Verizon Untethered: An Insider's Story of Innovation and Disruption

Verizon Untethered: An Insider's Story of Innovation and Disruption


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A history of the transformation of Verizon and the telecommunications industry told through the eyes of founding CEO Ivan Seidenberg and his leadership team, with highlights and commentary from bestselling global leadership guru Ram Charan.

The Verizon leadership team stands apart from most leadership teams today in their willingness repeatedly to put the enterprise before the individual. At first blush, this might look like a hopelessly old-fashioned notion in the age of the selfie. Yet, I would argue this is a trait that future leaders and boards of directors across industries would do well to understand and embrace.

Seidenberg not once but twice in the service of company shareholders and employees subordinated himself and put off taking sole leadership of the company to advance the enterprise’s odds of success. And many others in this story exhibited the same trait to help build this industry-leading enterprise.

They understood that the risk of not acting and thereby destroying value during a period of accelerating technological change and industry consolidation—a situation faced by leadership teams around the world today—was much greater than the risk of stepping in as No. 2 or co-CEO. In my 50 years of experience, it is a rare leadership team that will subordinate itself for the benefit of the industry, customers and the company. That principle, that the company comes first, the individual second, is what will define successful leadership teams of the future.

Multiple leadership principles, some new, some timeless, emerge from this narrative and will be of great use to the next generation of leaders across industries and around the world. By taking a look at a company that successfully executed exponential transformation, we can take the strategies of Verizon leaders and apply them to our own experiences.—Ram Charan

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781682617595
Publisher: Post Hill Press
Publication date: 05/01/2018
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Ivan Seidenberg is the former chairman and CEO of Verizon Communications. His career began in 1966 when he started out as a cable splicer for New York Telephone. He was a key part of the leadership team that transformed Verizon into a premier global network, deploying high-speed fiber broadband directly to homes, and expanding Verizon’s global internet backbone network. Seidenberg retired from Verizon in 2011; the following year, he joined Perella Weinberg Partners as an advisory partner. He serves as a director for a number of organizations, including BlackRock Inc. and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Seidenberg earned a bachelor’s degree from Lehman College, part of the City University of New York, and a master’s degree from Pace University.

Ram Charan is a world-renowned business adviser, author, teacher, and speaker who has spent the past forty years working with CEOs, boards, and executives of the world’s top companies. Formerly on the faculties of Harvard Business School and Northwestern University, he is the author of twenty-five books that have sold more than four million copies and have been published in over a dozen languages, including the bestselling Execution, Confronting Reality, and The Attacker’s Advantage. In addition to advising and coaching leaders, Charan serves on several boards in the U.S., Turkey, China, India, and Brazil. He has received best teacher awards from Wharton, Northwestern, and GE’s learning center at Crotonville, New York. In 2005 he was elected as a Distinguished Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources.

Scott McMurray is Vice President-Editorial at The History Factory. He has conducted hundreds of oral histories with CEOs and other corporate, nonprofit, and government leaders. He is an award-winning author of corporate history publications and has written books for clients including Time Warner Cable, Accenture, and Saudi Aramco. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Grinnell College, Scott has written for The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, and Institutional Investor.

Table of Contents

Preface v

Foreword viii

Chapter 01 Changing Mindsets 1

Chapter 02 Coming of Age 31

Chapter 03 Re-create, Reorder, Restructure 63

Essay: Checkmate Ram Charan 100

Chapter 04 New Company, New Industry, New Century 103

Chapter 05 Part of Something Bigger 131

Chapter 06 Becoming No. 1 159

Chapter 07 Future-Proof the Core 187

Essay: Dynamic Directors Ram Charan 206

Chapter 08 Scaling for Mass Customization 209

Chapter 09 Transitions 245

Essay: Handicapping HiPos Ram Charan 271

Chapter 10 A New Era Begins 275

Chapter 11 "We're Going to Have to Disrupt Ourselves" 305

Epilogue 319

Acknowledgments 321

Biographies 323

Bibliography 325

Image Credits 331

Index 332

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