Maintaining Your Efforts to the Very End 215

10 Performance Evaluation and Summary: Implementing Ike's Strategies 231

Appendix A D-Day Inc.'s Ownership Structure, Board of Directors, and Key Personnel 261

Appendix B Glossary 263

Appendix C U.S. Army Structure in World War II 265

Bibliography 267

Notes 269

About the Author 277

Acknowledgments 279

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 17 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2014

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  • Posted December 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Ike Strike

    The premise of Lead Like Ike by Geoff Loftus is to show how Dwight D. Eisenhower's leadership strategies during D-Day operations can be translated into today's business setting.

    This book is packed full of history, but it lacks practical advice on the how-to part of leading like Ike. If you're not a history buff, then I recommend you stay away from this read. It seemed more like a daunting history lesson, and although it was full of facts it seemed to never get down to the core issue, which was to show us how to be better leaders. I don't doubt that Eisenhower was a great leader, but I think the author could have cut out a lot of the useless stuff and had better points. In this case, I think less would've been more.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Booksneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted August 17, 2010

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    Boring

    This book was unbelieveably boring. It was very very very hard forme to keep my focus while reading it. It talked a lot about World War 2 but it did have some pretty good tips on being a leader and what not. Im just not a big fan of world history much so if you really like world history then you would most likely enjoy this book.

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  • Posted August 11, 2010

    Lead Like Ike By Geoff Loftus

    This decade seems to be the age of Business books. Especially those with unique themes, simple Analogies that are trying to move complex topics away from CEO desks and reach the general public.

    Problem is, not even 0.01% of this general public run their own businesses or manage a team of individuals. So explaining business / team building related topics to them is very difficult, unless and until you choose a theme which makes sense for their present world, and tries to connect it with the bigger (next) stage they want to reach.

    This is the reason Sports and Military are the two repeating themes in Business Books. Anyone can visualize these scenarios which helps in learning even if you are not born with the B'gene.

    'Lead Like IKE' by Geoff Loftus narrates the real story of General Dwight D. Eisenhower using World War II background very effectively. However, this is not just a very interesting thriller biography, but teaches 10 business strategies from the way Eisenhower planned and executed the famous D-Day.

    We can compare this book to "Art of war". Instead of ancient war, this uses the recent (well, at least comparitively) WWII battles as examples and details business strategies such as Prioritizing, Dealing with pressure, Making decisions, Managing Difficult personalities, Never Giving Up etc., It also has a chapter on how to adopt and implement these strategies in our real life scenarios.

    Author Geoff Loftus has done an exceptional research on Ike's life / methods, and presents them as simple, well narrated chapters. Only negative comment I have is, he could have added few other (non-War, Non-Ike) examples too without disturbing the central theme. As of now, this book can be a bit boring for those who don't like to read about war for almost 300 pages.

    But Then, they shouldn't have picked the book in the first place :)

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted July 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A fascinating look at the man behind D-Day

    For many years, I have enjoyed the leadership books that explore an individual's life and discuss leadership lessons that can be learned from him or her. Books have been written about everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Walt Disney and Michael Jordan, discussing how we can lead just as they did. It is no surprise, then, that I would be attracted to Geoff Loftus' new book, "Lead Like Ike."
    Loftus tells the story of what is arguably the greatest military leadership feat in recent history, the retaking of Europe and the defeat of Nazi Germany, Interspersed among the details of plans for battle, invasions, fighting, and overcoming challenges are lessons in business leadership that can be used today.
    I enjoyed this book for several reasons. First, it is a quick read. Loftus was thorough, but didn't get bogged down in details that are best left to history books. Second, I am a history buff, and I learned some things while reading the book. Third, Loftus explored the interpersonal relations between the principals among Allied leaders. This, after all, was where Eisenhower truly showed his leadership skills. Fourth, Loftus made effective use of sidebars to give modern business illustrations that correspond to what Eisenhower dealt with. This was a very effective teaching tool. Finally, at the end of each chapter, he summarized the main learning points. This will make it easy to return to the book and find significant points of interest to me. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in historical leadership.
    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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  • Posted July 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Lead Like Ike - Ten Business Strategies From The CEO Of D-Day

    Lead Like Ike
    by Geoff Loftus
    Thomas Nelson Publishing

    Who was the greatest CEO of the 20th century? A persuasive case can be made for General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who undertook history's most harrowing executive assignment: Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe on June 6th, 1944. In Lead Like Ike, business journalist and communications guru Geoff Loftus waves a fly-on-the-wall narrative from Ike's perspective as supreme allied commander overseeing the Normandy invasion. While swept into a gripping story that honors the sacrifice of all who fought and died on D-Day, you'll also be drawn to a cache of battle-tested strategies and tactics with direct applications to modern-day business leadership.

    I love history, specifically the WWII era, so when I saw that I had a chance to read a book about the Supreme Commander of D-Day I jumped at the opportunity. I was not disappointed in the least.
    Mr. Loftus creates a parallel between Eisenhower's strategies for winning the war with Germany and a company determined to win the war of competition with another company, and I think he does a very good job of constructing the analogy. He shows the successes and failures of Eisenhower's plans and uses them as examples of what to do and what not to do in the business world.
    I don't know how effective this book would be to an executive or upper to middle-manager, as the points that Loftus makes are all common sense to the everyday, blue-collar worker, but in my experience not too many upper-management types are aware of these strategies.
    This is a tremendous book -- simply for the historical content alone, so if you love history you will truly appreciate the biographical content. If you are upper management, I dare you to get this book, follow the strategies that are laid out, and see if your business flourishes.


    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://booksneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted July 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Lead Like Ike: Ten Business Strategies from the CEO of D-Day

    Have you ever thought about what it would be like to switch places with someone else and walk in their shoes for a day or a week or a year?

    Geoff Loftus makes the switch for us by naming Dwight D. Eisenhower the CEO of D-Day, Inc., the most important corporation of the 20th century.

    FDR and Winston Churchill become leaders on Eisenhower's Board of Directors. Ike becomes an upper-level middle manager.

    It's an odd and interesting twist on a familiar story that begins with a great deal of promise but weakens and tires as the book progresses.

    The book is well-researched and, as the title promises, analyzes Eisenhower's leadership and gleans 10 strategies for today's leader:

    Determine Your Mission
    Plan for Success
    Stay Focused
    Prioritize
    Plan to Implement
    Communicate
    Motivate Your People
    Manage Your People
    Avoid Project Creep
    Be Honest

    As Salvatore J. Vitale notes on the cover jacket, "[I]t's the simplest management principles that we often forget," and it's this simplicity that makes the book so promising and so disappointing.

    If you're a history buff and want stories to flesh out the 10 strategies, I highly recommend this book. Otherwise, I'd suggest reading Eisenhower's own Crusade in Europe (1948) instead.

    [Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for this unbiased review.]

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  • Posted July 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Leadership qualities of Eisenhower

    This book was definitely an interesting read, even though it is out of my normal range of genres. Lead Like Ike takes the history of D-Day, specifically the history of Eisenhower's actions leading up to and following D-Day, and examines them as if D-Day were a corporation and Eisenhower the CEO. Eisenhower used many strategies throughout the war which are useful for CEOs and managers of corporations today.

    The ten lessons in the book are fairly simple: determine your mission, plan for success, stay focused, prioritize, plan to implement, communicate, motivate your people, manage your people, avoid project creep, and be honest. The lessons are each explained and described using Eisenhower's actions in D-Day as well as more modern examples from corporations such as General Motors and AOL.

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  • Posted June 29, 2010

    Lead Like Ike Falls Flat

    I have to tell you that I was excited to receive Lead Like Ike by Geoff Loftus from Book Sneeze when I read the synopsis. Unfortunately, once I received the book, and I cracked it open, my excitement level began to fade quickly. I love the idea of meshing the worlds of Dwight Eisenhower's role in coordinating the largest military campaign in history up to that point in time and the world of leadership.

    The book missed on several points. At times, it appeared that the chapters were written independently from one another and then pulled together in one book. The same information, or concept was repeated multiple times yet in a way as though it was suppose to be the first time the reader was seeing it but it wasn't. To be honest, it was very distracting. The integration of the management strategies to the history of the D-Day invasion and the planning did not flow well at all. Inserts for the "business strategy" seemed to be hap hazardly thrown around. Relation to modern day business was sometimes integrated into the main text and other times as excerpts as well. With regards to modern day company integration, it appeared Mr. Loftus chose to focus on 4 or 5 companies with the same basic concepts......It seemed very entry level.

    As far as a leadership or management book goes, Lead Like Ike is a complete miss for me. That being said, If Mr. Loftus had focused his efforts on creating a simple straightforward account of Dwight Eisenhower's role (What this book really is) in the D-Day planning, it would have been much better. Unfortunately, that has been done multiple times and much better than this.

    I tried to find the best in Lead Like Ike. I wanted to like it. I was pulling for Geoff, but at the end of the day, I was able to get through Lead Like Ike because I was obligated too. Don't think I could have done it otherwise.

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  • Posted June 27, 2010

    Lead Like Ike by Geoff Loftus

    In Lead like Ike the author shares ten business and management strategies from the CEO of D-Day. Some of the topics in the book deal with; "Planning for Success, Communicating, Managing your People, Being Honest, and Staying Focused." Leaders can learn a lot about how to manage by looking into history and seeing what leaders have done in the past. This book is full of history and also current day examples of good and bad management.

    I liked the principles in the book but had a hard time with the writing style. I had a hard time connecting with the author and what he was saying. I don't know if it was his writing style or me but it did not grab my attention. But if you like history and management you might like the book. I really liked the author giving ways to implement the strategies and how you can apply them into your life. Also at the end of each chapter he gave "Debriefing Notes."

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  • Posted June 26, 2010

    Great History,Bio and Business Book

    There is nothing more that I like then to read books and my favorite types of books are: U.S. history, Biography and leadership books. I never really thought you would be able to find all three subjects in one book. Lead Like Ike a new book by Geoff Loftus gives you all three subjects.
    I have read book and seen movies about D-day and about the great men that risked their lives to take that beach. The U.S need that beach and if we could not get it, the war would have maybe gone a different way. Take the beaches at Normandy is what help America win the war in Europe. I never knew that it was lead by a great man in Dwight D Eisenhower (Ike).
    Geoff Loftus give 10 Strategic Lessons that he take from what Ike did on D-day. Geoff walks you though those step with history lesson for Ike and how they were use to be successful on D-day. Then Geoff take those same lesson and shows how they can be applied in business leadership.
    I found this book the be ever insightful I recommend it to all that are in business, leadership or just want a great read about how D-day was successful.
    Thanks to Thomas Nelson for my advance copy of this great book.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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  • Posted June 24, 2010

    Business Strategies and War History Interwoven Nicely

    I'm too young to have experienced WWII first hand, so I was intrigued to learn a little more about the insides of the operation that defeated Hitler and his evil Nazi regime. Geoff Loftus does a good job of balancing the historical narrative with business strategies that anyone can use as advice in how to succeed in the business community.

    I'm partial to historical facts, so the details of how Eisenhower led the troops, and directed the D-Day operation were intriguing. And dwelling into the relationships between Ike and his "staff" were interesting, especially the parts about Montgomery and Patton.

    The book is simple and straightforward, and strives to keep an even balance between the war and how you can effectively use Ike's strategies to be successful in the corporate world. Interweaving modern day corporate examples of success and failure do fit in nicely to complete the picture and to add some meat to an otherwise sound piece of literature.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted June 24, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Lead Like Ike

    Prior to reading Geoff Loftus's "Lead Like Ike" I only knew General Dwight D. 'Ike' Eisenhower as the supreme commander of the Allied forces during World War II and later on as the President of the United States of America.
    This book illustrates the magnitude of his feat in tackling successfully the objectives and goals set before him during those tumultuous days. His success not only secured victory for the allies but freedom for millions worldwide. His failure would have doomed civilization and humanity indefinitely. General Eisenhower's handling of such mammoth pressure and astute policy making paved the way for his success against all odds.
    Ike's functioning has been compared to present day corporate situations and parallels have been drawn to illustrate the fact that his principles can very well be applied today's financial and business problems.
    'Lead Like Ike' is a mixture of business studies, history and biography. It has been presented in a very reader friendly format with specially highlighted boxes to draw attention to important parts of the page. The language is very lucid and the message quite clear. It is a very interesting book and the lessons taught can be applied to our individual lives. A must read for people from all walks of life.

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  • Posted June 22, 2010

    Lead Like Ike

    I enjoy reading books dealing with military history. When I read the background for this book would be the D-Day invasion at Normandy, I was intrigued. Lead Like Ike: Ten Business Strategies from the CEO of D-Day by Geoff Loftus gives a detailed look at the leadership methods of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower, or "Ike" was given the monumental task of coordinating and commanding the D-Day invasion at Normandy. Loftus sets up his book by giving the military operation of D-Day a company name, D-Day Inc. and treats Ike as the CEO of that company. Loftus then goes on to look at the D-Day invasion as a business project. He draws a parallel between the military world and the secular business world, showing that Eisenhower had a board of directors (the president and other Allied leaders), C-level staff (commanders and generals on the ground), affiliated organizations, and stakeholders (military personnel, US citizens, and the victims of Hitler's crimes).

    The strategies learned from Eisenhower's methods of leadership are valuable and relevant. A few of the strategies that emerge are Determine Your Mission, Stay Focused, Motivate Your People, and Be Honest. The lessons themselves are generic, but adaptable beyond corporate America. As a pastor, the strategies that were utilized and found successful on the battlefield can be applied to leading people to be on mission for God. For anyone who is in a leadership position, this book will be beneficial to you. Lead Like Ike is not your typical "do-this" and "don't-do-that" leadership type book. Rather, it is an honest look a leader who led people in a real-life situation and the principles and insight we gain have been tried and tested. I recommend this book to you. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.

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  • Posted June 8, 2010

    Lead Like Ike - By Geoff Loftus

    This book is about Dwight Eisenhower's leadership methods. This powerful man was in charge during the most daunting project in U.S. history, the D-Day Invasion. Understanding his methods and thought processes can provide invaluable strategies for today's business person. Excellent reading for those in leadership positions especially during these tough economic times. The parallels Geoff Loftus has drawn between Eisenhower's military strategies and today's business world are refreshing and surprisingly effective. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a new perspective on the role of leadership in business. The lessons drawn on from Eisenhower's methods are simple yet timely and more importantly, effective. Whether you want to build and lead an effective staff or understand aspects of competition in the business world or building a company, this book will inspire you. I did not know too much about Eisenhower before this book but I can definitely see why he was a great leader. D-Day may have happened many decades ago but Eisenhower's practices are relevant and applicable today. Current business leaders can learn a lot from this book. You do not necessarily need "catchy phrases" and "buzz words" to be a good leader....good leaders in business today can "Lead Like Ike". Highly recommended.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

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    Posted October 20, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2010

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