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Just Start

by Paul B. Brown Leonard A. Schlesinger Charles F. Kiefer

How to succeed at work and life-in an increasingly unpredictable worldIn a world where you can no longer plan or predict your way to success, how can you achieve your most important goals? It's a daunting question. But in today's environment, where change is the only constant, it's a question everyone must answer. This is true whether you are an innovator or an entrepreneur, a manager or a newly minted graduate.The first step, say the authors of this book, is this: "Just start." In other words, take action now and learn as you go.Written by a trio of seasoned business leaders, Just Start combines fascinating research with proven practices to deliver a reliable method for helping you advance toward your goals-despite the uncertainty that is all too common today. Babson College President Leonard Schlesinger, organizational learning expert Charles Kiefer, and veteran journalist Paul B. Brown share their own deep and varied experiences and draw from a source where striving amid constant uncertainty actually works: the world of serial entrepreneurship. In this world, people don't just think differently-they act differently, as well.Using this novel approach, Just Start will help you: Determine the best strategy and tactics when the future is uncertain Minimize financial risk in every decision you make Attract like-minded people to what you want to do (and learn why this is important) Understand why "Act. Learn. Build (so you can) Act again" is the best course of action when facing the unknownSo throw out your forecasting tools and shrug off that nagging frustration that comes with constant uncertainty. Just Start distills for you the very essence of what makes people successful in today's volatile environment. This book is your guide to achieving your goals-whether your project is professional or personal, or somewhere in between.

Own Your Future

by Paul B. Brown Leonard A. Schlesinger Charles F. Kiefer

It used to be that if you studied and worked hard, you could be assured of an extremely satisfying career. But in a world of constant layoffs and dying industries, it has become increasingly difficult to "plan" your way to success. So what is the solution? Well, when it comes to dealing with uncertainty, nobody handles it better than successful entrepreneurs. That's why you want to take the same approach they do! Based on extensive research and interviews, Own Your Future shows how to apply the simple model they use--Act. Learn. Build. Repeat--to reinvent the way you maneuver in an unpredictable job market. Here's how it works. Instead of picturing your perfect career and working backwards, simply begin with the direction you want to go and take a small step. Thinking alone will never change your life--you must ACT. Then evaluate the lessons you learn from that first step, build on them, and take another step in your desired direction. Repeat this process until you have achieved your goal. When you consider that your job--perhaps even your industry--may disappear, you have no choice but to take control. Filled with stories of professionals of all kinds who have profited from this proactive approach, Own Your Future gives you the tools you need to succeed--no matter what comes your way.

Service Profit Chain

by James L. Heskett W. Earl Sasser Leonard A. Schlesinger

Why are a select few service firms better at what they do -- year in and year out -- than their competitors? For most senior managers, the profusion of anecdotal "service excellence" books fails to address this key question. In this pathbreaking book, world-renowned Harvard Business School service firm experts James L. Heskett, W. Earl Sasser, Jr. and Leonard A. Schlesinger reveal that leading companies stay on top by managing the service profit chain. Based on five years of painstaking research, the authors show how managers at American Express, Southwest Airlines, Banc One, Waste Management, USAA, MBNA, Intuit, British Airways, Taco Bell, Fairfield Inns, Ritz-Carlton Hotel, and the Merry Maids subsidiary of ServiceMaster employ a quantifiable set of relationships that directly links profit and growth to not only customer loyalty and satisfaction, but to employee loyalty, satisfaction, and productivity. The strongest relationships the authors discovered are those between (1) profit and customer loyalty; (2) employee loyalty and customer loyalty; and (3) employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. Moreover, these relationships are mutually reinforcing; that is, satisfied customers contribute to employee satisfaction and vice versa. Here, finally, is the foundation for a powerful strategic service vision, a model on which any manager can build more focused operations and marketing capabilities. For example, the authors demonstrate how, in Banc One's operating divisions, a direct relationship between customer loyalty measured by the "depth" of a relationship, the number of banking services a customer utilizes, and profitability led the bank to encourage existing customers to further extend the bank services they use. Taco Bell has found that their stores in the top quadrant of customer satisfaction ratings outperform their other stores on all measures. At American Express Travel Services, offices that ticket quickly and accurately are more profitable than those which don't. With hundreds of examples like these, the authors show how to manage the customer-employee "satisfaction mirror" and the customer value equation to achieve a "customer's eye view" of goods and services. They describe how companies in any service industry can (1) measure service profit chain relationships across operating units; (2) communicate the resulting self-appraisal; (3) develop a "balanced scorecard" of performance; (4) develop a recognitions and rewards system tied to established measures; (5) communicate results company-wide; (6) develop an internal "best practice" information exchange; and (7) improve overall service profit chain performance. What difference can service profit chain management make? A lot. Between 1986 and 1995, the common stock prices of the companies studied by the authors increased 147%, nearly twice as fast as the price of the stocks of their closest competitors. The proven success and high-yielding results from these high-achieving companies will make The Service Profit Chain required reading for senior, division, and business unit managers in all service companies, as well as for students of service management.

The Value Profit Chain

by James L. Heskett W. Earl Sasser Leonard A. Schlesinger

James Heskett, Earl Sasser, and Leonard Schlesinger reveal powerful new evidence that paying close attention to the employee-customer relationship will enable any organization to be a low-cost provider and achieve superior results -- proving that you can have it all, a goal thought inadvisable just a few short years ago. At the heart of this bold assertion is the authors' indisputable conclusion supported by thirty-one years of groundbreaking research: today's employee satisfaction, loyalty, and commitment strongly influences tomorrow's customer satisfaction, loyalty, and commitment and ultimately the organization's profit and growth -- a quantifiable set of associations the authors call the value profit chain. In what may be the most far-reaching study ever undertaken of the strategic importance of the employee-customer relationship, Heskett, Sasser, and Schlesinger offer profound new insights into the life-long value of both employees and customers and the increasingly important concept of employee-relationship management. Readers will discover how organizations as diverse as aluminum maker Alcoa, travel agency Rosenbluth International, and the Willow Creek Community Church treat employees like customers (in the case of Willow Creek, volunteers as well). Conversely, the authors show how advertising agency Merkley Newman Harty and financial services provider ING Direct treat customers like employees, pursuing the ones they want most. At the Vanguard Group, Cisco Systems, and Southwest Airlines, both practices are common. The authors explain how these organizations and many others -- whether large or small, public or private, or not-for-profit -- achieve profitability and growth or the equivalent by leveraging results and process quality to deliver differentiated products and services at the lowest cost. Timely, essential, and important reading, The Value Profit Chain should be readily accessible on the desk of every forward-thinking manager.

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