November 23, 2001
Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Winning in FastTime
Im always thrilled to discover books other people have missed or have been overlooked. This book qualifies as one of these rewarding discoveries. John Warden participated in the successful strategies of the Desert Storm Air Campaign. In his new book, he transfers these strategies and his experiences to the business world. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book was not filled with all kinds of technical military jargon, but that it was easy to read, aided by graphs and tables throughout.
The core concept of the book is what Warden calls The Prometheus Process. A combination of forethought and fire (or passion), the process acknowledges that all things happen in systems which contain different components that all affect each other. A bit like dominos. However, each system has Centers of Gravity which has the greatest influence on the system. These Centers of Gravity are what make or break the system, so when planning a strategy, the Centers are what you really try to change to achieve your goals. Makes sense.
Keeping the whole system concept in mind, Warden tells us how to create a winning business strategy. The steps are simple and direct and always have the future goal in sight. Warden uses examples from history to illustrate his points, which makes the reading interesting as well as understandable and informative. For example, one of his Cardinal rules is Stay out of the Balkans which is a metaphor for activities and projects that dont help you achieve your Future Picture. He uses the synopsis at the end of each chapter which he calls Chapter Debrief especially well. When you get to a chapter that you arent sure speaks to you and your issues, you can cheat and check out the chapter debrief for the essence of the chapter and go back and study the points in detail or move on to the next chapter.
This book has the potential to become a strategy classic. Warden is an expert in that field. With people like H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Colin Powell and James Kouzes singing his praises, its a good idea to check into what Warden has to say and find out how you can apply his ideas to better your organization.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.