July 2, 2000
Staff Picks: Jack Covert Selects - The Value Effect
The Value Effect: A Murder Mystery about the Compulsive Pursuit of 'The Next Big Thing' by John Guaspari, Berrett-Koehler, May 2000, 177 pages, $22.00, Hardcover, ISBN 9781576750926 A mystery novel/business book? It actually works and works nicely. John Guaspari has written other business fables in the past, such as I Know it When I See It: A Modern Business Fable About Quality. This book is a murder mystery about a consultant who is killed at a corporate retreat, and how the mystery is solved. The plot is based on a fictional organization that holds retreats each year to have presented to them the NBT-the Next Big Thing. The previous year, the senior management had been introduced to a program that had been very successful. This year, they were going to hear from a consultant about a new step to carry the company's success forward. After the first day, the consultant is found dead in the conference room. A classic Colombo'esque detective interviews the management team, and we learn that each manager had been responsible for one of four failed NBT-from Total Quality to Empowerment-and because the detective doesn't understand the various programs, we get a good overview of them as he is taught the programs. Out of this comes an overview of the past and Guaspari's view of the NBT called "The Value Effect." That is explained in the form of a memo addendum that has very clear guideposts and action steps. This book is a perfect teaching tool to the newly promoted supervisor and the person who feels that they have heard this all before-The NBT.