cover image LEADING ON THE EDGE OF CHAOS: The 10 Critical Elements for Success in Volatile Times

LEADING ON THE EDGE OF CHAOS: The 10 Critical Elements for Success in Volatile Times

Emmett C. Murphy, Mark Murphy, . . Prentice Hall Press, $26 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-7352-0312-9

This management leadership primer aspires to help executives "launch effective responses to crisis" and transform threats into "opportunity for growth and progress." Such strategies are sorely needed in today's post–September 11, post-Enron business environment. Unfortunately, management consultants Emmett Murphy (Leadership IQ) and Mark Murphy break little new ground. Their axioms for success, including "make haste slowly," "partner with customers" and "maximize knowledge assets," are not revolutionary. Within each chapter, leaders from venerable companies, among them Southwest Airlines and DuPont, talk about how they manage in turbulent times, although few of the challenges they describe could truly be described as chaotic. Business executives want and need to learn how to handle massive layoffs, loss of client confidence and a host of risks. But what they get here is a description of how IBM got its Web-based applications teams to work faster, a profile of the Federal Express in-house management development program and a lesson in how Cisco streamlined its procurement processes. An exception is the epilogue, which discusses the leadership of Rudy Giuliani and others who faced serious disasters. There is a helpful appendix: a thoughtful, 20-question, multiple choice quiz that assesses hiring practices, employee morale, customer care and organizational flexibility. Executives could use this tool to assess how they and their companies might fare confronting a wide range of challenges. Agent, Michael Snell. (June)