I have commented on this book before, but “Mavericks at Work” by William Taylor and Polly LaBarre is an interesting book to pick up. A quick read if you have to fly coast to coast and need a page turner. I enjoyed this book despite my hesitation to read another management or strategy book. With quotes like “The strong take from the weak …but the smart take from the strong”, one might roll their eyes.. ..but it has plenty of solid case studies that are illuminating and insightful and offer thoughts to apply to one’s own business problems and challenges.
Here are a few takeaways from the book:
– It references “Leading the Revolution” by Gary Hamel. Book on the internet explosion and group think.
– Interesting case studies on ING. One quote of particular interest that resonates with me: “Even in the face of massive competition, dont think about the competition. Literally dont think about them. Every time you’re in a meeting and you’re tempted to talk about a competitor, replace that thought with one about user feedback or surveys. Just think about the customer.” I cant put this into practice fast enough. How often have I sat in meetings when we pour over what our comps are doing…but spend scant time on what feedback from our users suggests. For new product dev, we look at our comps, vs asking our end users or reading their emails.
– Brilliant question in the book: “Can you identify one piece of how your company operates, that, if it were to disappear, would be sorely missed in the marketplace? If not, can you identify one good reason why your company is not at risk of disappearing”?
– Fantastic case study on Goldcorp. How they opened up to the world a competition to determine if one of their mining districts held any promise. They provided a competition on where to drill next?
– Yet another reference to the famous book “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” by Eric Raymond. Open source plays throughout this book, referenced as a means to get the masses thinking about minute problem sets then providing a catalyst to solve (whether money and a competition, bragging rights, etc).
– Funny quote: “Only dead fish go with the flow” or “A solution is what results when you stop thinking about the problem”.
– Book references: “Funky Business: Talent Makes Capital Dance” by Jonas Ridderstrale. Also “The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less” by Barry Schwartz. I have read the latter and hits on a theme that will surely resonate with people today. Too many choices, brand confusion, noise, low signal to noise ratio, etc.
– Website for those interested in culture, business practices, HR matters, etc.
I highly recommend this book. A must read.