AUTHOR: Andrew Kakabadse
PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury: ISBN 978-1-4729-1684-6
What’s it about? Well, er – Leadership actually. Although somewhat buried in annoying consult- sleaze vocabulary, the author works hard at proving that, “value-delivery-led organizations approach value creation differently.”According to professor Kakabadse (who’s a professor of governance and strategic leadership at Henley),“ in these organizations, the leadership gathers evidence from internal and external stakeholders to determine the value of the organization.” And lucky for the outcome, (otherwise no book), “the research led to a fascinating insight – superior stakeholder engagement is a happy by-product of relentless superior value delivery.
Who’s it for? Well, for leaders. Especially those lost and wandering in the middle moral ground. Kakabadse has a good old time with some of the more recent corporate baddies, but that’s OK too. Whatever you may think of the content you’ll learn a lot.
Why read it? Although it is clearly sponsored by global headhunter Heidrick & Struggles, it is a very useful reminder of what CEOs and business leaders were put on earth for. It makes it clear that when the going gets tough, the good ones know what to do.
What’s the style? Professor Kakabadse is not Mr Excitement in the writing department, but he does make sense. There aren’t many big thoughts, but research is solid and comprehensive, readers will be rewarded with a simple formula for getting it right if you follow the menu.
… and the best advice. We especially liked (page 64, to make it easy) the references to commander’s intent, that dates to Admiral Nelson and the Napoleonic Wars. One reason, the book opines, was that Nelson won so many battles because he and the other captains had a clear set of principles of behaviour. In business, the analogy is the non-negotiable principles of the business and the ability to push decisions to the front line, means that everyone just knows what to do.
… and if only time to read one chapter? Has to be Chapter 5 – Alignment. Crammed with good advice and ideas and the politics section is terrific too.
How MCE Rate it? Four stars, with one star left off for being on the boring side, Professor Kakabadse would be terrific if he could learn to use the power of enthusiasm and adjectival description a little more, But all in all. A good book for under the Christmas tree when you want to hide out from your mother-in law in the festive season!