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March 9, 2001

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Manage for the Long Term Present

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 10:07 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Manage for the Long Term Present: A Framework for Sustainable Growth by Michael G. Coleman & Sandra B. Austin, MicroPress, 300 Pages, $29,95 Hardcover, December 1999, ISBN 1929733046
I dont know how many people have heard the commercial, but for the past month, I have narrated a spot for Its Not the Big That Eat the Small, Its the Fast That Eat the Slow that ran during the Rush Limbaugh show. The last time I was fortunate enough to merit 15 minutes of similar fame was when our parent company was featured on the cover of Inc. Magazine and my division was highlighted. Both times, the same thing happened: I was inundated with calls and emails by lots of strange people emails about lots of different kinds of books. Now, dont get me wrong, I love strange people. Tom Peters is a strange person, and advocates communing with other strange people. I consider myself a hugely strange person. The great thing about strange people is that they always have great ideas! Almost always, that is. So, after much stewing and distilling, I have skimmed the cream off the top, and, as a result, found a couple that are notable. This is one of those books. Now, this book isnt brand new, but the subject matter is timeless, and I really wanted to bring it to your attention.
As regular readers of JCS have seen, I enjoy business novels or fables. I believe a book is a tool to teach, but I often have a harder time learning from the more erudite business texts. A business fable illustrates the same information found in such texts, but adds a narrative with names and faces to help make theory real.
The best business fable ever written, in my humble opinion, is Eliyahu Goldratts The Goal: A Process for Ongoing Improvement. My only complaint about the book, besides the fact that it is now outdated, is that it presented a premise, but didnt suggest a strategy to implement the improvement process. The authors of Manage for the Long Term Present have written a book that covers many of the same issues Goldratt discussed about dealing with change processes and decision making. This book, however, does not make the same mistake. The book is about a new CEO that has to turn around a company in a short period of time (sound familiar?). Each of the twenty-six chapters deals with a different change scenario that faces the company and its leader. The authors then breakdown the changes into specific actions and give you the tool to accomplish that needed action. Cumulatively, the book offers the most extensive implementation tools I have ever seen that will help you execute the needed changes. In fact, Ive already dug in to some of the exercises suggested in the book, and am going to utilize them in next weeks future planning meeting. Manage for the Long Term Present is essential reading.