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THE ONE THING: The Surprisingly Simple Truths Behind Extraordinary Results.


Gary Keller

Austin, Texas: Bard Press, 2012

Regular Price: $24.95

Board Options/Amazon Price: $17.95

YOU SAVE : 30%




Gary Keller is co-founder and chairman of the board of Keller Williams Realty International. It is the largest real estate company in the United States. He was an Ernst & young Entrepreneur of the Year. Jay Papasan is Vice President at Keller Williams Realty. They both live in Austin, Texas.


This book would be in the category of self-help books for leaders but can have some implications for Board members.


This is a book with one voice and two distinct sentiments. It would a better book if one of the sentiments had triumphed. But the two sentiments make the total book less than the sum of its parts.


There is a single voice throughout the book. And that voice is charming, funny, and makes the reader feel like he is listening to stories told by a friend.


But there are two sentiments.


One sentiment has found a balance between education and entertainment. This sentiment anchors key ideas in chapters with research and shows how the research could apply in business. When this sentiment is in control, the book becomes a useful guide for leaders and for board members.


For example, in Chapter 7, the authors tie several research studies to come up with the following perspectives. None of these perspectives are novel but they are well presented: (1) viewing the mind like a computer is a dangerous analogy. The mind is a muscle and needs to be treated like one. In creating Board agendas, give plenty of breaks between agenda items to relax in the same way that you would allow for recovery periods between gym exercises. (2) will power is like the power bar on your cell phone. It can be recharged but it requires downtime. It also needs to be managed. The more we use our mind, the less minding power we have. Therefore, set the most important Board agenda items at the beginning of the day and not at the end. This is an interesting observation since the beginning of most Board meetings tend to be consumed by the routine (approval of minutes from last meeting; review of the financials) and the most critical issues might be placed on the agenda towards the end of the day. Chapter 5 links research to practical management of multitasking. The authors say the brain does an excellent job multitasking autonomic and cognitive issues. For example you can be simultaneously reading this review and decide on your breathing rate. The brain is designed for conscious/unconscious multi-tasking. The brain is not designed to do an excellent job multitasking cognitive issues. If you do two things at once, you will end up doing neither well. This has implications for the management of meetings where members are not “called” out for reading emails during conversations.


The second sentiment is one where the balance between entertainment and education is tilted towards entertainment. Presentation has taken priority over substance.


This sentiment lacks substantial research and is more guided by personal vignettes. It is based on the dubious premise that "I am successful using this perspective therefore you will be successful by copying me."


For example, the core theme of the book is "ONE." Find one thing and do it exceptionally well. The authors quote Andrew Carnegie: "the concerns which fail are those which have scattered their capital, which means they have scattered their brains also." The "one" core question in this book is: "what’s the one thing I can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?"


The authors cite Mark Twain and Andrew Carnegie to justify the concept. They fail to mention economist Adam Smith and strategist Michael Porter. Each of them has articulated the same idea in a more effective manner. The problem with the core idea of ONE is that it s old wine poured in an old bottle with an attractive new label.


In Chapter 12, the authors present a framework for asking "great questions." They have four types of questions based on two variables (Broad/Specific and Big/Small). They recommend only one of them: Big Questions that are Specific. For example: "what can I do to double sales in six months?" is Big and Specific. Small Questions that are Broad would be "what can I do to increase sales?"


This type of logic might make sense for a private company aggressively sales focused and operating in a growth environment where the CEO controls the Board.


The authors fail to look at important contextual issues. Would a CEO say the same thing to a private equity dominated board? Would a public company make Broad/Specific statements and risk the Wall Street labeling the CEO "overpromise/underperform?" Public company CEO and CEOs reporting to private equity Boards learn it is best to "under promise and over deliver." It is the role of the Board to push the CEO.


Another contextual issue is leadership position. Do you want the manager of a deep water oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico making Big/Specific commitments?


In other words, this segment of the book is presented with a flair for the dramatic, a tendency to not base ideas on evidence beyond personal experience, and to assume "since it worked for me it will work for you."


The core premise of the book is problematic for me.


That premise is Define that One thing that is critical and Keep Your Eyes on it at all times. This can work if you define that One thing as "Excellent Customer Experience." The Ritz Carlton does this and it works. I have a client where we have defined the One thing as: "120/16." That is code for we will be a $120 Million company by 2016. Everybody uses the slogan obsessively. It is helpful to focus priorities.


Sometimes ONE makes sense.


And sometimes ONE will create failure.


But there is a reason why only 2% of automobile crashes in the United States are direct frontal hits and 25% of crashes are side collisions. As the speed of the vehicle increases, driver peripheral vision erodes. As the speed of business increases, leaders' peripheral vision deteriorates as well. For my company and with my clients, the greatest dangers and opportunities are not directly in one's line of vision but 45 degrees off the line of site. In Chapter 1, the author talks about being so focused on his business problems, he could no longer see his problem with perspective. He retained a coach and the coach helped him to understand that the core problem was at the peripheral of his vision.


ONE may be the answer in some limited circumstances. But it is not always the answer. And it can be dangerous.


A more useful book title would be "How to Keep Your Eyes on the Ball AND 45 Degrees From It."




Laurence J. Stybel is Vice President of, a global retained search firm for great Board members. He also is Executive in Residence (Rank of Professor) at the Suffolk University’s Sawyer Business School in Boston. PSYCHOLOGY TODAY MAGAZINE publishes his column on leadership every month, "Platform for Success."

GOVERNANCE REIMAGINED: organizational design, risk, and value creation.


David R. Koenig

Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2012

ISBN 978-0-470-59878-9 (cloth)

ISBN 0781118220574 (ebk)

Regular Price: $75.00

Amazon/Board Options Price: $46.29 (cloth) or $43.98 (ebook)




David R. Koenig is CEO of the Governance Fund Advisors. He has been active in financial markets for more than 25 years. David is a member of Risk Who’s Who and the author of a number articles in the leading risk management journals.


This is an easy-to-read book about complex ideas: the role of risk in an interconnected world. Risk is not just a negative term. A company Board ought to fire a CEO if the CEO is not taking enough risk with investor’s money as well. The issue is how to achieve balance in this complex world.


The author suggests several specific things for Boards and CEOs to consider:.


  1. The Board must ensure that there is no single risk being taken that could disable the pursuit of its mission. If there is a known Single Point of Failure and the Board does not take decisive action then the Board is not doing its job.
  2. Boards too often view things from a closed network perspective: the board is a system, the CEO and the CEO’s team are a system, and the investors are a system. That’s all the Board need think about. Koenig argues for a broader systems perspective. I have seldom heard the term "stakeholders" uttered in a Board Room but that is what he is talking about.
  3. Time, structure and money should be allocated so that there can be an effective and routine audit of risk management. And remember, Koenig is using the term risk in a broader sense than the audit committee might use it.
  4. The Board should delegate one of its members formal responsibility for understanding the risk governance of the organization and have a regular report to the full Board.


I like the specific proposals he suggests. Whether you agree with him or not, they do deserve to be discussed.


David Koenig is an expert in risk management and I am not. In my perspective as a CEO, when he writes that his definition of risk “reflects ALL activities of an organization in pursuit of its objectives” then he has crossed a line from looking at risk as a useful framework to defining risk as “everything.” Definitions that broad tend to be difficult to manage or measure. His risk is that business leaders refuse to take seriously some of his more substantive ideas.


I like it when David Koenig gets “down to earth” like the four principles of governance in his book. He gets scary when he gets abstract. For example, if one accepts Koenig’s definition of risk as "everything" a company does then the Board member charged in understanding "risk governance" is really the Board Czar. This is not going to happen.



David X. Martin

New York: David X. Martin, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1475184396

Amazon/Board Options Price: $10.95




David X. Martin is a senior advisor at global management consulting firm Oliver Wyman and former Chief Risk Officer for AllianceBernstein.


I recommend you, your family, your team, and your board read the Forward to this book and skip the last chapter.


The Forward is the fascinating story behind this story book: the sudden death of David’s friend forced him to confront the family with the fact that the friend had not managed family financial risks well. And when David tried to “teach” the family the basics of risk management, they were not interested. This book is a result of that rebuff: a fable about animals in the woods and how they confront or deny risk.


The heart of the book is clever and the story has coherence/drama. It works well for children and adults.


If your board or team stops reading this book at the conclusion of the story, try this exercise: self-identify yourself as a bear, a red tail squirrel, a black tail squirrel, or a fox. Once that is done, have the others in the room write down how they perceive you on a confidential basis. Do you see yourself as others see you? And what does it mean to be a fox or a black tail squirrel?


The final chapter explicitly defines “what it all means.” And that is the most disappointing part of the book. It is too lite a book for realistic “answers.”


But that is not the purpose of this book.


This book is an easy and charming way to get a family, a board, or a team to confront this issue: “Are we asking the right questions when it comes to risk?



Gerard J. Donnellan

Boston: 2011, Gerard J. Donnellan

ISBN 1456379909

Regular Price: $21.05

Amazon/Board Options Softcover Price: $17.65

Amazon/Board Options Kindle Price: $18.99




Gerry Donnellan is a consulting psychologist and Brandeis University Adjunct Professor who specializes in working with family-dominated businesses.


External Board members who of such businesses have a fiduciary and moral responsibility to raise the issue most family members would prefer not to discuss: who leads the company once the current generation leaves?


Gerry tries to uses humor to make this complex issue accessible to the reader. But the issue itself is serious: Family dominated companies employ 60% of the U.S. working population but create 78% of new jobs. And only 30% make it past the founder stage. 3% will be operating at the 4th generation stage.


One of Gerry’s humorous lines is “denial is not just a River in Egypt.” To one extent of another, we all use denial as a defense mechanism.


Family dominated business CEOs who are in denial about their own mortality or are in denial about the leadership capacity/lack of capacity of offspring create conditions to insure that the family business becomes another negative statistic.


It is the role of the external Board member to raise succession issues at least five years before the issues need to be raised.


Managing the competing tension between business continuity and family stability is not for the feint of heart. Gerry Donnellan shows CEOs and Board members how to do this with humor and humility.


Larry Stybel

Board Options, Inc.



David Larcker and Brian Tayan

Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education FT Press, 2011

ISBN 978-0-13-218026-9

List Price: $59.99

Amazon/Board Options Price: $44.83




The authors work at the Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. David Larcker is James Irvin Miller Professor of Accounting. Brian Tayan is a member of the Corporate Governance Research Program. Some governance books are written from a legal perspective. Some books about boards are written from personal observations. Some publications are “Best Practice” guides.


This book is unique in that it is a dispassionate review of evidence based research in the field of corporate governance. It is designed for practitioners who are serious about understanding the complexity they must confront.


This is not a book to read cover to cover. It is a book for Board members and students of governance to have at the ready. When the appropriate topic presents itself to the reader, this book will provide a thorough overview and present relevant studies to the topic at hand.


In addition to the physical book, there are web based resources to keep the material fresh.


The good news about this book is that it is wise and comprehensive. There is no “one best way.” There is a presentation of different and sometimes conflicting research. Readers must be comfortable enough with themselves to draw their own conclusions from the evidence.


For example, the chapter on executive compensation covers internal inequity of CEO pay, the role of compensation consultants in creating high levels of CEO compensation, short term incentives, long term incentives, pay for performance, deferred payouts, performance-based stock options, etc. The authors manage to deal with these topics in almost a conversational tone and never get into preaching. They are informed guides and will show how reputable studies might contradict each other and why.


The structure of the book is suitable for practitioner Board members or for students taking a graduate course on corporate governance: Board of Director Duties; Board of Director Selection; Board Structure; Labor Market for CEOs and Succession Planning; Executive Compensation; Financial Reporting and Audit; Institutional Shareholders and Activist Investors; and Corporate Governance Ratings.


Larry Stybel

Board Options, Inc.

OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE: the twelve surprising trends that will reshape the global economy.


Daniel Altman

New York: Times Books Henry Holt & Company, 2011

ISBN 978-0-8050-9102-1

List Price: $25.00

Amazon/Board Options Price: $16.50




Daniel Altman received his doctorate in economics from Harvard University and teaches at the New York University Stern School of Business. He also is President of North Yard Economics. Altman previously wrote economics columns for THE ECONOMIST and then became an economic advisor for the British government dealing with crime and immigration.


Dr. Altman focuses on he calls “Deep Factors:” geography, climate, culture, politics, and historical accident. He views these factors and how they combine as having more long term impact than transitory matters such as tax rates, stock prices, currency fluctuations, and interest rates.


“Deep Factors” sounds rather academic. It isn’t. OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNES is one of the few books I desperately needed to re-read because out of fear of missing something important.


Here is my recommendation: organize a Board Retreat around OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE. Ask Board members to read the book before the Retreat. Get a moderator to lead a focused discussion about the implications of OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNES on the corporate strategy. Make sure you have an outsider lead the discussion so that no one person dominates.


Fear not: the 250 pages is a fast read. Daniel Altman may be an economist but he also is a journalist. Below are just some of the points he makes in OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNES:


Democratic countries will embrace left-leaning populist governments but will then shift to the right and then back to the left. These constant regime changes will slow economic growth-an unfortunate reality since growth is the only way to settle the political pendulums down.


China will get richer, and then it will get poorer again by 2050.


The European Union will disintegrate as an economic entity.


The United States will change its immigration policy to attract highly educated and well trained foreign workers. This will create massive brain drain the developing world. Inequality between countries will worsen.


The fundamental pillar of the United States’ success is its commercial culture: “selling power, the desire for self-improvement, the desire to be rich, and the desire to be a star.” No other country’s sales people are so accustomed to adapting and refining a sales pitch. Foreigners will want to come to the United States to learn how to sell. “The American way of selling may generate a large numbers of jobs.”


As globalization moves more people around the world, there will be more profits for middlemen: relocation firms, recruiters, outsourcing experts, lawyers, and even gangs who smuggle people. Middlemen will be the key to opening new opportunities to niche groups of target customers. Sellers in poor countries are unable to sell directly to rich countries. They require middlemen.


There will be “lifestyle hubs” of highly compensated, well educated professionals who chose to live and work in congenial places. These will include the familiar cities plus Vietnam, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Malaysia, Singapore, Argentina, Slovenia, Costa Rica, Uruguay, and Tunisia. Many of the inhabitants in these hubs will be educated foreigners. And this may polarize countries into wealthy lifestyle hubs and struggling traditional inhabitants who serve wealthy foreigners. The first touch points will first be within cities. There will be resentment and perhaps violence.


Globalization reduced inequality between countries but increased inequality within countries. That increase was the result of rich people getting richer rather than poor people getting poorer. The next round of inequality will work in the opposite direction: poor people will get poorer. Inequality will worsen within countries and across countries. The potential for resentment, hatred, and war will be much greater. And this will destabilize the global economy.


Political leadership will be an obstacle to solving national and global problems. “They have every incentive to aim for short –term wins rather than long-term gains and to go it alone rather than build coalitions.“ Don’t expect politicians to change the system in which they have been successful. Only grass roots efforts will work.


Yes, this indeed is dismal forecasting by a practitioner of the dismal science. But money can still be made!



Boris Groysberg

Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010

ISBN 978-1-4008-3438-9

List Price: $35.00

Amazon/Board Options Price: $21.76

You Save: 38%




Our client Boards constantly are asking us to find them “trophy” CEOs and asking us to bring them “name brand” Board members. We argue, “You want stars you better be prepared to pay for stars!”


Boris Groysberg of Harvard Business School asks a better question: you want stars? You assume that their star qualities are transferrable. Is that assumption valid?”


This book provides an empirical answer to Professor Graysberg’s profound question.


That answer is “no.”


To develop this answer, Groysberg look at a population called Wall Street investment analysts who work for investment banks. He looked at 1,000 investment analysts who had been ranked as superior by INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR MAGAZINE. He then compared this “star” group with 20,000 analysts at 400 investment banks who had not been ranked by INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR MAGAZINE.


If exceptional investment performance is a product of bright individuals, then when those bright individuals move from one investment bank to another, their ranks will remain constant or will leap back to high status after a short adjustment period.


It doesn’t work out that way.....


These high performing analysts tend to think of themselves as free agents with highly portable skills. Recruiters and hiring authorities like to believe the same. All parties tend to discount firm specific culture and firm specific skills that allow excellence to flourish and are difficult to transport.


I can certainly agree with Professor Groysberg’s conclusion that stars need onboarding when they move from one organization to another but they seldom believe they need it. They tend to put too high a premium on past experience and fail to appreciate the difficulty of unlearning learned patterns of behavior that were so successful in the past.


There are several lessons to be learned from this book.


Companies can reduce the illusion of portability of stardom by constantly letting their stars know that they are in a unique culture and have learned unique skills that won’t necessarily work well in other settings.


Hiring authorities can be skeptical of the confidence of stars’ ability to successfully move from one context to a new context without significant assistance in mastering “unlearning.” In other words, provide newly hired stars with a strong on boarding program. And then expect the stars to say that the program is not necessary.


The cliché “what got you here won’t get you there” turns out to be true for stars and the organizations that hire them.


Finally, don’t bet too heavily on trophy CEOs and trophy Directors. We all know the horror stories as anecdotes.


Now we have empirical evidence.




Larry Stybel



DIRTY ROTTEN STRATEGIES: how we trick ourselves and others into solving the wrong problems precisely.


Ian L. Mitroff & Abraham Silvers

Stanford, CA: Stanford Business Books, 2010

ISBN 978-0-8047-5996-0

Regular Price: $24.95

Amazon/Board Options Price: $16.47

You Save: 34%




These are two powerhouse authors: Mitroff is one of the great figures of 20th Century organization behavior. He is Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley. Abraham Silvers was Associate Professor of Statistics at the Baylor College of Medicine and now provides environmental statistical consulting services.


An interdisciplinary perspective pervades in this book.


If you purchase this book, be aware you are really buying two books. And the title gives away the problem as you will see in this review.


One book is superb.


The superb book is called HOW WE TRICK OURSELVES AND OTHERS INTO SOLVING THE WRONG PROBLEMS PRECISELY. The authors make the case that statistics only looks at Type 1 and Type 2 Errors. Type 1 Errors mean that the decision makers conclude that there is a meaningful difference when there is not. In other words, affirmatively getting the wrong answer. Type 2 Errors mean that decision makers conclude there is not a meaningful difference when there is. In other words, a failure to get it right.


Any leader will have at least an hour worth of Type 1 and Type 2 horror stories. We have all been victims. And we have all been perpetuators.


The authors then introduce a Type 3 Error: precisely solving the wrong problem.


This is a helpful perspective and a valuable one for Boards when they review strategy submitted by the CEO. Instead of asking, “Will it work?” Why not start with "are we looking at the right problem in the first place?"


Because Type 3 errors are part of the human condition, organizations can set up checks and balances to deal with it. For example, at the Board Level, meaningful Board of Director Self Evaluation does help the Board be aware of when its own group dynamics might cause it to logically and correctly solve the wrong problem.


We are all imperfect creatures and are prone to Type 3 Errors.


Ah, but then there is that second book.


It begins with the discussion of Type Four Errors: deliberate manipulation of data to cause leaders to solve the wrong problem precisely. They say it is due to “self-righteousness, overzealousness, malice, and narrow ideology.” In other words, dirty rotten scoundrels contribute to DIRTY ROTTEN STRATEGIES.


This second book clearly is driven by the authors’ own ideology and lack of historical perspective. They are out of their league. There is nothing new in Type 4 errors except the commonsense notion that people do manipulate information to suit their advantage. Is that news?


This second book has vitriol but lacks depth or practical solutions.


I want to emphasize that the first book is admirable. Too bad you can’t buy one without getting the other.




Larry Stybel



DILEMMAS, DILEMMAS: Practical Case Studies for Company Directors.


Julie Garland McLellan, (Ed.)

Charlestown, SC: Createspace,2010

ISBN 978-1449-92196-5

Regular Price: $35.00





Full Disclosure Alert: I am one of the forty-five contributors in this book.


Julie Garland McLellan is a professional non-executive member of Boards of Directors. She also consults with companies on governance matters and is based in Australia. Julie is the author of "The Directors’s Dilemma," a global email newsletter written for directors. You can subscribe at


DILEMMAS, DILEMMAS presents twenty-two small cases or vignettes. Each case is based on a real incident with names disguised. Each case frames a governance dilemma that has no "right" answer but could be handled in a variety of ways.


For example, the first case in the series is called "Melissa" and it is about what does a Board do when one of its members is leaking confidential information.


After each case, one or two or three contributors provide their perspectives. Sometimes the editor joins in and provides a contribution as well. There is also space for the reader to write down observations and analysis.


PP 12-13 present the name of each case plus the substantive governance issue addressed by the case.


The simplicity of the book’s structure is appealing and the variety of perspectives provided is also helpful.


I see three values of this book, beyond the obvious one of individual board members reading it:




From a board of directors education perspective, I could see value in taking 1-2 cases and using it as a platform to get the board engaged in a particular issue. This allows Board members to talk with each other outside the confines of the urgent problems of the day while learning more about governance matters. This technique could be an in-house Board education program conducted for one hour a year every year.




We do Board retained searches. It will present candidates with 1-2 cases and see how they respond. This allows us to compare/contrast using a reliable technique with high face validity. It would really assist in helping go beyond the careful façade crafted by candidates during interviews and gives a mirror into candidates’ logic.




These cases are excellent ice breakers for an educational program centered on ,"So You Want to Be on a Board??," Many professional associations offer such programs.


Julie has contributed to the practice and to the art of governance in this carefully crafted and thoughtful book. Bravo!




Larry Stybel

Boston, Massachusetts




OUTLIERS: The Story of Success.


Malcom Gladwell

New York: Little Brown & Company, 2008

ISBN 978-0-316-03669-6

Regular Price: $27.99





Three blocks from our office in Boston is the spot where Benjamin Franklin was born and played as a child. Franklin is the American icon of the Self Made Man we so admire today. His story is that those with ability and willingness to work hard can change the world. Don’t be defeated by humble origins, lack of money, or lack of education.


Beyond a threshold of innate ability, hard work may be more important.


Author Malcom Gladwell argues that those who are successful put in at last 10,000 hours of practice into their art or craft. He shows how the 10,000 hour rule applies for Mozart, the Beatles, and Bill Gates.


Gladwell also argues that there is more to success than ability and hard work.


There is cultural heritage. In the case of Jewish and Chinese culture, it has provided a clear advantage in American society.


There are other random factors that contribute to success: what month you were born, what year you were born, whether your parents encouraged you to strive, whether your parents had money, etc.


From a Board of Directors perspective, it should caution those who get involved in CEO and Board selection not to be too infatuated with impressive resumes. And not to overpay someone because he/she was smart enough to be born in a certain year or a certain month.


From a social policy perspective, this book gives hope that perhaps success is not about Great Men and Women. There are positive factors that can be engineered to contribute to success. The KIPP Academy, discussed in the book, for example, takes poor urban children and makes them work as hard as Chinese Rice Farmers---with dramatically positive results.


And those of you whom society regards as "successful," read this book and prepare to feel humbled.


Your success is the gift of cultural legacies you barely comprehend, accidents of birth, and random events you had the good sense to seize on.


One last comment: there is a chapter about Geert Hofstede’s research on how culture shapes personality. In particular, there is a full discussion about one dimension called Power Distance. Those cultures with high Power Distance or respect for power tend to have more airline fatalities than cultures with low Power Distance. It is a fascinating discussion. But it also has implications for those of us concerned with quality control and ethics in business. The steps an American CEO of Korean Airlines took to reduce Power Distance within his Korean employees are well worth reading. Companies with operations in different parts of the world will find this chapter of greatest value. What does it have to do with the book’s basic theme of success? It really has nothing to do with it. The entire chapter could have been eliminated. We suspect he put it in because he thought it was important.


It is important. Read it.




Larry Stybel & Maryanne Peabody





John Zogby

New York: Random House, 2008.

ISBN 978-1-4000-6450-3

Regular Price: $26.00





John Zogby’s company conducts research for organizations such as Coca Cola, Microsoft, CISCO Systems, and the U.S. Census Bureau. This book is a non technical summary of his findings about the changes he is seeing among younger U.S. citizens that will permanently alter how companies manage employees and how they structure their relationships with customers.


The older cohort of the American population is still comfortable thinking about Red States versus Blue States, and the supremacy of materialistic fulfillment as the core mission of human destiny and economic systems.


This older cohort is being replaced by a young cohort that sees the world in a very different way.


And their world IS very different:


They do not have the same upward mobility expectations as their parents.


They see the world as global and interconnected and not through a nationalistic prism.


They have no confidence that they will achieve the materialistic gains of their parents or grandparents.


Zogby coins the term "secular spiritualists" to define the values of America’s Youth. And these values should continue into their adulthood.


Eighteen to 29 olds actually care about more them just themselves.


They seek common ground on tough social issues and are not attracted to politicians who try to divide the electorate.


They are easy to reach because for them everything is in the public domain.


They buy in accordance with their values. That means give good value and get back to basics.


They seek more meaning and more value rather than more doctrine.


They have a generous giving nature.


One in four is working at jobs that pay less than their previous work. They reject materialism.


They respect humility and the willingness to apologize for mistakes.


They expect companies to first treat employees with respect.


This is a great book to read as part of a board retreat and then engage in a discussion of how the company ought to reach investors and customers of tomorrow. My implication of this book is that the investors who will directly dominate through stocks and indirectly dominate through fund ownership will respect companies focusing on long term growth rather than quarterly stock pops. Being an icon of product quality and ethical treatment of customers/employees will be part of the buying calculation. If I am right, considering these issues could be a fruitful 30 minute agenda item every two years. And if the Board’s values become part of the CEO’s compensation structure, there is a chance for institutionalization of these values.




Larry Stybel





Ram Charan

San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009.

ISBN 978-0-470-39767-1

Regular Price: $29.97

Board Options/Amazon Price: $15.66




Ram Charan’s Harvard Business School doctoral thesis was on Boards of Directors. For nearly four decades, he has continued to expand and to deepen in this area of expertise. He works with boards on board self-evaluations, CEO evaluations, and director succession planning. Charan also serves on the Board of at least one major public company.


Former CEO of DuPont Jack Krol describes this book as both practical and wise.


My own sense is that people will have one of two reactions to this book: (1) concise, focused, and on target and (2) vague and idealistic. For example, Charan states that "the role of the board has changed forever. ‘Governance’ now means leadership, not just over-the-shoulder monitoring and passive approvals." If you think that is an easy concept, then you have not been doing a lot of board work recently!


Charan raises a number of thoughtful questions. Question #1 "is our board composition right for the challenge?" And his response is that in too many instances, the answer is "no." Boards tend to over focus on functional/industry expertise and systematically overlook over factors. Charan provides a useful Director Skill Matrix for the benefit of the Nominating & Governance Committee.


We think people who lack significant board experience will find this book abstract and preachy. Those with board experience who also find the book abstract and preachy are probably the same board members who waste too much time talking about how great things used to be before Sarbanes-Oxley. Those with significant board experience and who are thinking about the future will find this book provocative and challenging.




Larry Stybel & Maryanne Peabody

Board Options, Inc.

Tel. 617 594 7627

"Specialists to Nominating & Governance Committees on Board Talent"





Jeff Jarvis

New York: Collins Business, 2009.

ISBN 978-0-06-170971-5






THE fundamental value Boards of Directors have for shareholders is to hold management accountable for having appropriate answers to the following questions:


            What Business Are We In Today and Over the Next Three Years?

            Who Are Our Customers Today and Over the Next Three Years?

            Who Are Our Competitors Today and Over the Next Three Years

            How Do We Make Money Today and Over the Next Three Years?


If the answers to these questions are satisfactory, then the Board holds the CEO accountable for delivering results based on the answers to the above questions.


WHAT WOULD GOOGLE DO by Howard Jarvis gives Board members and CEOs reason to question if yesterday’s answers will stand up to tomorrow’s business model.


The premise of the book is that Google has a different business model from the business model we all learned in Business School. Fail to grasp that model at your peril. For example:


In the service business, you eventually take the form of the customers you work for. If you want to change, go get a new breed of clients. Google began its life as an advertising agency for companies that normally would not use advertising agencies. Eventually the advertising agencies played the rules Google set.


Is money being made through the side door or the front door? Google gives the “front door” away for free and then makes money on the side. How many companies try to make money all the time from every product/service, only to find that they have angry customers who tell other prospective customers to stay away?


Your worst customer is your best friend. Invest the effort in learning the social tools that allow customers to tell you what you should be producing. The goal is not customer satisfaction. The goal is products that people love. If they will love it they will tell the world. This is called Apple Love. And in a highly networked world, it is easy for customers to demonstrate Apple Love. Your customers are your new advertising resource.


Hand over your brand to your customers. They have always owned it. Don’t tell them what your brand is all about. Ask them what it means to them.




Does this sound complex and abstract? It sure is for me!


Jarvis has several cute chapters showing what other company business models might look like by embracing Google’s business model. These companies include airlines, real estate, banks, hospitals, insurance, and universities.


Google’s business model is complex and organized around clichés like the ones cited above. Google did not break the old rules. It just ignored the old rules and established new rules. Some of these rules are:


Customers are now in charge. They can find their peers anywhere in the world. Your choice is will they coalesce around you or against you?


The control of products and distribution routes no longer guarantees a premium or a profit. Enabling customers to collaborate with you is the premium in today’s market.


Grow big networks that extract as little value from customers as possible so that you can grow it as big as possible.




I understand Yahoo. I understand AOL. But I also understand that their business model is no longer the future.


I can’t quite grasp Google after the first reading.


This is a book I plan to read again……slowly.


I suggest you read it twice yourself and then have a Board Retreat to discuss the implications of the Google Business Model for your company business. The chances are that your CEO will not want this discussion to take place.


And that predicted reluctance is even more reason why it should take place.


Larry Stybel





Jim Champy

Upper Saddle River, NJ: FT Press, 2008.

ISBN 0-13-235777


Amazon/Board Options Price: $15.63




Jim Champy is an MIT-educated business leader who co-founded Index Systems in 1969 and grew it into a $240 million company. He currently is Chairman of Consulting for Perot Systems.


Champy knows a few things about growing a company.


He is also knows how to write clearly and compellingly. His first book, Reengineering the Corporation, discussed the importance of having business processes perspective. It is a classic in the field.


This book begins with the identification of "outsmarters:" companies that growing 15% or more a year for the past three or more years. From an initial pool of 1,000 high velocity businesses, companies that were just lucky or riding an industry trend were eliminated.


The companies that remained were investigated to see what m made these companies unique.


The book is a series of stories of some of these companies and lessons learned. They range from 155 year old gun maker Smith & Wesson to MinuteCare Clinics.


The stories are well worth reading and well written.


From a Board perspective, there would be value in having Board members and C Suite executives all read the book at the same time and then addresses the following issue: is our company more or less like the Outsmarters in Champy’s book?


A few vignettes:


Companies that outsmart competitors focus on how to better serve customers, while other companies focus doing better than the competition.


Companies that outsmart accept risk as a normal part of doing business, instead of allowing fear of risk to paralyze decisions.


Companies that outsmart have corporate cultures that value innovation and place a premium on quickly turning ideas into action: try it out, test it out, and move on if it doesn’t work.


Companies that outsmart use corporate culture to manage employee behavior versus an emphasis on policies and management control systems.


Laurence J. Stybel





Charles Handy

NY: AMACOM, 2008.







Charles Handy has had a most interesting professional life. His roles have included global executive with an oil company; academic administrator who developed a framework for business education for Britain; head of a think tank based in one of the Queen's official residences, a commentator on life for the BBC Radio, and a best selling author. This is a man worth getting to know


The book's title is accurate. While the basic framework is Handy's life story, it really is a platform for his much broader discussion about capitalism and where it is going.


To cite one concrete example, Charles Handy coined the term "Shamrock Organization" to refer to the structure of the corporation of post industrial Capitalism. One leaf of the Shamrock is a core of full time employees. The other leaves are interim employees brought in for project assignments (think temporary retail employees brought in around Christmas) and specialists brought in to solve complex problems beyond the time/competence of the full time team. This Shamrock Organization has three leaves. I think most of us would recognize that there is actually a fourth leaf in the Shamrock: suppliers who so readily integrate themselves into the company, it is hard to distinguish them from the core employee group. Think of the people who sell mobile phones at Staples or Costco. They are not part of the organization and yet they are part of it. Handy pointed out the Shamrock organization yeas ago and gave it a name. He said that within the Shamrock, who lives on what leaf of the Shamrock is terribly important. But the customer only sees the entire Shamrock and doesn't care about the individual leaves. The implication about Handy's acute observations are still not effectively dealt with by corporations. Most talent management policies focus only on the full time employee group while ignoring the others components. If indeed the customer only sees the entire Shamrock, who should be invited to the company picnic? Who should be eligible for bonuses?


Another Handy gem for Board consideration is to ask, "If this product or service did not exist, would we invent it today?" I find that a simple and powerful question.


Let me quote the following paragraph about the use of cliché's to drive business:


            "The language organizations have invented for themselves is pretentious, unrelated to what actually happens on the ground. Every organization claims that they care deeply for its customer, although you might be dubious if you are still trying to get to their helpline after forty minutes. Every organization proclaims that their employees are their most previous asset, even while making swathes of them redundant. Every business is committed to excellence and to aiming for world-class even though research suggests that only a tiny few achieve it. Then there are the pseudo-technical terms that make the obvious seem clever: core competencies, JIT, 360 Feedback, CRM."


I could go on and on and on. You get the picture.


Now get this book.


Laurence J. Stybel

Board Options, Inc.



EXECUTING YOUR STRATEGY: how to break it down and get it done.


Mark Morgan et al

Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2007




ISBN 978-1-59139-956-8



Mark Morgan is Chief Learning Officer at IP Solutions, Raymond Levitt is Professor at Stanford University's Engineering School, and William Malek is Strategy Execution Officer for Strategy2 Reality. LLC. The three authors are associated with the Stanford University Advanced Project Management Program (APM).


The authors point out that the business landscape is littered with expensive, well-intentioned strategies. The authors believe that leaders overestimate their company's ability to make the day-to-day operational changes necessary to implement the vision. The authors state:


            "Executives have a tendency to think this kind of work as being too "tactical" to take up their precious time. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some executives get this, but too many don't."


The authors argue that the "journey from boardroom to marketplace must pass through project management." The rest of the book provides a structure to link strategy with day-to-day operations management. Cases are presented to illustrate their concepts.


This is a great business journal article that has been blown up to become a forgettable book.


I would urge the authors to write an article (not a book please!!) about what needs to be done at the Board of Director level to insure that shareholder money is being spent in ways that are advance a few key strategic goals approved by the Board. For example, the audit committee does look to see if money is being spent prudently. To the best of my knowledge, it doesn't ask itself "Here Are Five Strategic Goals and Here Are Seventy Discrete Projects. How do these Seventy Projects Advance the Strategic Goals?"



Laurence J. Stybel

Board Options, Inc.





John Naisbitt

Regular Price: $24.95

Board Options/ Price: $15.72


ISBN 978-0-06-113866-7



John Naisbitt is the popular business thinker who helps leaders understand what comes next. In MEGATRENDS, he spoke about "high tech/high touch" being key for success in the future. In GLOBAL PARADOX he warned that the reality of a global market will set off a simultaneous increase in tribalism.


In this book, Naisbitt is less concerned with predicting the future but in disclosing the way he thinks through the information he reads:


            "Mindsets work like fixed stars in our heads. Holding on to them, our mind finds orientation. They keep it on course and guide it safely to its destination."


There are eleven mindsets in the book. But the premier one is "Understand how powerful it is not to have to be right." I find that easy to say.


My favorite Mindset is "While Many Things change, Most Things Remain Constant." Leaders can be driven into hysteria by the drumbeat of change, change, change. Naisbitt does acknowledge that actually fads, fashion, and technology do change dramatically. But most of the core goals of people's lives remain constant. Most change is in how we do what we do. The reasons why we do what we do tend to be as stable as men's fashion. Home, family, and work are the great constants. The rhythm of life is still determined primarily by the seasons. As leaders are we reacting to temporary fads or responding to true trends.


One true trend is that professional sports will be the framework for talent management in business And local sports teams seek the best talent on the planet On opening day of the 2006 baseball season, 30% of all major-league players were foreign-born In the minor leagues, 50% of the players are foreign born The 2005 National Basketball Association champions were the San Antonio Spurs Seven of its 12 man team were not from the United States Outsourcing of talent is not just about shipping low wage jobs overseas There will be "amazing opportunities" for talented individuals to serve on a global basis And there will be "amazing opportunities" for small to medium sized firms to be outsourced providers to large companies.



Laurence J. Stybel



John Hegel and John Seely Brown. THE ONLY SUSTAINABLE EDGE: why business strategy depends on productive friction and dynamic specialization.  Boston: Harvard Business School, 2005.

Reg. Price: $25.00

Board Options/Amazon Price: $16.50


ISBN 1-59139-720-0



John Hagel is a Senior Advisor at McKinsey & Company.  For two decades, John Seely Brown was Executive Director of the legendary Palo Alto Research Center.  The authors argue that the only sustainable edge is to generate shareholder value through constant innovation.  Current approaches to strategic thinking are inadequate to the task.


The book has one irritating quality and one large value for Board members.


This is a small booked packed with lots of ideas.  I was distracted by the use of “new words” to describe old concepts.  It is almost as though the authors are trying to invent a new vocabulary using concepts that could be best explained in plain English.  Examples of this business psychobabble include “radical incrementalism,” ”performance fabrics,” “process networks,” and “productive friction.”   These are really not new concepts but they have invented new words.  I want to read a business book that would help me improve my company’s effectiveness.  I didn’t sign up to learn a new language.


The good news is that Boards and CEOs ought to carefully consider their matrixed approach to talking about strategy.  They call this matrixed approach “dynamic specialization.”    


The current fad is to talk about business models organized along industry lines.  The authors argue that industry focus is insufficient for a proper conversation about strategy.  Within that industry-focused model, there needs to be a second strategic focus. 


They see this new strategic focus along three dimensions:


            Infrastructure Management.  Financial services, pharmaceuticals, and the computer industry are already structured in significant ways along these lines.  State Street Corporation is an example of a company that services the financial services industry but its value clearly revolves around infrastructure management. UPS revolves around infrastructure management of logistics.  An infrastructure management theme works well for relatively routine, high volume business activities.


Product Innovation.  Specialized biotech companies are taking on more of R&D activities so that large pharmaceutical companies can focus on scale intensive manufacturing and distribution.  There are specialty design shops that serve the fashion industry.  There are specialty semiconductor design shops that serve the electronics industry.


Customer Relationship.  These firms concentrate on identifying target customer segments, getting to know that segment very well, and using its resources to mobilize third party products and services to address the needs of their customers.  Physicians who practice general medicine, financial planners, real estate agents, and attorneys all provide this framework.  Accenture is a company with this type of framework.


From a strategic perspective, most companies today like to say that they do all three types of services within their walls.  But each approach requires different economics, different skills, and different cultures.  When Boards accept the CEOs notion that all three models are appropriate in the strategic mix, the inevitable implication is sub optimization of one or all of these strategies. 


This sub optimization increases company vulnerability to its more focused competitors.



Laurence J. Stybel





Jeswald W. Salacuse

New York: AMACOM, 2006

ISBN 0-8144-0855-9




YOU SAVE:  $9.50 (34%)


Jeswald Salacuse is Professor of Law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.  From 1986-1994, Professor Salacuse served as The Fletcher School’s Dean.  He also served as Dean of the School of Law at Southern Methodist University.  In addition to his role as a higher education leader, he is a specialist on international negotiation and international law.  Dr. Salacuse is an independent director of several mutual funds and a member of the Steering Committee of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.


Much of today’s literature on leadership use sports or military analogies.  Indeed successful Generals and Coaches often command premium speaker fees to speak to leaders about leadership.  The presumption is that there is a technique that can be used to “inspire” “mobilize” “energize” and “direct” players to work together for the sake of the team.


Such programs can indeed be of value in hierarchical work systems.


But what about law firms, investment banks, accounting firms, physician practices, Boards of Directors, consulting firms, higher education and research organizations?  Do these military-type models of leadership work?


Dr. Salacuse argues that leaders in professionals firms must “lead leaders” and not “troops” or “employees” or “players.”  By leaders, he refers to people who have an independent power base outside their organizational roles. That power base might be the marketability of their own talents, their network of contacts, their stature within their professions, their wealth, their ability to access clients/funding sources.


This book asks how can a leader lead leaders?


Dr. Salacuse employs political metaphors rather than military or sports analogies to make practical points.  He reasons that politics is the art of managing other leaders who have their own power base and are not necessarily dependent on the leader.


He has a fascinating chapter on “the medium sends the message” and uses the different managerial approaches of President George H.W. Bush versus President George W. Bush to illustrate the concept.  In organizing a coalition to go to war against Iraq, George H.W. Bush spent considerable time on 1:1 discussions with the phone with leaders.  He appealed to the unique interests of each leader one at a time and used the phone as the primary communications tool and himself as the primary communicator.  In seeking to form an alliance to go to war with Iraq, George W. Bush, on the other hand, delegated much of the communications role to others.  He used broad appeals without customizing the message 1:1.  Dr. Salacuse argues that the father represents the model for how to engage other leaders while the son represents the model for how not to do it.


In my own experience with CEOs who get fired by their Boards of Directors, I often find that these CEOs saw 1:1 conversations with Board members as side-track issues that prevented them from managing their companies.  They often did not find the time valuable and it showed in their dealings with Board members. They preferred 1:1 chats with the Chairperson combined with memos and reports to everyone else on the Board.  They felt that they could inspire the group at Board meetings rather than to use the Board meeting to ratify what had been worked out quietly in 1:1 conversations.


Dr. Salacuse has a fascinating chapter on how to make stars into a team.  As a good negotiator he turns the topic upside down and asks leaders to first look at the issue from the perspective of the professions within the organization:  how much should I allow integration to happen and how much should I allow this integration to damage my professional goals?  This is the followers’mdilemma.  And leaders of professional service firms need to explicitly address making stars into teams by looking at the followers’ dilemma first.


There are practical leadership suggestions for dealing with talented spoilers and how to constantly remind people about their common organizational history.


Laurence J. Stybel, Ed.D.


Tel. 617 594 7627


Thomas C. Schelling.  THE STRATEGY OF CONFLICT.  Boston: Harvard Press, 1980


ISBN 0-674-84031-3



The 2005 Nobel Prize for Economics was awarded to Robert Aumann and Thomas C. Schelling.  Schelling is professor of Economics at the University of Maryland and applied game theory to conflict.  His focus was on the weapons issues but his ideas have been applied to a host of business issues.


            In this review, we will apply some of Shelling’s concepts to how companies fire employees.


            Schelling says “uncertain retaliation is more efficient than certain retaliation” when bargaining and “the capability to retaliate is more useful than the ability to defend.”  Now let’s get practical.


                                    GOODBYE SCENARIO


            As a verb, “goodbye” is the act of parting.  It is also an acknowledgement of parting.  A goodbye scenario assumes that once employees physically leave the building, they will never be a factor for the company’s future.  The relationship was transactional and the transaction is now over. 


            If the firm defines the termination as a goodbye scenario, the firm should be guided by a business model that says, “What’s the least expensive way of terminating this relationship?”  And Board members should ask tough questions about paying too much.


                                    AUWIEDERSEHEN SCENARIO


            “Auwiedersehen” is German for “Until we meet again.”  It has a more open-ended quality than the English “goodbye.”  In an auwiedersehen scenario, the assumption is that once employees physically leave the building, they may continue to be a factor in the firm’s future.  But it is unclear what that factor may be.


After their non-compete contracts are over, they may join a smaller competitor and become potential allies or opponents in your firm’s efforts to develop strategic alliances or acquire the firm. 


They may join firms that touch your industry and become potential referral sources of new business for you or a potential source of caution to others about using your company.


They may attend alumni programs at their schools and encourage/discourage graduates from joining your firm.


Each of these scenarios assumes capability of retaliation plus uncertainty of retaliation.  


The best practical defense in terminating employees under these conditions is “Treat  people with dignity on the way out because the assured costs of such positive treatment are less than the potential downside retaliatory risks.


                        AUWIEDERSEHEN VS IT’S NICE TO BE NICE


            We work with companies that treat departing leaders with dignity

on the grounds that  “it is good public relations and good for morale if we help former employees achieve a  “soft landing.”  This positive rationale works only in cultures supportive of such a rationale. 


            The Schelling rationale does not depend on an organizion having a specific culture for treating people with dignity. 


            It develops a contingency approach to management based on a risk assessment.


There may be times when a “goodbye” scenario does indeed make good sense.  There are other times when “auwiedersehen” makes better economic sense.


In applying Professor Schelling’s theories, management’s failure to take defensive measures with those possessing abilities and options to retaliate is just bad economics.  One sees it at work every day.




Maryanne Peabody and Laurence J. Stybel are co-founders of Stybel Peabody Lincolnshire. Its mission is to assist organizations in managing critical leadership transitions when the stakes are high. Their website is and


Donald N. Sull. REVIVAL OF THE FITTEST: why good companies go bad and how great managers remake them.


Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2003

ISBN 1-57851-993-4






Donald Sull is Associate Professor of Management at London Business School. 


Leadership is about making commitments and seeing them through.


There are two dangers with commitment making.  The first danger is that the commitments fail.  Sull argues that the second danger is that the commitment succeeds.  A series of successful commitments can be bundled up in what Sull calls a company’s success formula.  In an every changing world, leaders must guard against being prisoners of their own success formulas. 


The most interesting part of this book is his creative pairing of similar companies in similar industries who took different paths of either honoring or destroying their success formulas.  The stories of Firestone versus Goodyear in the tire industry have extraordinary value for us today and are well worth reading.


What does this mean for those who serve on Boards of Directors?




Boards want to hire champions.  Champions are bred to be decisive and self-confident. They love making commitments and seeing them through.


As Donald Sull argues, when champions make commitments you have a double edge problem.  It is predictable that champions will have difficulty admitting that their commitments no longer fit the times.  Indeed this trait is so predictable I called it the LBJ Effect in honor of the American President who escalated commitment to a failing war once it became clear that the war could not be won.





1.  Good CEOs are champions. Champions believe in themselves and their commitments. 


2. In the absence of a strong countervailing force, some CEO Champions will rigidly hold on to what Sull calls the success formula when it ought to be thrown away.  We even take the more extreme position that in the absence of a strong countervailing force, champions will pour more resources into an inappropriate success formula.


3.  This strong countervailing force is called the Board of Directors.





At a cultural level, the LBJ Effect can be fought by the board insisting on a culture where it is acceptable to fail, to learn from mistakes, and to try again. It is a culture where "mid course correction" is not necessarily a sin and "stick-to-itness" is not necessarily a virtue.


Perhaps the most famous example of a corporate culture that supports this notion is Johnson & Johnson. On the desks of most executives within the J&J organization is a framed one-page document called, "Our Credo."


            The J&J Credo is a series of principles that govern management decisions:


When there was a concern that a batch of Tylenol had been poisoned, a division manager unilaterally ordered all bottles of Tylenol off the U.S. market. That action was taken without consulting corporate headquarters. It was justified to management on the basis of the credo. Senior management at J&J backed the local manager and the employees were enormously proud of it.


This use of a corporate values statement is not unique at J&J. We have consulted at other companies with credos. And some of these companies had problems as severe as the Tylenol crisis. But in no other company would a middle level manager make a major decision based on an esoteric company principle. With respect to failure, the J&J Credo states:


"Employees must feel free to make suggestions and complaints....We must experiment with new ideas. Research must be carried on, innovative programs developed, and mistakes paid for."


In other words, failure is not "bad." It is part of the necessary price for being innovative.


                                    Board Influencing Tactics


Boards seeking to influence CEOs to make mid-course corrections have a semantic problem. Leaders must be convinced that mid-course corrections will not be labeled as "indecisive" or "waffling."  Such negative words are inconsistent with a positive sense of self. On the other hand, adaptability in the face of changing circumstances is consistent with a positive self-concept.


             Some CEOs deride Sarbanes Oxley as an example of legislative overkill.  They say that it will move the board/CEO relationship into an adversarial stance.  Such a stance will only harm shareholders and waste resources.  Sull’s perspective is powerful people are only too human.  And they are all too human in predictable ways.


A valid checks and balances system should keeps the LBJ Effect from getting out of hand and help companies decide when it is time to destroy their own success formula before competition does it for them.  





Maryanne Peabody and Laurence J. Stybel,Ed.D. are co-founders of Board Options, Inc. Its mission is to increase Board effectiveness through the application of practical behavioral Science. (


Jack Uldrich. SOLDIER, STATESMAN, PEACEMAKER: leadership lessons from George C. Marshall.  


New York: AMACON, 2005

ISBN 0814408575







This review was written by F. Gorham Brigham, Jr.   Mr. Brigham served in General Marshall's Office from September 1940 until November 1945, the critical Word War II period.


I am an avid reader of books written about General Marshall.  Mr. Uldrich did a remarkable job in bringing out the key incidents of this remarkable leader.  What makes the book exciting are the examples.  The author relates how Marshall's skills can relate to today's managers.  Most of us like to believe we live in dynamic times and perhaps we do.  Few of have been critical leaders in the most dynamic period in America's history.  This book is well worth managers' time as General George C. Marshall continues to be a role model for leaders of today.




LINKING MISSION TO MONEY: Finance for nonprofit board members.


Allen J. Proctor


Columbus, Ohio: The Academy for Leadership & Governance, 2004


ISBN 0-9706039-4-0








Telephone: 614-228-7444



This small book is designed for non-financial types who serve on Boards of nonprofit companies. The author has impressive credentials to be providing such advice.  He was Chief Financial Officer of Harvard University and Executive Director of the New York State Financial Control Board.  This was the body that was brought in to oversee New York City when it went into receivership.  He is a national figure in the area of nonprofit governance and taught at Harvard University as well as Columbia University. 

The book provides a balance between the conceptual and the practical while not drowning in numbers.  That is an impressive accomplishment for a book about finance.

At the conceptual level, the author says that core role of a nonprofit is to provide a sustainable set of services.  And yet there is always the pressure to expand services:

The dilemma of sustainability versus growth pervades the nonprofit world and you have to decide early on how your organization will deal with it.  Is it better to provide a service and then suspend it when finances are tight?  Or is it better not to provide the service at all?  If you grow and later cannot sustain your service, you may jeopardize the survival of your organization.  But expansion shouldn’t be a four-letter word.

At the practical level, the book contains a number of financial forms that are useful for Board members, including a form for separating continuing expenses versus initiative expenses.  There is also a cogent discussion about why the Board’s Treasurer should NOT be a financial expert.

Many readers serve on Boards of both for profit and nonprofit organizations.  This is an excellent reference book.


Norman Augustine and Kenneth Adelman

New York: Hyperion Books, 1999

ISBN 0-7868-6601-2



Norman Augustine was CEO of Martin Marietta, Chairman of Lockheed Martin Corporation and served on the Boards of Procter & Gamble, Black & Decker, and Phillips Petroleum. Kenneth Adelman is former ambassador to the U.N. and U.S. Arms Control Director. These savvy and practical leaders use this small, clever book for a discourse on the nature of leadership. The platform they use is that keen observer of human nature—William Shakespeare.

The use of The Bard as a platform is clever at two levels. Many of us know Shakespeare’s characters. But we only know them in the context of our own vision. Looking at the same characters through two different and highly perceptive sets of eyes is both educational and entertaining. For example, Claudius is now perceived as an outstanding role model for leadership during times of crisis rather than a supreme villain who kills his brother. Shylock presents the example of someone who lets emotion get in the way of solid business judgment and over-reaches.

There is a second level where the selection of Shakespeare as a platform is both clever and useful.

Most modern books on management are often simplistic in content and often do not deal with the complexities of human nature. Shakespeare’s characters, by contrast, are complex, contradictory, and fascinating. Yes, Claudius is the very model of a crisis management leader. He is a very sympathetic, guilt-ridden figure. And he also is a murderer. In the play “Hamlet,” the public is said to adore the hero. Hamlet punishes the guilty at the end of the play. To get to this point, however, he also kills the innocent. And he kills them without remorse. How many leaders do you know where there is a chasm between public image and private conduct?

The authors are not content to focus on Shakespeare. At every turn, they show how their concepts are illustrated by leaders of modern enterprises, large and small.

Ken Adelman now teaches Shakespeare on management in Washington, D.C. I wish I could audit his course! 

Laurence J. Stybel,Ed.D. 


PAY WITHOUT PERFORMANCE: the unfulfilled promise of executive compensation.


Lucian Bebchuk and Jesse Fried.

Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004

ISBN 0-674-01665-3






YOU SAVE:  34%


In his letter to Berkshire Hathaway investors in 2004, Warren Buffett wrote:


In judging whether Corporate America is serious about reforming itself, CEO pay remains the acid test.  To date, the results aren’t encouraging.



PAY WITHOUT PERFORMANCE expands on Buffett’s comments and provides a research base to support it.  The authors also suggests what needs to be done to effectively deal with this “acid test” of corporate reform.


Lucian Bebchuck is the William J. Friedman and Alicia Townsend Friedman Professor of Law, Economics, and Finance at the Harvard University School of Law.  He is also a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research.  Bebchuck has a doctorate in economics from Harvard and a law degree from Harvard.  Jesse Fried is Professor of Law at the Boalt School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley.  Prior to his academic career, he practiced tax law in Boston.  Fried holds degrees in economics and law from Harvard University. 


The authors argue that Sarbanes Oxley reforms may have marginally improved the independence of Boards from CEOs.  But Board members are still not dependent enough upon the shareholders they are supposed to represent.  This dysfunctionality in the system makes it impossible for Compensation Committees to conduct true “arms length” compensation discussions with CEOs.


The result is a CEO compensation system that tends to verbalize pay for performance without actually achieving it for CEOs.   


When CEO pay is uncoupled from performance, Board members seek to avoid having to pay “outrage costs” from the shareholders.  One of the ways of avoiding paying “outrage costs” is to make it difficult for the average shareholder to truly understand the level of CEO compensation and how that level is unrelated to corporate performance.  The authors call these techniques compensation “camouflage.” 


The authors are quite clear in describing examples and providing research to support their ideas.


They propose remedies that focus on two themes: tying CEO compensation to real corporate performance and tying Boards to shareholders.


With respect to tying CEO compensation to real corporate performance, they would seek to remove “windfall” and “rising tide” factors from CEO bonus/option payments.  Windfall factors involve one-time rises in shareholder value.  An example might include a sharp rise in stock value because the CEO makes a decision to downsize or receives a large payment from the successful settlement of a law-suit.  Another windfall factor might be allowing accounting for revenue to move from one quarter to the next so that the stock will look like it is rising at a steeper angle.  “Rising tide” factors would factor out increases in CEO compensation because an average company is benefiting from average industry growth that impacts all average players.  These issues merit serious consideration from Compensation Committees.  And Warren Buffet is correct in his assessment that most Boards have thus far failed the “acid test.”


With respect to tying Boards to shareholders, the authors would terminate staggered Board elections.  They would have the entire Board be up for election at the same time. I am reasonably sure that the authors’ remedy here would be worse than the disease they are seeking to cure. 


A Board of Directors is a work group that is supposed to be thoughtful and deliberative in nature.  Their proposal would make the Board a far more responsive body at the expense of thoughtfulness.  To make an analogy, the U.S. Senate is a more effective deliberative body because it is less subject to the passions of the moment.  And it is less subject to the passions of the moment because only 33% of its members are up for election every two years.  The U.S. House of Representative is far less effective as a deliberative body.  And one of the reasons is that all members are accountable to the voters every two years.


Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with their analysis, their key theme deserves consideration:  if Boards allow CEO pay to be unrelated to corporate performance, it is important to define the problem correctly.  The problem is not about greedy or lazy individuals.  The problem is about a system that is not rewarding leaders for doing the right things. 


As Warren Buffet has said, fixing that system will be the “acid test” of the free enterprise system in the 21St Century.


Larry Stybel

Paul P. Brountas. 


BOARDROOM EXCELLENCE: a common sense perspective on corporate governance. 


Boston: Hale and Dorr, LLP, 2003



The law firm of Hale and Dorr in Boston has published Paul Brountas' musings in board service.  A key theme in this book is that corporate America needs to CREATE investor trust and not simply to RESTORE it.  The "Good Old Days" were really not all that good from a governance point of view.  The past cannot be used as a model for the future:


"We keep searching for solutions, standards, and rules that will restore ethics and public trust and confidence in our corporations.  But did that public trust and confidence ever exist? Or was it merely a passive acceptance of a past system of corporate governance that….was wholly unsuited?"


Brountas provides a commonsense perspective about Sarbanes-Oxley.  It is indeed true that Congress cannot legislate morality and ethics. But Sarbanes- Oxley creates a road map to guide leaders who seek to create a climate of Board integrity that will be expected of public companies operating in a Post-Enron world.  Good governance is good for business, even if the business is not subject to Sarbanes-Oxley. 


There is an excellent discussion about the Duty of Care required of Board members plus sample Board accountabilities that can easily be turned into a Board of Director position description. 


In his introduction to the book, attorney Jeff Rudman of Hale and Dorr  says that Brountas takes his "40 years of advising officers and directors and distills it into 84 pages without producing either a self help book or a paean to those who made a bundle and lived to tell about it."


BOARDROOM EXCELLENCE is a useful review for experienced Board members who seek perspective and an excellent introduction for new Board members who want a basic overview from a thoughtful participant/observer.



THE TRUSTED LEADER: bringing out the best in your people and your company.


Robert Galford and Anne Siebold Drapeau

New York: The Free Press, 2002

ISBN 0-7432-3539-8





Robert Galford is managing partner at the Center for Executive Development in Boston.  Anne Siebold Drapeau is Chief People Officer of Digitas and held management positions with Pepsi, J.P. Morgan, and FTD.  It is hard to believe that they conceived of THE TRUSTED LEADER before Enron, Worldcom, et al.


But they did and we should be grateful.


The authors state that “trust is intangible, but it is useful to think of it as an ‘outcome’ that results from very tangible processes.”


This book provides some of the critical management tools to achieve that objective.


For example, there is a Trusted Leader Self-Assessment in Chapter 2.  Based on your scores, you can then read the rest of the book as a whole or focus first on those Chapters where you want to build your competence.


What are the implications for Board members?


One of the critical roles for Board members is the annual evaluation of CEO performance.  Many of us grew up with a Management by Objectives philosophy: state the outcome measures clearly and then leave it up to subordinates to figure out how to achieve those objectives.


In a world where institutional and individual investors/contributors have valid reasons to mis-trust leaders, the very concept of MBO needs to be changed.  Boards must be concerned not only with what is accomplished but also how it is accomplished.  Accomplishing objectives without breaking the law is a necessary but insufficient standard of CEO excellence. The Trusted Leader Self Assessment is a concrete tool which can be used by Boards to set quantifiable measures of performance for the critical intangible of trust.  The vague concept of “trust” can thus be discussed in very specific ways.


On page 95, the authors extol the virtues of Doug Baker, curator and sexton of a Church.  He is described as a quietly, competent “fixer” rather than a charismatic leader who draws attention to himself.  The authors state that we need more Doug Bakers leading our organizations.


And to this we say, “Amen.”


Maryanne Peabody

Tel. 617 371 2990




Jim Collins


GOOD TO GREAT: why some companies make the leap and others don’t.


New York: Harper Business, 2001

ISBN 0-06-662099-6


LIST PRICE: $27.50



Twenty-one researchers looked for public companies with the following patters: Fortune 500 Companies with fifteen-year cumulative stock returns at or below the general stock market, a transition period followed by cumulative returns at least three times the general market over the next fifteen years. 


Eleven companies were identified and compared to similar companies within industry that had not transitioned from good to great.  For example, Abbott was compared with Upjohn; Circuit City with Silo; Gillette with Warner-Lambert, Kroger with A&P, etc.


The project involved coding 6,000 articles, 2,000 pages of interview transcripts, and 384Million bytes of computer data.


What was learned?


Since THE key role of the Board of the hiring and firing of the CEO, we will focus on this area only.  But the book has lots of strategic implications for Board members and senior executives beyond CEO recruiting.


Boards of public companies often assume that salvation can be achieved by hiring a well-known, charismatic CEO from outside the company.  In a world of supply & demand, Boards ask shareholders to pay dearly for such rare talent.  Are the results worth it?


According to Collins and his team, such charismatic leaders are NEGATIVELY associated with good to great companies.


Ten of the eleven good to great CEOs came from within the company.  Good to great CEOs are self-effacing, even shy.  They have a blend of personal humility combined with fierce determination for the organization as a whole.  Boards of Directors are looking for Julius Caesar when they should be looking for Abraham Lincoln.


The research-based nature of this effort takes the book out of the ordinary category of “pop” management books.  It is a book to read, digest, and re-read.


Larry Stybel & Maryanne Peabody



Jay W. Lorsch and Thomas J. Tierney. 


ALIGNING THE STARS: how to succeed when professionals drive results. 


Boston: Harvard Business School, Press, 2002.

ISBN 1-57851-513-0

LIST PRICE: $29.95




Jay Lorsch is the Louis Kirstein Professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Business.  Thomas J. Tierney is former Chief Executive Officer for Bain & Company.  Lorsch and Tierney are a powerful duo for an examination of the world of Professional Service Firms (PSF).


Eighteen highly successful U.S.-based PSFs were examined.  They represented the fields of accounting advertising, retained search, investment banking, IT consulting, law, and management consulting.  Firms surveyed included McKinsey, Bain, Skadden Arps, Wachtell Kipton, IBM Global Services, J.P. Morgan H&Q  , Goldman Sachs, Young & Rubicam, Ogilvy & Mather, Ernst& Young, Price WaterhouseCoopers.


The authors argue that when leaders exclaim, "people are our most

important asset" they are being hackneyed and inaccurate.  Within the business world outside PSFs, the honest statement would be "competent people are a necessary component of our success but even they are expendable."   Critical differentiators exist apart from the individuals who created them: distribution channels, cost position, brand strength, location, technology, etc. 


In the PSF world, most people are also expendable.  But there is a category of people that determine the future of PSFs: Stars.


Stars build enduring client relationships and become role models for junior professionals.  PSFs stars may be partners but not all partners are stars. 


Aligning stars with the PSF strategy is the foremost job of PSF leaders. 


This book deals with the complexities involved in creating such alignment.


For those on Boards of Directors of PSF organizations, ALIGNING THE STARS helps to crisply focus on what are critical questions to be asked:  who are the stars, what system is in place to insure continuity of stars, what system is in place to align individual star needs to strategy.



Maryanne Peabody & Laurence J. Stybel



Morgan W. McCall, Jr. and George P. Hollenbeck


Developing Global Executives: The Lessons of International Experience


Harvard Business School Press, 2002

Boston, Massachusetts

ISBN 1-57851-336-7

List: $29.95


YOU SAVE: $8.99 (30%)



Alexander (Sandy) von Stackelberg is a senior international marketing/sales executive whose career includes medical devices and other high tech equipment.


Here is Sandy's reaction to the book:


More and more firms are expanding their horizons beyond their own border and need competent managers to be successful. This book is perfect for those domestic individuals who must direct the companies that are expanding abroad without having much direct experience in the subject. Similarly, those who have had a more extensive international familiarity may find this book a bit too basic, however the various tables offered were of particular interest.


Properly the authors queried not just US expatriates say in France, but also Asians posted to Latin America, etc. The book defines what characteristics make up a "global executive" and contrasts those to their purely domestic counterpart. The individual's stories may be of interest to a few of the uninitiated; for they define some of the experiences that were most critical to mastering their profession.


More important for the organization is how to identify potential

Individuals and how to have the right "internal bias" to foster growth overseas. Further the authors define what the Organization's role should be and describe what the responsibilities are of the individual.


All in all this is a worthwhile book on the subject.





San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2001


ISBN: 0-7879-5620-1


PRICE:  $31.95


Jay Conger, Ed Lawler, and David Feingold are professors who have written a review of corporate governance issues.  This book best serves as an overview for new Board members.


The topics cover the "usual" corporate governance issues: evaluation of the CEO, term limits, Board responsibilities, term limits, etc. etc.


I have mixed reactions to this book.


On the negative side, I think the authors put too much reliance in a survey conducted by Korn Ferry.  As a result, the book has a dry tone, integrating survey results and academic papers.  I think the authors spent too much time reviewing one survey and not enough time talking to Board members.  The result is an academically skewed perspective.  For example, in reading this book one would think that there is a keen debate among Board members today regarding which constituency or constituencies Board members are responsible to: shareholders versus employees versus society, etc.  I think this is a debate academics WISH board members would have!  Perhaps I am on the wrong Boards, but this is not an issue that is "hot" among my colleagues.


Here is another example of how this book is skewed to towards an academic perspective:  there is a very interesting section on the relationship between Board practices and company performance.  The tables are hard to interpret and the entire section merits only three pages of a 206-page book. A McKinsey study called "Putting a value on Board Governance" is mentioned in the introduction but never discussed.


On the positive side, each chapter concludes with a statement of Principles and concrete practices that can be established.


On one hand, the authors discuss how valuable it is for Boards to get outside perspective through the use of external Board members and term limits.  On the other hand, this team of authors lacked outside

perspective. There is too much academics talking to other academics in this book.


CORPORATE BOARDS would have been stronger had one of the three authors been a current or retired CEO.



Larry Stybel


Sixty State Street, S. 700

Boston, MA 02109




E-BOARD STRATEGIES: How to survive and win

By Ram Charan and Roger Kenny

New York: Boardroom Consultants, 2000

ISBN 0-615-11524-1




Roger Kenny is managing partner of Boardroom Consultants and Ram Charan is a  consultant and professor at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Business.

The heart of this slender volume  is a mention of a study done by the venture capital firm, Onset Ventures.  Nearly 80% of startups fail to survive the first 18 months of life.  Onset surveyed 360 startups and found that one group had a 70% chance of making it.  This group of companies had CEOs who used mentors with experience running both startups and large businesses.

Such mentors can often be developed and effectively employed in a Board of Directors/Board of Advisors capacity.

Effective Boards in startups involve partnership between Board members and managers, not oversight.  The term "E-Board" is used to differentiate this kind of structure from the traditional governance-oriented Boards of established companies.

We think this is a book well worth having if you are a CEO or someone interested in serving on a Board.  Facilitating and advancing such E-Boards is really what is all about.

Stybel Peabody

Sixty State Street, S. 700

Boston, MA 02109



THE PRESIDENTIAL DIFFERENCE: leadership style from FDR to Clinton. Fred I. Greenstein
New York: The Free Press, 2000
ISBN 0-684-8273306
List Price: $25.00
Amazon/ Price: $17.50
You Save: $7.50 (30%)

Fred Greenstein (Greenstein, 2000) provides us at Peabody Stybel Lincolnshire with a template with which to evaluate presidential leadership.

While his focus is on the U.S. Presidency, we find Greenstein's analysis appropriate for Nominating Committees of Boards seeking a template for evaluating CEO candidates.

Greenstein is Professor of Politics at Princeton University and Director of Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School program in leadership studies. Analyzing Presidential leadership from FDR to Clinton, he articulates a six-factor model:

(1) Public communication---effectiveness in communicating with key constituencies.
(2) Organizational capacity---systematic approach to management; ability to forge a team and get the most out of it; proficiency in creating effective system arrangements.
(3) Political skill---using formal and informal power effectively.
(4) Vision---"event making" perspective versus reactive perspective. It also includes the ability to articulate overarching goals for the enterprise.
(5) Cognitive Style---conceptual ability to cut to the strategic heart of problems versus nibbling around the tactical fringes.
(6) Emotional Intelligence.

We use these six factors as frameworks for checking references of candidates. You might consider them as reference checking frameworks as well.

Standard job descriptions tend to focus on variables 1,2, 4, 5. It is rare that variable 3 gets explicit attention in business. But the CEO role requires mastery in the art of power. We have developed a series of reference questions that focus on this issue.

In our work with corporations, we find skilled communicators and highly organized managers overvalued by Boards.

And yet factors 1 and 2 may not be the most important factors. People may be great communicators in job interviews, highly organized, and still be ineffective leaders!

Factor 6 is hardly mentioned in job descriptions. And yet we all know it is totally critical. Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Carter, and Clinton had emotional handicaps that impacted the United States in extraordinarily negative ways. Haven't we all seen emotional handicaps within a CEO crippling the total organization?

In our retained search work, we find the best way to get a handle on emotional intelligence is to carefully, carefully, carefully check references with with former subordinates. Good leadership creates good followership. In the case of U.S. Presidents since FDR, only Truman, Eisenhower, Ford, and George Bush had subordinates who praised their leader without reservation. Of the eleven Presidents evaluated, only these four stand out as fundamentally free of distracting emotional perturbations.

There is a correlation here!

How important is emotional intelligence as a factor in selecting a leader?

None of the U.S. Presidents surveyed were paragons. All had flaws in one or more of the six leadership variables. Most organizations can work around the leader's inevitable human weaknesses.

Professor Greenstein reminds us that the United States has survived and even thrived under less than perfect leadership. In the area of emotional intelligence, however, "beware the presidential contender who lacks emotional intelligence. In its absence all else may turn to ashes." It is this critical that nominating committees tend to spend the least attention.

Laurence J. Stybel,Ed.D.
Sixty State Street, Suite 700
Boston, MA 02109
Tel: 617/371-2990
Fax: 617/371-2992
Web Site: (The Board of Directors Resource Center)

SINCE 1979, HELPING COMPANIES ACHIEVE "SMOOTH TRANSITIONS" OF SENIOR EXECUTIVES IN, UP, AND OUT: retained search, executive coaching, and helping senior executives find new chapters in their professional lives. *










The following review appeared in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (July 20, 1997, p. 27).

"Technically savvy corporate leaders don't have to rely on old fashioned techniques. offers a wide variety of services for top managers, including career tips, innovative ideas on corporate governance, and a Board of Director Talent Bank."

Margaret F. Riley, author of THE GUIDE TO INTERNET JOB SEARCHING, calls "unique in the ocean of Internet career and management sites. The resources assembled to serve executives are well chosen, authoritative."

Jared Hendler, Vice President of Creative Services for a division of Grey Advertising in New York City, calls a "most comprehensive site.....a consideration for the future."

PROFIT PATTERNS: 30 ways to anticipate and profit from strategic forces shaping your business.
New York: Random House, 1999
ISBN: 08 1293 1181
LIST PRICE: $27.50
YOU SAVE: $8.25 ( 30% )

I think of this book as first rate meat placed between two stale pieces of bread.

Let's get to the meat first.

This book challenges Board members and senior management to get beyond the obvious question, "What does our team need to know?" It addresses the more profound question, "What is our team afraid to find out?"

The authors, all Mercer Management Consultants, argue that business leaders who first understand and then act on industry-wide patterns are the inevitable winners. Those who fail to understand or those who understand and fail to act are the inevitable losers. There are only a limited number of these business patterns and they are predictable.

Reading through this book, I had a number of "Ah Ha!!!" experiences similar to the experiences of watching John Madden diagram the strategy of a just completed football play. I thought it was just a bunch of over-weight, over-paid guys chaotically smashing into each other!

Here is one example of the authors at work:

A classic business pattern is called moving from multi-polar standards to defacto standards: customers crave compatibility and some competitor will create high value by providing it. But moving to industry standards is not always the best choice for a company. For example, what is the rationale for NOT conforming to ISO9000 standards? The rationale is simple: standards tend to organize customer thinking about the performance side of the price/performance equation. This leaves the customer free to focus on…price! The authors conclude that "The widespread rise in standards of the past twenty years is a testament to the ……widespread threat to supplier profitability." Isn't it better to set your own standards?

The first 260 pages focus on showing the reader different patterns and then discussing them. The next fifty pages provide concrete examples of how companies implement pattern analysis using well known organizations such as Cisco Systems, Capital One, SAP, Staples, Nokia, Dell,, and Bang & Olufsen.

There is lots of sirloin in this sandwich!

The two slices of bread are my problem and my only problem with this book.

To allow the reader a metaphor to "get it," the authors spend the first part of the book focusing on chess and the works of Picasso. They come back to the chess metaphor at the conclusion of the book. And just in case you don't get it, they also throw in football metaphors as well.

I think this is overdone, particularly the expensive Picasso drawings. Chess alone would have been sufficient.

But this is minor carping about what is ultimately a real contribution.

PROFIT PATTERNS deserves a place on your library shelf.

It also deserves to be in a less expensive paperback version, minus all the expensive Picasso pictures. Picasso plus chess plus football contributes to intellectual overkill and raises the book's cost beyond what is really necessary.

Sixty State Street, Suite 700
Boston, MA 02109
Tel: 617/371-2990
Fax: 617/371-2992
E mail:
Web Site: (The Board of Directors Resource Center)

Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review, 2000
ISBN: 1-57851-237-9
YOU SAVE: $3.99 (20%)

This paperback is designed to be a reference, focusing on both policy and strategic challenges for senior managers working with Boards and Board members. Some of the chapters are articles; others are transcripts of interviews with key business leaders.

Like any edited series, there is a range of quality here.

Some of the pieces are far-out prescriptions from academics that will never see the light of day.

And some of the pieces are practical, thought-provoking ideas written by academics, consultants, and Board members themselves.

For example, Walter Solomon serves on the Board of Neiman Marcus Group, Hannaford Brothers Company, Tufts Health Plan, and Circuit City Stores. He has an excellent article that provides a framework for Board size and composition.

Philip Caldwell is former CEO of Ford Motor Company and former member of the Boards of the following companies: Chase Manhattan, Federated Department, and the Kellogg Company. He notes that the selection of the CEO is one of the most important roles of a Board. It is in the interests of the company that there be viable internal candidates and that the Board have options. It is sometimes in the interests of the incumbent CEO that the CEO be the one to nominate the one and only internal candidate.

For this reason, the Board needs to annually monitor CEO Succession development. The Board also must make sure the program is focused on the competencies of chief executive officers. For example, being a better team player may or may not be a critical issue in the role of CEO. Great team players don't necessarily make great CEOs.

Laurence J. Stybel,Ed.D.
Sixty State Street, Suite 700
Boston, MA 02109
Tel: 617/371-2990
Fax: 617/371-2992
Web Site: (The Board of Directors Resource Center)

SINCE 1979, HELPING COMPANIES ACHIEVE "SMOOTH TRANSITIONS" OF SENIOR EXECUTIVES IN, UP, AND OUT: retained search, executive coaching, and helping senior executives find new chapters in their professional lives. *










The following review appeared in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (July 20, 1997, p. 27).

"Technically savvy corporate leaders don't have to rely on old fashioned techniques. offers a wide variety of services for top managers, including career tips, innovative ideas on corporate governance, and a Board of Director Talent Bank."

Margaret F. Riley, author of THE GUIDE TO INTERNET JOB SEARCHING, calls "unique in the ocean of Internet career and management sites. The resources assembled to serve executives are well chosen, authoritative."

Jared Hendler, Vice President of Creative Services for a division of Grey Advertising in New York City, calls a "most comprehensive site.....a consideration for the future."

Channel Champions
Steven Wheeler & Evan Hirsh
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1999
ISBN 0-7879-5034-3

Booz, Allen & Hamilton consultants Steven Wheeler and Evan Hirsh ask you to respond to the following question: how do you keep your customers too happy to look elsewhere for the goods / services they want?

If you don't have a crisply articulated answer, then perhaps you should purchase their book and read it CAREFULLY!

The authors argue that product based differentiation strategies are ephemeral. What can't easily be copied are differences in service and support.

To cite an example, think of vs. Barnes & Noble bookstores. Same physical product but very different customer experiences!

Think of Saturn vs. Pontiac. Is it the physical car or the customer experience that is key in the buy decision?

Think of Dell vs. Radio Shack.

How much effort is being spent at your company on focusing on that customer experience?

The authors bring in excellent real world examples from a variety of industries: General Electric, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Providian Bancorp, Snap-on-Tools, Armstrong, Pella, and W.W. Grainger.

Too many companies think customer service is a function within the company. Typically it is called customer support. The authors argue that such a perspective dooms the company.

The business process necessary for creating the desired customer experience is cross-functional in nature, requiring the intense cooperation of finance, information systems, sales, operations, and marketing.

That means that the CEO must exhibit a passion for cutomer service.

Think about your last Board meeting.

How much time was spent in understanding how the company defines and operationalizes the customer experience from an enterprise-wide basis? If the Board does not consider the subject appropriate for discussion, then why should your CEO care?

This book is focused, practical, and important.

RIGHT FROM THE START: taking charge in a new leadership role.
Dan Ciampa and Michael Watkins
Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1999
ISBN 0-87584-750-1
List Price: $24.98 STYBEL PEABODY/AMAZON PRICE: $17.47

Our firm provides senior level consulting for companies seeking to ensure "smooth transitions" for very senior level people: retained search, coaching, and retained search. We plan to provide RIGHT FROM THE START as a gift to all successful senior level job candidates we work with.

That gives you a sense of how much we value this book! The authors focus on how new senior executives can make the first steps positive steps. The Tables on pp. 134-139 are a nice framework to use during the initial six months.

RIGHT FROM THE START does have flaws. When a book is co-authored, I usually make an assumption that I am going to be reading a combined perspective. I expect a duet and not two soloists humming their own tunes. There is a lack of unified voice that detracts from RIGHT FROM THE START. The first half to three quarters of the book appear to have been written primarily by one author. It is time sensitive, focused, and practical.

Chapters 8,9, and 10 have a very different flavor. While it constantly refers to earlier chapters, the author of this chapter lacks the time sensitivity and the practical-application of the earlier part of the book. For example, the earlier part of the book simply speaks about the following dilemma: senior executives get to their high level positions by having confidence in their abilities, and yet if they don't reach out and quickly develop a source of inside and outside advisors, they will surely fail. The authors come back to this simple dilemma with an entire chapter about the taxonomy of advise versus counsel. This taxonomy might make some sense in an introductory textbook on management. In the context of the proposed readers of this book, however, such a taxonomy doesn't add much value.

There is a sense that Chapters 8, 9, 10 are too much "Cut and Paste" from some other work and are not focused on the needs of the readers of this particular volume. The three chapters could easily have been deleted from the entire work.

LEGACY: the giving of life's greatest treasures.
Barrie Sanford Greiff, M.D.
New York: HarperCollins, 1999
ISBN 0-06-039283-5
LIST PRICE: $22.00
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Barrie Greiff is a psychiatrist who works with corporations and executives. I have known Barrie for a number of years and he is a first class "Mensch." That quality comes through in this book. The author of LEGACY writes, "Words that come from the heart enter the heart." You will feel that Dr. Greiff is speaking from his heart to yours. Those of us who work on Boards of Directors of family businesses or work with families of wealth often know that the concept of "net worth" is not necessarily the same definition we learned in Accounting 101.

In family businesses, net worth is the sum of three things: cash and securities, material objectives, and values. Passing on wealth without effectively passing on values through the generations dooms families of wealth to the stereotypic "From Poverty to Poverty in Three Generations!" Greiff ties the lessons of his personal and professional life to define values as a legacy consisting of loving, learning, laboring, laughing/lamenting, linking, living, leading, and leaving.

The core of the book focuses on defining these issues.

Freud was once asked to define mental well-being. His famous reply: "To Love and To Work."

Most of us don't need to be told what it means to work! But we do need a conceptual template of what it means to love. Dr. Greiff gives us such a template from which to measure how we are doing for ourselves and as role models for the next generation.

The cover of LEGACY shows Michelangelo's famous picture of God's finger ALMOST touching Adam's finger. It's inclusion on the cover is designed to highlight both the importance of passing on a legacy of values and the fact that most of us will do well if we can ALMOST get it right.

This book is a great companion piece to Marshall B. Paisner's book SUSTAINING THE FAMILY BUSINESS. That book also is available on our website and is reviewed by us.

Maryanne Peabody & Laurence J. Stybel,Ed.D.
e mail:
The Board of Directors Career Resource Center:
Tel: 781-736-0900 SINCE 1979,

VALUE-CREATING GROWTH: how to lift your company to the next level of performance.
Thomas L. Doorley III and John M. Donovan San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1999.
ISBN 0787 79 46613
LIST PRICE: $30.00

Did you know that less than 2% of all public companies created 32 percent of all jobs.

Tom Doorley and John Donovan are with Deloitte Consulting.

The theme of this book is simple, but the "how-to" is hardly simplistic. The theme is that "high growth companies generate five to ten times the return of slow-growth companies. Such companies churn out new products at twice the "normal" rate. Employee satisfaction soars in high growth companies.

High growth companies are an elite class. These companies are not merely competitive. They are thumping their competition.

The authors provide a conceptual road map for achieving high growth status, based on analysis of a large sample of companies combined with case studies of key companies in North America, Western Europe, and Asia. They show how their ideas are being used in manufacturing, consumer products, financial services, and technology.

This is a small but dense book. It only covers 163 pages. But there are lots of ideas here, and some are very practical. For example, the authors found that 60% of fast growth companies have clearly articulated commitments to growth in writing. On the other hand, only 15% of slow growers have such written commitment.

Is your company following the practices of high growth companies? At the time of this writing, the United States is experiencing a sustained period of rapid expansion. A book that focuses on rapid growth suits these times to perfection.

But what do rapid growth companies do during inevitable times of economic downturn? Doorley and Donovan have done their homework. Based on a longitudinal analysis plus their own consulting experience, the authors found that those companies that fought hardest to sustain their commitment to growth survived the recessions in best shape. Some specific action steps included: substitution of relative growth during a period when absolute growth could not be achieved. They targeted growth at greater than market rates or faster than key competitors.

During bad times, high growth companies protected their long term investments in R&D, marketing, and employee development from the budget ax.

Maryanne Peabody & Laurence J. Stybel,Ed.D.
e mail:
The Board of Directors Career Resource Center:
Tel: 781-736-0900 SINCE 1979,

Marshall B. Paisner
Reading, MA: Perseus Books, 1999
ISBN: 0-7382-0114-6

The dreary statistics are familiar to all of us who work with family businesses: family businesses make up 90% of the 15 million operations in the United States. Only one-third make it to the second generation. And only 10% make to the third.

Given such depressing numbers, isn't it only logical that owners can easily be convinced by industry consolidators to turn their ownership into cash?

Marshall Paisner takes strong objection to this view.

Accountants can only consider market value when making pricing decisions. Family business owners need to take market value into account, but they also need to consider family values. In the long run, family value is more important. The goal of a family business is to live a desired lifestyle and give the next generation the opportunity to do the same thing.

And if you don't like Paisner's "soft" view of business, he argues that the return on a successful family business is almost always greater than the after-tax return of an estate produced by the sale of such a business.

Much of what Paisner says has been said elsewhere. This book is worth reading because Paisner is the Chairman of Scrub-A-Dub Auto Wash Centers, Inc., one of the world's largest car-wash chains. Founded in 1965, he has successfully transitioned the business to his two sons. And we can personally attest that Scrub-A-Dub is one of the best consumer products marketing companies we have ever seen! And we have seen many.

SUSTAINING THE FAMILY BUSINESS is a "How I Did It" book plus an integration of published research plus an integration with other family businesses around the country.

Topics include: Creating a Family Culture, Managing Family Conflict, Developing Tax Strategies, Developing Estate Strategies, When Selling Makes Sense, Navigating a Successful Sale.

For those of you who serve on Boards of family businesses, Paisner speaks positively about the use of true outsiders to serve on his Board of Advisors, how he selected them, and how he compensated them.

He has a section on what actions to take when spouses perceive that their mates are being unfairly treated. Such perceptions can poison both the business atmosphere and the family atmosphere. Paisner has a cogent prescription for what those steps ought to be.

Dr. Laurence J. Stybel & Maryanne Peabody
Sixty State Street, Suite 700
Boston, MA 02109
tel: 617-371-2990 e mail:
The Board of Directors Career Resource Center:

Arthur J. Pulos
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1988 ISBN: 0262-161060

Once upon a time it was possible to grab market share and hold it by offering the lowest price or having the greatest technology, or by having the best distribution system on the planet.

No longer.

Price, technology, and distribution appear to be transitory advantages at best. Without price, cutting-edge technology, and a great distribution system your business will surely fail. But will they ensure long-term success?

Great product design can be a factor to keep customer mindshare long term.

IBM understands this in its design of the personal computer. Packard Bell, however, does not. Think of the distinctive brown color of United Parcel Service, the shape of a Jeep, or the classic Bau Haus Chair. In 1956, Charles Eames designed a lounge chair for the Herman Miller Company. More than 100,000 of these leather and wood two piece units have been sold and continue to be sold. (You probably don't know what is it called, but you have seen this chair in many, many homes).

Arthur Pulos provides you with a richly photographed review of America's premier design products. It is a great business gift for a friend or a way to stimulate your own creativity.

Its most important value for a member of a Board of Directors is to help ask the right questions about product design.

The book ends with an intriguing question that Board members should think about as members discuss new products: as separate nations become one, can we achieve a truly global design for our products? Coke and McDonald's have achieved this universality. On the other hand, there may be no single mass market for our products. Will we require an infinite variety of demographic groups that determine final configurations? For example, Virginia Slims is designed for a very specific market.

Maryanne Peabody & Laurence J. Stybel
Sixty State Street Boston, MA 02109 Tel: 617-371-2990
E mail:
The Board of Directors' Career Resource Center:

SHAKESPEARE: The Invention of the Human
Harold Bloom
New York: Riverhead Books, 1998
ISBN: 1573 221 201
Regular Price: $35.00 Stybel Peabody/Amazon Price: $24.50
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The Board of Directors Career Resource Center ( usually reviews books about corporate strategy, corporate governance, and senior level career management. Why should a book about Shakespeare's plays be in our line up?

At a professional level, Bloom sensitizes the reader into understanding that Shakespeare is a master, timeless psychologist who still has much to teach us.

Here is but one example: I was working with a CEO who had a brilliant subordinate. But that subordinate appeared to delight in creating chaos in the office. The CEO was failing in attempts to rehabilitate this brilliant individual. The CEO could not comprehend why this subordinate would spend the time and energy on chaos-producing behavior. The CEO's image of himself was as someone who knows how to master chaos.

Rather than get into a lengthy discussion with my client, I simply asked the CEO to re-read Shakespeare's "Othello" and pay attention to the character of Iago. Such people do exist in our own companies! Not only was my client able to appreciate the Iago-like qualities of the subordinate, but he also comprehended his own, unflattering Othello-like failings.

Bloom believes that Shakespeare was THE master psychologist of the Western World in addition to being THE major poet and dramatist.

Indeed, Bloom makes the case that our core Western notions of ourselves are essentially inventions of Shakespeare. What other author before Shakespeare created characters that simultaneously value and deplore themselves? Shakespeare took literature beyond eloquent caricatures. Our concept of personality is Shakespearean more than it is Freudian.

SHAKESPEARE: THE INVENTION OF THE HUMAN makes a great gift. It can simultaneously be used as a reference book when thinking about specific plays or as a text for reading about Shakespeare.

But I think of the book as a core book about understanding people.

Ask me "Why Shakespeare?" and I will say. "Who else is more worthy of your reading time?"

Laurence J. Stybel
Boston and 26 cities in five countries
Tel: 617-371-2990
E mail:
The Board of Directors Career Resource Center:

SMART ALLIANCES: a practical guide to repeatable success
John R. Harbison and Peter Pekar, Jr.
San Francisco, Jossey-Bass, 1998
ISBN 07879 43266
List Price: $35
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Booz.Allen & Hamilton consultants John Harbison and Peter Pekar make a compelling case for the following:

  1. (1) Strategic alliances have consistently produced a return on investment that is 50% more than the average on investment that the companies produce overall.
  2. There is a positive correlation between experience in alliances and return on investment per alliance. In other words, there is an experience curve that one needs to go through.

The ambitious goal of this book is captured by its title: provide leaders with a repeatable, pragmatic framework for alliance planning and implementation. Through this framework, the experience curve might be shortened.

The framework is based on the authors’ consulting experiences as well as surveys of more than five hundred major corporations. From a Board of Director perspective, alliances create value but how the investment community reacts to alliances will vary depending on the structure of the alliance and the industry within which the alliance is formed. Pages 85-86 offer a useful framework for Board members when questioning CEOs about alliance efforts. Based on our own experiences in developing an alliance of international firms offering senior level career consulting services as ours, we think the book is a useful addition to your bookshelf.

But it is a dry, abstract book.

In relation to our own experience, we think the authors did not devote enough space to the unanticipated pleasant and unpleasant conceptual leaps that one must make in day-to-day alliance work. The term “transfer of technology” does not capture these unanticipated leaps. For example, we had certain expectations about an alliance we formed in 1987.

These expectations materialized but only weakly. On the other hand, the alliance created opportunities we had not planned for. These opportunities included leveraging our participating in the original alliance to yet another alliance that was even more fruitful. The alliance forced us to create new services and gained leverage in areas unrelated to the original alliance objectives.

We call these events happy surprises.

Both the happy surprises and the unhappy surprises are worthy of more mention. They are one of the reasons to enter alliances.....and one of the reasons to be careful about them!

Sixty State Street Suite 700
Boston, MA 02109
tel: 617 371 -2990
e mail:
retained executive search, coaching, and retained search.

Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter THE TRUTH ABOUT BURNOUT San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1997
ISBN 0-7879-0874-6

THE TRUTH ABOUT BURNOUT is that it is not an imperfection of the individual employee. Burn-out is a symptom of an organization in trouble.

Christina Maslach is Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Berkeley and the creator of The Maslach Burnout Inventory. Michael P. Leiter is Dean of the Faculty at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada.

The traditional perspective about burnout is that it is an individual problem. The natural solutions to this perspective focuses on providing courses on stress management, bringing in Employee Assistance Programs, and doing a better job of selecting in people who can handle stress.

The authors argue that these interventions are positive but incomplete.

If employee burnout really is a symptom of an organization in trouble, then the interventions need to be organizational in context. They begin by analyzing job-person fit from the following dimensions: workload, control, rewards, community, fairness, and values. There is a case description of a 750 bed hospital which illustrates these concepts in practice.

As it stands, the book makes its case well and provides concrete suggestions. The Maslach Burnout Inventory would appear to be an excellent tool for use in organization development interventions. The authors clearly have a solid grasp of their subject.

But will CEOs take employee burnout seriously?

For CEOs to take employee burnout as seriously as Maslach and Leiter would like, we think there needs to be some recognition at the Board of Directors level that this is an important issue.

In our work with Boards of Directors, we seldom see that recognition.

Future editions of THE TRUTH ABOUT BURNOUT would benefit from more discussion about how burnout effects share holder value. Only five pages out of 178 focus on how burnout impacts the financial performance of a company.

To get CEOs to take burnout seriously, the Compensation Committee of Boards would have to add that a percentage of each CEO's bonus pay be determined by positive or negative deviation from some desired employee turn-over statistic or some desired customer satisfaction statistic.

As it currently stands in North America, few companies even bother to collect employee turnover and customer satisfaction statistics. Few companies bother to collect the true costs of recruiting/training new employees. If it is not important enough for the Board of Directors to measure, then why should the CEO assume that it counts?

That's a problem we would love to see Maslach and Leiter address.

Fortunately for them, a model exists. When a Board is serious enough to count diversity as a component of a CEO's variable compensation, companies often seem to take diversity seriously!

And if the Board does not count it important enough to be part of the CEO's variable compensation system, then the company is apt to engage in more talk and training than action.

But THE TRUTH ABOUT BURNOUT is that it is well worth having on your library shelf.

If you have any reactions/comments, please make them to We will add them to our review of this book.

Laurence J. Stybel,Ed.D. & Maryanne Peabody
Sixty State Street, Suite 700 Boston, MA 02109
tel: 617 371 2990 e mail:

Ford Harding. RAIN MAKING: the professional's guide to attracting new clients. Holbrook, MA: Adams Media Corporation, 1994
ISBN" 1-55850-420-6.
Regular Price: $12.95
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What is a rainmaker?

Rainmakers have the ability to gain access to decision makers while they have high concern about confidentiality and are still in the process of formulating their needs around specific problems.

This access means knowing key people so well, they feel comfortable confiding in you.

One has to be a good sales professional to be an effective Rainmaker. But one need not be a Rainmaker to be an effective sales professional. Sales and Rainmaking are not necessarily the same thing, even though both contribute to the revenue side of the accounting equation.

At Stybel Peabody, we value this book so highly we use it as the basic text in our work with professional service providers who seek to develop rainmaking skills.

The title of this book, however, is somewhat misleading.

Ford Harding has written a first rate "how to" book on attracting new clients via all kinds of sales and marketing techniques. Rainmaking is only one of those techniques.

One of the book's strengths is that Ford Harding doesn't "preach." He talks about his own failures as well as his successes. Harding integrates his own experiences with survey research he has done with practitioners. Finally, his approach is contingency-based. By contingency, we mean that he provides readers with descriptions of different client development techniques available and some frameworks when tech technique is appropriate or inappropriate.

We'll be surprised if you don't get at least three good, useful ideas from this book. If you have any reactions to the book please write them to and we will post them on this website.

If you have any reactions to the book please write them to and we will post them on this website.

Cliff Hakim. WE ARE ALL SELF EMPLOYED: the new social contract for working in a changed world. San Francisco, CA: Barrett-Koehler, 1994. ISBN 188 105 2478
LIST PRICE: $24.95
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The title says it all. The theme is to develop a mentality of self- employment, regardless of whether you are actually self employed or currently working for someone else.

Cliff Hakim probably wrote this book in 1993, when the message might have been startling to some of us.

Five years later, the message is no longer novel.

I will cite two examples:

Most job search books talk about networking in terms of a "random walk." You know the drill. It goes something like, "I'm not looking for a job. I'm just looking for opportunities to talk with people who might be able to tell me what is going on in sales." Cliff would propose standing that nonsense on its head with what he calls the "I Am Looking For" summary.

Another example of Cliff's ability to provide practical yet poetic advise is his suggestion to forget about career ladders. With ladders, up is the only way to advance. Cliff argues for the career lattice. The image is both simple and powerful.

Just to give the book even more grounding, the end of it contains mini biographies of some of the people who have turned their professional lives into powerful career lattices. It was fun to read because I know and admire some of the people he mentions!

e mail:

Berkeley: Ten Speed Audio, 1994. ISBN 157 453 0178
List Audio Price: $16.95
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I don't like this title. It is too bland.

The heading of Chapter Two of the book would have been a more meaningful and accurate title: "Newtonian Organizations in a Quantum Age."

Wheatley says that many of our models and metaphors about effective management are explicitly or implicitly derived from a Newtonian perspective. She says:

"The universe that Sir Isaac Newton describe was a seductive place. As the pendulum swung with perfect periodicity, it prodded us on to new discoveries. As the Earth circled the sun, we grew assured of the role of determinism and prediction. We absorbed expectations of regularity into our very beings. And we organized work and knowledge to fit this universe.

"It is interesting to note just how Newtonian most organizations are.

"Until recently, we really believed that we could study the parts to arrive at knowledge of the whole. We have reduced and described and separated things into cause and effect, and drawn the world in lines and boxes.

"A world based on machine images is a world filled with boundaries."

This essentially Newtonian view of management conflicts with the current knowledge we are deriving from quantum physics and chaos theory. In years to come, the metaphor for management will be chaos theory and quantum physics. This elegant book helps the novice manage begin to understand these complex ideas in terms of how they can influence your perspective about the management of people and events.

This book is a testament to Wheatley's command of writing, command of the scientific subjects she explains, and her practical experience in organization behavior. She pulls of a complex exercise off with grace, interest, and practicality.

We are selling the audio tape, but you can go into to order the book itself. The book has some wonderful pictures which illustrate chaos theory.

Laurence J. Stybel. Board of Directors Resource Center, tel: 617/736-0900 Boston, MA USA

BUILT TO LAST: successful habits of visionary companies
New York: Harpercollins, 1994 ISBN: 0887 3067 13
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Attorney Richard Narva is co-founder of one of the nation's premier consulting firms specializing in helping family businesses. His perspective his shaped by the fact that he grew up in a family business and managed one. Richard can be contacted at 781/444-9200.

Some family businesses are built to last. Many are not. In my view there are two clear indicators of whether a family business is built to last: its balance sheet and its vision statement. My experience tells me that when the balance sheet of a family business is relatively unleveraged because the owners reinvest the bulk of their profits consistently each year, they are voting with their dollars to build a family business that will endure. I do not question the choice of business owning families who choose to maximize withdrawals of cash for personal consumption. I simply argue that their companies are built to serve the current generation of owner/managers--a legitimate choice, but one which is inconsistent with an enduring family controlled business enterprise.

My primary purpose in this brief article, however, is to address the vision of family businesses that are managed to endure for generations. In their classic text, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, two Stanford Business School professors, James Collins and Jerry Porras, compare and contrast 18 of America's large corporations who dominate their industries with their largest (and less successful) competitors. In the process of a six year long empirical study which compared truly great companies who became industry leaders and their less successful competitors, such as Marriott with Howard Johnson, Motorola with Zenith, Hewlett-Packard with Texas Instruments, the authors concluded that the primary distinguishing characteristic of the truly great companies (which their competitors lack) is that these truly successful firms "...[P]reserve a cherished core ideology. Put another way, they distinguish their timeless core values and enduring core purpose (which should never change) from their operating practices and business strategies (which should be changing constantly in response to a changing world)."

The book reaffirms the competitive validity of being a values driven enterprise and offers abundant research based, practical recommendations for owners who wish to create a business that is "built to last." I recommend this book to all of the readers of our newsletter and we have copies available upon request for our clients.

Rather than give a more comprehensive review of the book, I want to point out something that intrigued me about the list of 18 companies selected by the authors as paradigms of visionary companies, a point not made explicitly by the authors in their text: that is the extent to which family control is a characteristic of these now huge and hugely successful visionary companies. Of the 18 companies, four founding families (whose patriarchs were the architects of their vision) continue to control the companies through ownership: Ford, Marriott, Nordstrom and Wal-Mart. Of these, Nordstrom and Marriott retain family CEO's and Ford appears to be grooming a fourth generation member for that position. Of the remaining 14 companies, four others enjoyed at least two generations (and many decades) of family leadership in the CEO position: IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Motorola (where a third generation Galvin is now CEO).

My purpose in highlighting this observation is that at Genus we find that most of our clients are truly values driven organizations, although often the enterprise's core values are assumed rather than articulated. Moreover, these core values are often rooted in the multigenerational history of the founding family. We believe that these family businesses have, therefore, a running head start on the journey of becoming visionary companies that are "built to last." We encourage you all to consider the wisdom in this powerful book.

TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE: an old man, a young man, and life's greatest lesson.
New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, 1997. ISBN 0-385-48451-8
List Price: $19.95
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Peter Rabinowitz of PAR Associates of Boston gave me this book as a gift. I passed it along to my wife as a gift. I am sure she will pass it along as a gift as well.

Peter called the late Professor Maurice Schwartz of Brandeis University someone "you know but didn't know you knew."

A victim of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig's disease, he was interviewed several times by NIGHTLINE host Ted Koppel on what it is like to die.

This book is an extension of the Kopppel interviews, lovingly and beautifully written by one of Professor Schwartz' former Brandeis students.

Who would want to spend time on such a depressing subject?

Professor Schwartz said, "Every one knows they are going to die, but nobody believes it."

This book is about learning to really, really believe in your own death and how it can make living the remainder of your life a more vibrant experience.

Peter Rabinowitz passed on Morrie Schwartz' wisdom wisdom to me, and I am passing it to you.

Laurence J. Stybel
e mail: tel: 781/736-0900

David Savageau and Geoffrey Loftus
David Savageau and Geoffrey Loftus.
New York: MacMillan General Reference, 1977
ISBN: 00286 12337 List Price: $24.95 Board of Director Resource Center/Amazon Price: $19.96 You Save: $4.99 (20%)

For a senior executive contemplating relocation, this is an outstanding reference book---with one caveat.


350 statistical metropolitan areas are compared on such issues as job markets, cost of living, housing markets, educational standards, crime rates, health care, recreational facilities, climate, etc.

The information is presented in an unbiased manner.


The last chapter of the book sums up all the different factors and statistically derives the top ten areas to live.

The assumption behind the last chapter is that all people will give all factors equal weight.

That assumption is bogus, to say the least.

For example, with a sixteen year old daughter we would rate educational facilities higher than transportation. On the other hand, an 80 year old retiree might rate transportation and health resources higher than education!

Skip the last chapter and focus on the facts in the rest of this great reference book.

If you order this book, make sure you are getting the latest latest edition of PLACES RATED ALMANAC.

Harry Beckwith
SELLING THE INVISIBLE: a field guide to modern marketing by , Jeffrey Jones (Narrator)
New York: Time Warner Audio Books, 1997
ISBN: 157 0424 713
Regular Price: $12.98 Board of Director Resource Center/ Amazon Price: $9.09 You Save: $3.89 (30%)

There are few of us who would NOT benefit from listening to Harry Beckwith's wisdom on marketing and selling. And there are few of us who are NOT selling intangibles these days. Even widgitt companies are selling intangibles.

Beckwith makes a good case that marketing is not a function. Marketing is what a business is all about. Every function is engaged in marketing or should be.

He also says that for those of us in professional services industries, our biggest competitors are not our competitors. Our biggest competitors are our prospects!

When a prospect meets you, there are three options for the person to do other than retain you. One is to use a competitor's service. A second is to not do do anything at all. A third option is for the prospect to perform the service him/herself.

Two out of the three negative events involve prospects themselves and not competitors.

Beckwith's ideas on how to effectively deal with your REAL competitor make this tape a worthwhile investment.

Kalman M. Heller
STRATEGIC MARKETING: how to achieve independence and prosperity in your mental health practice.
Sarasota, Florida: Professional Resource Pres, 1977
ISBN 1-56887-0310-0

The great value about Kal Heller's book is that he doesn't just teach how to market a health care professional service, but he also lives it. Heller is President of Needham Psychotherapy Associates of Needham, MA, a group practice with seventeen multi-disciplined professionals.

The subtext of Heller's book is how to run a successful solo or small group practice when everyone says it can't be done anymore. His chapter on selecting a practice strategy is of particular value. This book is designed for the professional service professional who thinks of "marketing" as another word for "hustling." Cal shows that it is indeed a bit of hustling. But there is far more to it than that. He then proceeds to give examples of his own private practice and group management experience.

Gerald M Weinberg
Dorset House ISBN 0932-633-013 $29.95

Twelve percent of our clients are novice consultants. We give them this book as their introduction to the practical aspects of business development. Weinberg is a technology consultant. When you read it, you will initially think, "Is This Guy Pulling My Leg?" Consider this a very serious and practical book. Weinberg simply enjoys conveying serious, practical messages in ways that also make you smile.

Nigel Viney
London: Ravette Books ISBN 0948 456 40X
Regular Price $5.95. CAREERLINC.COM Price $4.76
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John Courtis
London: Ravette Books ISBN 0948 456 752
Regular Price $5.95. CAREERLINC.COM Price $4.76
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Maryanne and I ran into the Bluffer's Guides while at Harrod's. A lovely, funny satire on management and consulting "How To" books. We give them as Graduation Gifts to our retained search clients!

If you are not a client of ours, then give yourself a present.

Don Tapscott
NY: McGraw-Hill, 1996
ISBN 0-07-063342-8
$11.96 for CAREERLINC.COM readers--a 20% savings over the regular price.


Lewis F. Platt, Chairman of Hewlett-Packard Company, says "If you plan to be alive during the next decade and want to understand the world you'll be living in, you should definitely read this book. It will scare you and excite you. Best of all, it will teach you how to succeed in a dramatically different environment."

Thomas J. Stanley,Ph.D. and William D. Danko, Ph.D.
Marietta, GA: Longstreet Press, 1996
ISBN: 1-56352-330-2

One half of America's wealth is owned by 3.5% of the population. Should it be your business to know more about this elite group?

Bill Danko is Chair of the Marketing Department of the State University of New York at Albany. Tom Stanley is a researcher and lecturer who studies the affluent. This book is based on two decades worth of surveys and interviews, some of which is available nowhere else.

THE MILLIONAIRE NEXT DOOR provides a measure of rigor to an important subject. While keeping their eyes on that critical 3.5% group, they operationally define people as Prodigious Accumulators of Wealth (PAW), Average Accumulators of Wealth (AAW), or Under Accumulators of Wealth (UAW).

Their book is an analysis of the lifestyles of PAWs and contrasts it with UAWs. They thus provide a useful psychological dimension to segment this elite group.

Beyond it, they raise disturbing implications about how the commendable lifestyles of adult PAWs may set the stage for their children to become UAWs.

The inevitable result is that most families of wealth lose their wealth within two to three generations.

At STYBEL PEABODY, we do career planning for adults and children in wealthy families. We find their perspective both useful and clinically valid.

Wealthy families are tasked with passing on wealth to the next generation.

Beyond that, they need to find a balance between passing on a spirit of philanthropy with a strong savings and work ethic. We think few wealthy families meet these necessary challenges.

Regular Price: $22.00
YOUR PRICE: $15.40 (You Save 30%)

John Carver
San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 1997.ISBN 1555 422 314

John Carver consults and writes on Board issues, with a particular emphasis on nonprofit and public organizations. He calls himself "The World's Most Published Author" on the design of governance. This book is a manifesto of how Carver believes boards ought to work. Unfortunately, there are few illustrations of how these ideas have been carried out in practice or could be carried out. In general, I found it full of ideas but lacking in detail.

Howard Putnam.Reno
Howard D. Putnam Enterprises, 1995 ISBN 09637

Putnam was CEO of the both Braniff and Southwest Airlines. During the period covered by this book, the airline industry went from being regulated to de-regulated.

Putnam's challenge was to (1) cut costs (2) increase perceived customer value and (3) change the corporate culture. It is an easy read and a useful story for CEOs of industries currently going through de-regulatory crisis.

Tom Gorman
Fireside Press, 1996.
ISBN: 0684811804

Do you think a diversified portfolio is a reasonable strategy for retirement planning?

What about developing a portfolio of income streams from the work you do?

Tom Gorman wrote MULTIPRENEURING while engaged as a middle manager for a consulting firm. He thus has lived the model he writes about.

This book is based on interviews with more than forty multipreneurs. Tom is an outstanding writer and the suggestions he provides are VERY practical. He has given talk to our clients in Boston. Tom is a magnetic speaker.

This book is actually a basic text in how to set up your own business and start producing revenue.

It is recommended for consultants with less than five years of experience.

List: $11.00; CARERLINC.COM Price: $9.90--YOU SAVE: $1.10 (10%).

John Lucht

ISBN: 0942785304

This is the book we use with our senior clients. We don't agree with everything Lucht has to say, but we agree with enough of it to use it as the basic job search text book. Lucht is an executive search consultant out of New York City. His perspectives on recruiters and direct mail are dead on target!

This edition is substantially revised from the original one. We find THE NEW RITES OF PASSAGE to be a more thoughtful perspective. Your local library may have RITES OF PASSAGE on its shelves. Make sure it is the same one we are selling here at a discount.

The book regularly sells for $29.95, but we are able to provide CAREERLINC.COM readers with a 40% discount. Your cost for the book is $17.97. This is a savings of $11.98!

David Stiebel
an audiotape
ISBN 1888-430435 List $24.95
CAREERLINC.COM Price: $22.45

All of us have experienced wasted time and wasted money with team building efforts.

David Stiebel would suggest that many organization development efforts are based on an assumption that any communications problem is a problem of misunderstanding. If the parties could clearly communicate, things would work smoothly.

Stiebel argues that some failed OD interventions are really not misunderstandings. The parties actually understand each other well. The problem is one of disagreement. And in a situation of disagreement, traditional team building exercises may only make things worse.

Stiebel discusses how to diagnose disagreements versus misunderstandings. He then goes on to describe how to handle each category.

David Stiebel teaches at the University of California at Berkeley. He also consults to corporations and governments on conflict resolution. Clients include

Xerox and Lockheed.

ABC Television's Rich Walcoff says: "I have used the tools in this book every day since I read it. Even with my kids. What's amazing is that this information just isn't available anywhere else. This is an extraordinary book."

We are featuring the audiotape for CAREERLINC.COM browsers at a discount of 10%. You can also purchase the book through WWW.AMAZON.COM.

Thomas B. Wilson.
(New York: McGraw-Hill, 1994) ISBN 0070709602


"By relying heavily on stock options, many companies make exorbitant payouts for so-so performances, dilute real shareholder return, and glorify CEOs at the expense of other employees.

The bottom line: don't confuse a bull market with managerial genius!"


The above statement appeared on the front page of BUSINESS WEEK ( April 21, 1997). It is a fitting way to introduce INNOVATIVE REWARD SYSTEMS FOR THE CHANGING WORKPLACE.

The function of the Compensation Committee of the Board to make sure that the CEO and the top management team are properly and effectively compensated. The BUSINESS WEEK article strongly suggests that members of these Committees are asleep at the switch. Are you?

Tom Wilson is an internationally recognized remuneration guru. Beyond that, his clients include both public Fortune 500 and private family businesses. He understands both worlds.

Most compensation books focus on the topic as part of managerial control systems, marketplace practices, or legal requirements. And most Board of Directors members we observe tend to ask compensated-related questions along these three lines. This book focuses on compensation as the missing link in the process of managerial change.

I like Wilson's chapter on measuring customer focused performance. Most approaches are simplistic or control driven. This chapter redefines the purpose of performance measures and outlines a process for developing measures that are meaningful. He also has a separate chapter on reward systems for emerging companies.

Tom Wilson is one of the most creative and practical thinkers in the field of compensation today. I have known Tom for twenty four years and he is the god-father of my daughter. You MIGHT say I am biased, but you WON'T if you read his book.

The book sells for $32.95. CAREERLINC.COM readers can get the book for 10% less. Your cost is $29.66.

Alan Weiss.
New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc.,1994 ISBN 0070691789

We buy so many copies of MILLION DOLLARS CONSULTING for the use of our retained search clients, Alan Weiss called us up to invite us for lunch!

We visited Alan's home in Rhode Island. It overlooks the ocean; this modern home has an outdoor pool that snakes indoors to end up in the living room. He then showed us around the neighborhood in his Mercedes Benz convertible.

Alan wanted to make a point with us.

When Alan writes about MILLION DOLLAR CONSULTING, he actually has used his own principles to his advantage!

Alan''s book challenges many of the conventional wisdoms of how you build a professional service practice. We think he is on target.

This book is not a good introduction to consulting. It is best suited for the consultant who has become reasonably successfully and now wishes to get to the next level of success.

The regular price of this book is $14.95. CARERLINC.COM readers can obtain it for a 10% discount. The price is $13.45.

Kelin E. Gersick et al
GENERATION TO GENERATION: life cycles of the family business
Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1997 ISBN:0-87584-555-X

Frank Perdue of Perdue Farms calls this book a "Rand McNally for family businesses.... Participants will find this book an invaluable road map and guide."

Many of our CAREERLINC readers are involved in family businesses as Board members, owners, or consultants. The interdisciplinary authors of this book attempt to provide a comprehensive developmental overview of the dynamics of family businesses as these organizations move through their life cycles. The book is based on more than a decade of research and consulting with hundreds of family businesses around the world.

Anyone involved in family businesses knows that there are unique issues of organizational structure, leadership, strategy, financial management, and succession planning. Applying businesses models appropriate to public companies can be grossly inappropriate. This book provides a framework to show what works.

It is important to understand that family business does not necessarily mean small business. One third of the Fortune 500 are family businesses.

Family business does not necessarily mean insignificant business. Family businesses generate half of the U.S. gross domestic product and employ half of its workforce. In Asia, family firms hold dominant positions in all of the most developed economies, except China. In Latin America, family firms are the primary form of private ownership.

Your price will be $26.96. To order, click on the authors names.

Margaret Riley, Frances Roehm, Steve Oserman, Public Library Association

The Guide To Internet Job Searching
Vgm Career Horizons, 1996, ISBN 0844281972

"Using powerful electronic job search technologies, anyone with a computer can benefit from the power of on-line bulletin boards, job listings, recruiters, discussion groups and resume posting services."
Your price will be $13.95. To order, click on the authors names.

Robert P. Bauman, Peter Jackson, Joanne T.Lawrence
FROM PROMISE TO PERFORMANCE: a journey of transformation at SmithKline Beecham. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1997. ISBN #087584343.


One of the most successful transnational mergers of all time was the transformation of SmithKline Beckman and the Beechman Group into SmithKline Beecham, a leading healthcare company.

Unlike many books on corporate mergers, this book was written by the key players in the transformation itself--the former CEO of SmithKline Beechman, the former head of Human Resources at Beecham and the former director of communications/investor relations at the company.

To give you a sense of the magnitude of this task, SmithKline Beechman has 52,000 employees around the world.

These practitioners discuss (1) how to implement major change while simultaneously tending to the needs of the ongoing business within an industry in flux (2) how to manage the different corporate and cultural styles of companies from two very different countries (3) how to get critical "buy-in" (4) how to utilize external consultants in the merger process (5) how to manage CEO succession.

Board Level Career Resource Center readers qualify for a 10% discount off the regular price of $27.50. Your price will be $24.75. To order, click on the authors names.

Carolyn Kay Brancato, Institutional Investors And Corporate Governance: best practices for increasing corporate value. Irwin Professional Publishing, 1997. ISBN 0786305584. ($45).


Carolyn Kay Brancato is Research Director for Corporate Governance and Strategy at The Conference Board. The book details how companies make allies out of institutional investors.

Board Level Career Resource Center readers get a 10% discount off the regular price of the book.

Lester C. Thurow,The Future Of Capitalism: how today's economic forces shape tomorrow's world. New York, William Morrow and Company, Inc. ISBN 0688129692


Professor Thurow was the Dean of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management and one of the few economists I know who writes well and has genuinely interesting things to say!

This book is an expansion of Thurow's Castle Lecture's, delivered at Yale University in 1995/1996. His central message is that Capitalism's competitors--fascism, socialism, and communism--are all gone. If other economic systems have lost, does it necessarily mean that capitalism has won?

Thurow points out that real economic growth, full employment, financial stability, and rising real wages seem to be vanishing just as the enemies of capitalism vanish. Using the metaphor of plate tectonics, Thurow shows how key "plate tectonics" are shifting to create new ground under our economic feet and void where once there was certainty.

Our technology has adjusted to these new realities and is indeed one of the key plate tectonics. But our values as a society have yet to grasp the implications.

Robert K. Mueller
Anchoring Points For Corporate Directors
(Westport, CT: Quorum Books, 1996) ISBN 1567 200 680

Bob Mueller uses personal experience to illustrate points regarding the unwritten elements of conduct and effectiveness of the member of a board of directors.

Ralph D. Ward
21st Century Corporate Boards John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0471156795

"Ralph Ward grabs the reader from page one with a Barbarians at the Gate style tale of the board revolution at General Motors. "


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