Saturday, March 20, 2010
the New How Creating Business Solutions through Collaborative Strategy by Nilofer Merchant.
This is very different than most business books I have ever read. Nilofer Merchant focuses on a collaborative style of management which is designed to involve the whole organization. The focus is not on creating strategy, but how you systematically implement strategy across an organization. In this book, the author describes how every level of an organization becomes involved in strategy. It also describes how to make everyone in an organization understand a companies strategy.
The book is published by O'Relly publishing. The book has a new media feel to it. If you go to the recommended reading list in the back, many of the books and recommendations are from new media. For example, she recommends the book, Everything is Miscellaneous The Power of the New Digital Disorder by David Weinberger.
Sometimes it is hard to follow what she is saying. Some of the ideas seem far fetched. I think this is partially because many of the ideas she is drawing from are fairly new. Think of collaboration in terms of large projects like Wikipedia which is run in a collaborative manner or Cisco Systems which relies heavily on team work. There is a nice reminder that with knowledge work, the problem is not having enough ideas, it is implementing the ideas that are already available.
People are viewed as co-creators in this book and the management is not supposed to have all the answers. It is more focused on facilitating change. The author calls her methodology, QuEST; Question, Envision, Select, and Take. Question what you are supposed to be doing, envision the best way to do things, select the results which will work best, and take action.
This is a very different way to run a companies decisionmaking. It describes ways to attack basic assumptions, seek out real answers, and work in teams to select the best strategies.
I did not understand a lot of it, but because there were so many new ideas, I think that I will have gained some new insights on how to work with other people. A lot of this book is about managing and coordinating with people without having to control them. It is also about eliminating the "air sandwich" between management and line workers. It is a very much roll up your sleeves and work with other people style.
The book is very qualitative in orientation, so that there are not a whole lot of numbers and statistics. There are some simple diagrams. The author includes notes, index, and a list of recommended books to read. Many of the recommended books are about collaboration in business and leading teams. Nilofer Merchant is the CEO of Rubicon Consulting.