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Business at the Speed of Now: Fire Up Your People, Thrill Your Customers, and Crush Your Competitors

ISBN: 978-1-118-05401-7
256 pages
December 2011
Business at the Speed of Now: Fire Up Your People, Thrill Your Customers, and Crush Your Competitors (1118054016) cover image
A technology-enabled management philosophy to accelerate your organization

Business at the Speed of Now delivers a new real-time management philosophy and system to leaders looking for better results in today's constantly changing market. Companies that inspire and equip employees and expect them to seize opportunities and solve problems in the now will enjoy a distinct competitive advantage in a world where speed matters most. Get systematic advice on how to build an integrated and transparent management system, enabled by cloud computing and internal social networks. Use this comprehensive guide to create a NOW organization where everyone boldly pursues every opportunity every time.

The vast majority of businesses cling to a THEN management model and philosophy designed to prevent immediate action. In this practical handbook, you'll learn how to apply technology to the three essential types of work: Fundamentals (routine work that consumes 95 percent of all resources), Breakthroughs (initiatives that can change the game), and Problems (daily challenges and crises that occur in all organizations).

  • Provides a wealth of real-world examples, assessments, tools, guidelines, and checklists that enable readers to apply the concepts immediately
  • Offers practical tools for building accountability and transparency into every position, thereby eliminating the loose ends that so often cause business execution to stumble
  • Presents the groundbreaking insights of John Bernard, an expert on management theory and practice, the use of social media inside the organization, and the modern workforce, whose company, Mass Ingenuity, consults around the world and develops Web-based tools to support real-time management

Set your organization free from the old THEN management ways that no longer get the results you need. Adopt the new NOW management thinking and the state-of-the-art tools that will get your organization doing business at the speed of now.

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Acknowledgments xv

Introduction xvii

Chapter 1 Thriving in the Now: Prepare for Yes 1

Our Love of Speed 3

The Power of Yes 4

I Want My Yes Now! 7

Social Media, Cloud Computing, and the Millennial Mind-Set 9

Mass-Customize Me, Please! 12

Enabling Your Organization’s YESability 14

The NOW Speedometer 17

Chapter 2 Making the Shift to Now: Put an End to Then 21

Shifting from Then to Now 22

That Was Then, This Is Now 25

The Seven Deadly Sins of Management 28

From Declining to Improving Results 29

The Right Tools in the Right Place at the Right Time 32

From Disengaged to Engaged 33

Chapter 3 Seizing the NOW Opportunity: Drive Growth with Yes 41

When You Operate in the Now 43

To Try or to Do, That Is the Question 48

The 9 Rules of Then, the 11 Rules of Now 50

Simon Says and Mother, May I? 52

Shifting Gears to the Now 54

Chapter 4 Leveraging the NOW Game Changers: Gain the Speed You Need 61

Satisfying the Hunger for Instant Information 62

A Cloud That Refreshes 66

The Power of Millennial Thinking 70

If You Can’t Beat ’Em, Join ’Em 74

Chapter 5 Working in the NOW Business: Create the Context for Speed 79

Thinking in the Now 80

Management Is a System 86

Mapping the Fundamentals 92

Laying the Foundation 92

Connecting Every Employee 96

Chapter 6 Working on the NOW Business: Achieve Critical Breakthroughs 99

The Source of Breakthroughs 100

Creating the Skill to Plan at All Levels 103

Performance Breakthroughs in Action 106

Breakthroughs in Capability 109

Sequencing, Coordinating, and Seeing 113

Chapter 7 Creating NOW Transparency: Close the Execution Gap 119

Getting the Transparency Train on Track 121

Initiating Transparency with Business Reviews 127

Preparing for Target Reviews 130

Real-Time Transparency and Corrective Action 132

Chapter 8 Solving Problems Now: Equip Everyone with the Core Skill 137

Creating the Charter 139

Step 1: Agree on the Problem 141

Step 2: Map the Process 143

Step 3: Find the Root Cause 145

Step 4: Develop Solutions 153

Step 5: Implement the Fix 154

Step 6: Hold the Gain 154

Step 7: Reflect and Learn 155

Chapter 9 Enabling the NOW Workforce: Banish Fear, Build Trust 159

People Want to Do the Right Thing 160

Fear Blocks Initiative 162

Building a Foundation for Trust 165

Helping People Cross the Divide 167

Shifting from Permit to Expect 171

Chapter 10 Becoming a NOW Leader: Stop Bossing, Start Teaching 175

From No to Yes 177

From Disconnection to Full Engagement 179

From Know-It-All to Fellow Learner 180

From Frozen Layer to Fear Defroster 182

From Commander to Inspirational Guide 184

Creating New, Observable Behaviors 186

Tell Me a Story 191

Chapter 11 Embracing Change Now: Accelerate the Shift 193

Working for the Social Good 196

Sharing a Vision of the Future 198

Engaging the Most Respected Change Leaders 201

Encouraging Personal Change 204

Reinforcing the Right Actions 207

The End of the Beginning 209

Conclusion Do It Now! 211

Guidelines for an Effective Plan 213

Appendix 215

The NOW Speedometer: Doing Business at the Speed of Now 215

About the Author 217

Index 219

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JOHN M. BERNARD is the founder and chairman of Mass Ingenuity, a company that consults and teaches around the world and develops Web-based tools to support real-time management. His consulting work involves high-tech, service, distribution, utilities, banking, insurance, manufacturing, health care, education, and government. John is an expert on the subjects of best-practice management, social media inside the organization, and the modern workforce. His expertise has been featured in the global business media and he is a top-rated speaker for The Conference Board.

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November 21, 2011
In the New World of Mass Customization, Businesses Must Function at the Speed of Now

John Bernard, Founder Of Mass Ingenuity, Shows How To Beat The Competition By Empowering Every Employee To Seize Every Opportunity, Every Time 

Rewrites The Rules of Leadership And Management
“In the new world of mass customization, businesses must act more quickly than ever – or run
the risk of getting crushed by more nimble competitors. To achieve this, every employee – no
matter what level or role – must be empowered to seize every opportunity, every time,” argues
John Bernard, Chairman and Founder of Mass Ingenuity. In his thought-provoking new book,
BUSINESS AT THE SPEED OF NOW: Fire Up Your People, Thrill Your Customers, and
Crush Your Competitors (Wiley, December 2011), Bernard reveals how organizations can
give everyone, from front-line
- more -
Page Two/BUSINESS AT THE SPEED OF NOW
workers to top managers, the tools and initiative to move faster and compete more effectively
in today’s super-charged, global economy. This game-changing book challenges current
management practices and rewrites the rules of leadership forever.
According to Bernard, at the crux of so many business struggles is the fact that current
management methods have not kept pace with the tectonic economic shift from mass
production to mass customization. In all too many companies, there is a major disconnect
between what employees are expected to deliver and the behaviors management encourages,
by unconsciously relying on practices dating from the days of Henry Ford. These practices
stifle creativity and discourage employee autonomy.
In BUSINESS AT THE SPEED OF NOW, Bernard presents his ground-breaking NOW
Management System which gives employees the skills, confidence, and permission required to
deal with issues at the point of need – whether reducing the rate of product defects, ordering a
critical piece of equipment, boosting cooperation within a contentious team, or responding to a
complaint. At its heart, Bernard’s innovative methods eliminate fear in the workplace; ensure
consistent approaches to critical processes such as idea development and customer service;
and attack the rules, policies, and beliefs that hamper business growth. The NOW
Management System, allows companies to:
• Achieve complete transparency of key goals, core processes, and metrics for all routine work
• Ensure that employees skillfully implement improvements, on their own initiative and without
seeking permission – so good ideas don’t get mired down in red tape
• Drive breakthroughs in execution by improving performance and developing new capabilities
• Provide managers with accurate and timely data to enable better decision-making
• Increase employee accountability and engagement
With dozens of examples, anecdotes, and step-by-step guidelines, BUSINESS AT THE
SPEED OF NOW lays out how to put the NOW Management System in place within any
- more -
Page Three/BUSINESS AT THE SPEED OF NOW
organization. Throughout the book, Bernard underlines the importance of leveraging three
game changing forces: social media, cloud computing, and the millennial mindset. He
examines the best ways to harness these forces, and is adamant that leaders must eliminate
such tired policies as prohibiting the use of social media in the workplace, and overcome their
fears about the security of storing company information on the web.
“While the world of organizational life today may seem bafflingly complex, in many ways the
more complex it gets, the simpler it gets,” writes Bernard. “Rather than trying to micromanage
all the countless variables you cannot control, you need only manage the one you can control:
the people who work in your organization who can come up with the ideas that cumulatively
will create and sustain your competitive advantage.”
BUSINESS AT THE SPEED OF NOW provides the cutting edge insights needed to achieve
the high level of mass action and mass engagement that can usher in a new era of customer
satisfaction, innovation, and profits. As Teresa Roche, Chief Learning Officer of
Agilent Technologies, says, “This book connects many dots from the past and present with the
future and simplifies what can appear daunting and complex for today’s leaders . . . Thank you
John for being a GPS in today’s highly evolving environment.”John Bernard, Founder Of Mass Ingenuity, Shows How To Beat The Competition By Empowering Every Employee To Seize Every Opportunity, Every Time

His Game-Changing Book, BUSINESS AT THE SPEED OF NOW, Rewrites The Rules of Leadership And Management


“In the new world of mass customization, businesses must act more quickly than ever – or run the risk of getting crushed by more nimble competitors. To achieve this, every employee – no matter what level or role – must be empowered to seize every opportunity, every time,” argues John Bernard, Chairman and Founder of Mass Ingenuity. In his thought-provoking new book, BUSINESS AT THE SPEED OF NOW: Fire Up Your People, Thrill Your Customers, and Crush Your Competitors (Wiley, December 2011), Bernard reveals how organizations can give everyone, from front-line workers to top managers, the tools and initiative to move faster and compete more effectively in today’s super-charged, global economy. This game-changing book challenges current management practices and rewrites the rules of leadership forever.

According to Bernard, at the crux of so many business struggles is the fact that current management methods have not kept pace with the tectonic economic shift from mass production to mass customization. In all too many companies, there is a major disconnect between what employees are expected to deliver and the behaviors management encourages, by unconsciously relying on practices dating from the days of Henry Ford. These practices stifle creativity and discourage employee autonomy.

In BUSINESS AT THE SPEED OF NOW, Bernard presents his ground-breaking NOW Management System which gives employees the skills, confidence, and permission required to deal with issues at the point of need – whether reducing the rate of product defects, ordering a critical piece of equipment, boosting cooperation within a contentious team, or responding to a complaint. At its heart, Bernard’s innovative methods eliminate fear in the workplace; ensure consistent approaches to critical processes such as idea development and customer service; and attack the rules, policies, and beliefs that hamper business growth. The NOW Management System, allows companies to:

  • Achieve complete transparency of key goals, core processes, and metrics for all routine work
  • Ensure that employees skillfully implement improvements, on their own initiative and without seeking permission – so good ideas don’t get mired down in red tape
  • Drive breakthroughs in execution by improving performance and developing new capabilities
  • Provide managers with accurate and timely data to enable better decision-making
  • Increase employee accountability and engagement

With dozens of examples, anecdotes, and step-by-step guidelines, BUSINESS AT THE SPEED OF NOW lays out how to put the NOW Management System in place within any organization. Throughout the book, Bernard underlines the importance of leveraging three game changing forces: social media, cloud computing, and the millennial mindset. He examines the best ways to harness these forces, and is adamant that leaders must eliminate such tired policies as prohibiting the use of social media in the workplace, and overcome their fears about the security of storing company information on the web.

“While the world of organizational life today may seem bafflingly complex, in many ways the more complex it gets, the simpler it gets,” writes Bernard. “Rather than trying to micromanage all the countless variables you cannot control, you need only manage the one you can control: the people who work in your organization who can come up with the ideas that cumulatively will create and sustain your competitive advantage.”

BUSINESS AT THE SPEED OF NOW provides the cutting edge insights needed to achieve the high level of mass action and mass engagement that can usher in a new era of customer satisfaction, innovation, and profits. As Teresa Roche, Chief Learning Officer of Agilent Technologies, says, “This book connects many dots from the past and present with the future and simplifies what can appear daunting and complex for today’s leaders . . . Thank you John for being a GPS in today’s highly evolving environment.”

See More
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