Nice Companies Finish First: Why Cutthroat Management Is Over--and Collaboration Is In

Overview

The era of authoritarian cowboy CEOs like Jack Welch and Lee Iacocca is over. In an age of increasing transparency and access, it just doesn’t pay to be a jerk—to employees, customers, competitors, or anyone else. In Nice Companies Finish First, Shankman, a pioneer in modern PR, marketing, advertising, social media, and customer service, profiles the famously nice executives, entrepreneurs, and companies that are setting the standard for success in this new collaborative world. He explores the new hallmarks of ...

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Nice Companies Finish First: Why Cutthroat Management Is Over--and Collaboration Is In

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Overview

The era of authoritarian cowboy CEOs like Jack Welch and Lee Iacocca is over. In an age of increasing transparency and access, it just doesn’t pay to be a jerk—to employees, customers, competitors, or anyone else. In Nice Companies Finish First, Shankman, a pioneer in modern PR, marketing, advertising, social media, and customer service, profiles the famously nice executives, entrepreneurs, and companies that are setting the standard for success in this new collaborative world. He explores the new hallmarks of effective leadership, including loyalty, optimism, humility, and a reverence for customer service, and shows how leaders like Jet Blue’s Dave Needleman, Tony Hsieh of Zappos, Steve Jobs of Apple, Ken Chenault of Amex, Indra Nooyi of Pepsi, and the team behind Patagonia harness these traits to build productive, open, and happy workplaces for the benefit of their employees, themselves, and the bottom line.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Looks at how treating customers really well can bring huge dividends…in the era when customers can share information instantly on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, it’s more important than ever for companies to keep them happy."—Forbes.com

"Shankman contends that in the long run, leaders who show loyalty, optimism, humility, and a reverence for customer service will create both profits and a happy workforce…He explains how their thoughtfulness and willingness to collaborate helped them create solid bottom lines for their businesses and happy workplaces."—Upstart Business Journal

“The book’s anti-Machiavellian approach is trendy and humanistic, and it bears repeating by thought leaders.”—Publishers Weekly

“A corporate consultant argues that kinder, gentler corporate leaders and corporations are winning out over older, tougher images of take-no-prisoners leadership...A smoothly put together business leadership primer.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Excellent, thought-provoking book for a new generation of leaders.”—Booklist

“As CEO of one of the fastest-growing clothing lines in the world, I greatly admire Peter Shankman’s strategies and techniques, and have implemented many of them at SCOTTEVEST. I highly recommend this book if you are a business owner or entrepreneur trying to build a unique brand and truly productive work environment.”—Scott Jordan, CEO, Scottevest

“Shankman has put in a wakeup call for leaders to examine each of their daily interactions from the bottom to top. Through memorable examples, he offers straightforward and practical advice on how to conduct oneself in a way that will lead to win-win relationships with the people that matter most – essentially everybody in our world.”—Leigh Thompson, professor, Kellogg School of Management and author of Creative Conspiracy.

“Fresh thinking that feels familiar. And it should – we’ve been told ‘play nice’ since we were kids. But Peter expands the thought to encompass flexibility, compassion and the secret sauce:  collaboration.”—Cathy Calhoun, president, North America, Weber Shandwick

Publishers Weekly
A University of Florida survey of 700 employees in a wide range of industries found that 31% of participants “reported that their supervisor gave them the “silent treatment during the year.” Surprising? Yes. Ubiquitous? Stunningly so. Strategically successful? Not anymore, says marketing and strategy consultant Shankman (Can We Do That?!), who suggests that the qualities of a good leader are obvious and strategically advantageous, but elusive in today’s business culture. Though Shankman’s insights aren’t groundbreaking, they are well-organized, concise, and convincing. His framework consists of 10 leadership traits that range from the most personal (good listening) to the highest-level corporate strategy (beating the competition through innovation). Some tried and true examples include Wal-Mart’s forays into organic food, Zappos’s focus on customer service, and, on the negative side, Kodak’s myopia and the legendary failure of leadership that resulted in the Challenger space shuttle disaster. Yet he also finds unusual examples, including Neapolitan Pizza’s commitment to charitable cycling events, and the San Diego firm SDA Security’s culture of innovation, communication, and trust. The book’s anti-Machiavellian approach is trendy and humanistic, and it bears repeating by thought leaders. Agent: Carol Mann, Carol Mann Agency. (Apr.)
Library Journal
PR specialist Shankman (CEO, the Geek Factory, Inc., Can We Do That? Outrageous PR Stunts That Work) offers insights into how and why nice companies are the next big thing. A troubled economy that intensifies competition, combined with social media’s ability to expose bad behavior quickly, is a major factor in the equation of why company top brasses are having a harder time playing dirty. When companies and their leaders act with “enlightened self-interest,” their relationship with their employees and customers becomes beneficial for all in the long-term. The author interviews dozens of executives to uncover the hallmarks of a new brand of leadership—the kind that gets down on the floor to help an employee who’s dropped a stack of uncollated papers. These leaders aren’t pushovers or Pollyannas—they can make tough decisions when necessary and read the handwriting on the wall when things go awry. But they’re accessible, they listen (really listen), they accentuate the positive—and in so doing they inspire loyalty from customers and staff while still building the bottom line.

Verdict Who can argue with the premise that just about everyone would rather deal with nice people than nasty ones? Shankman’s book is a quick read, with illuminating and sometimes gossipy anecdotes to illustrate the traits necessary to make nice in business.—Carol Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin Whitewater Libs.

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
A corporate consultant argues that kinder, gentler corporate leaders and corporations are winning out over older, tougher images of take-no-prisoners leadership. Shankman (Can We Do That?!: Outrageous PR Stunts that Work--and Why Your Company Needs Them, 2006) associates the older view of the ineffective leader with what he calls "A Hopeless Jerk" and offers nine "warning signs" of such a leader, including "Uninterested in Feedback," "Takes Sides Unfairly and Openly" and "Wants a Castle in the Sky." As a replacement, the author provides nine traits for more effective leadership, including the "The Accessibility Factor," "Strategic Listening" and "360 Loyalty." The author buttresses these traits with case studies drawn from the corporate world. The uniting theme is Adam Smith's view of human functioning as "enlightened self-interest." Shankman contrasts some failed top dogs with others who now represent success. Al "Chainsaw" Dunlap, the former CEO of Sunbeam, was an example of the former. His reputation rested on a "gleeful appetite for job cuts," and he eventually flamed out and drove the company into the ground. Another example is Wolfgang Schmitt of Rubbermaid, who refused to consider the views of others. On the positive side is Chris McCormick of L.L. Bean, a company famous for its service and "treating customers like human beings." PJ Bain, of PrimeRevenue, a supplier of digital factoring services to international corporations, stands for the development of skills and abilities of his employees through special training programs and other activities. A smoothly put together business leadership primer that could use further, deeper elaboration.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781137279156
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 6/3/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 685,509
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Shankman is the founder of Help a Reporter Out (HARO), the largest free source repository for journalists in the world, as well as the founder and CEO of The Geek Factory, Inc., a 15-year-old marketing, branding, and PR company based in New York City with clients worldwide. His PR and social media clients have included AmEx, Sprint, the US Department of Defense, Royal Bank of Canada, Snapple, Saudi Aramco, Walt Disney World, Discovery Networks, Harrah’s Hotels, and many others. He is the author of Can We Do That?!, which has been named one of the six “must read” PR books by PR Channel, and Customer Service: New Rules for a Social-Enabled World. He is a frequent speaker and has presented at such venues as South by Southwest, BlogWorld, The Public Relations Society of America, and many other trade shows. Shankman sits on the advisory boards of several companies, as well as on the NASA Civilian Advisory Council.

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