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

Peter Shankman, Author
Peter Shankman, with Karen Kelly. Palgrave Macmillan, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-0-230-34189-0
Reviewed on: 12/17/2012
Release date: 04/02/2013
Paperback - 245 pages - 978-1-137-27915-6
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-137-33350-6
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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.)
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