ABOUT THE BOOK
Why You Need To Own, Read, and Use
the Practical Theory Contained In BEYOND BUZZWORDS
Ray Friant has examined more than a hundred businesses to learn why they were seriously underperforming. His findings are universal and applicable to all organizations with more than a few hundred employees. Today, it is crucial that Directors, CEOs, and Executives of businesses and government understand his findings in depth in order to manage their organizations toward excellence, and to stay away from failure.
As today’s products and services have grown to incorporate myriad levels of technology, and the complexity of organizations has grown exponentially, the practice of management has stayed somewhat static. Yes, sophisticated computer programs and very detailed reports abound. But this hasn’t eliminated the implosions in business and government, such as Enron and FEMA; over half of all organizations miss their mandated performance. Friant’s analysis shows that the major problems are at the top, and of the whole. Beyond Buzzwords clearly illustrates that:
- All organizations are prone to a “long wave cycle” in which they deteriorate and morph toward mediocrity over a five- to ten-year period unless they are pro-actively managed to avoid decay, which isn’t easy.
- There are two major reasons: first, while focusing on quarterly results, CEOs and their management teams fail to change the organization to survive the long haul,
- Second, career-oriented managers do many things to enhance their careers that are counter-productive to organization success.
- In addition, the biggest problems are of the “whole,” i.e., the whole strategy, tactics, products, services, suppliers, customers, employees, management team, and etc. Current management philosophy does not properly recognize this.
- CEOs have been free to examine at their whims their organizations’ sub-element problems without considering the whole.
- In addition, CEOs have neither the time nor ability to know problem details more than one or two levels below themselves, as predicted by Harvard’s Professor Galbraith.
- Further, for many reasons detailed in Beyond Buzzwords, CEOs cannot effectively analyze their own organizations.
The solution won’t come by waving a wand. Hard work is required. Fortunately, Peter Drucker has done the world a favor by observing that the cult of the superhuman CEO has been disproved, and Ram Charan has written about the CEO succession crisis. These influence leaders have cracked open the door that leads to a modified role for the CEO. While twenty-first century organizations will continue to be managed by strong CEOs, the modifications recommended in Beyond Buzzwords will stem the explosion of failing organizations. This will be done by:
- Changing the duties of the CEO to insist that a Total Organization Analysis (TOA®) be done every four to six years,
- Requiring the CEO to establish and empower a futurist(s) to be the “loyal opposition” that challenges the status quo through a systematic, in-depth analysis of all trends affecting the organization that call for change, and
- Requiring the CEO to use an independent, high-level coach who co-reports to the Board of Directors. This is especially critical for failing organizations as history shows that an external analyst/coach, periodically employed, can lead management teams to break their spiral of decline and decay.
Other Uses for Beyond Buzzwords
Human Resources Personnel
- Strong Human Resources personnel can play a vital role in changing the organization culture by educating executives and managers to the lessons covered in Beyond Buzzwords relative to people, careers, organization operations, and the processes for doing day-to-day work, and for changing the organization’s long-term focus and capability.
- Human Resource personnel can also be a crucial, indispensable force in facilitating management teams to embrace doing a TOA® in their organization. To be successful, HR personnel must become pro-active advocates—they cannot be passive doormats.
- The chapters of Beyond Buzzwords are arranged in a learning sequence, i.e., individuals, management careers, organization structure, management processes, and financial yardsticks. This sequence was purposeful in order to first facilitate learning, and second to be a quick reference for refreshing one’s memory of chapter content.
- The insights presented are very down-to-earth—they are what really happen in twenty-first century organizations. Understanding the content at the beginning of a career gives individuals a leg-up in the competitive world of a management career in business or government.
- Although all chapters present valuable content, the chapter on “Financial Yardsticks” stands alone in on-going importance to young managers. Learning how to ask for, understand, and correctly use financial information is a critical skill in both “managing” and “communicating”. The world of accounting has its own language, as does law, engineering, marketing, etc. Being able the bridge the understanding gulf between accounting results and management helps managers become indispensable.