The Ultimate Book of Business Thinking - Des Dearlove
Ultimate Business Thinking100For those dealing with change or working with people facing change this is an invaluable reference book. It’s subtitled ‘Harnessing the Power of the World’s Greatest Business Ideas’ which I think over eggs the pudding a little, but in its around 300 pages it does a pretty good job of introducing most of the improvement initiatives you are likely to come across.

It is structured in alphabetical order by name of initiative and covers around 50 business ideas, tools or techniques from Action Learning to The Virtual Organisation. A quick calculation reveals that there are 5-6 pages for each topic but this is ample space to provide an overview and each is supported by a list of further reading should you wish to find out more.

What I like about the book is that it doesn’t present a purely technical summary but also includes some personal perspectives and reflections on the approach, its application and the way in which it is perceived. For example the section on downsizing identifies the major problems that this approach created in companies who shed jobs and also the failed politically correct attempts to rebadge it as ‘rightsizing’. In addition each entry has a section called ‘Ideas into Action’ which provides a brief example of the approach used in a real business environment. These sections provide some real insights into the application of the approaches.

I like the fact that the book doesn’t set out to advocate any of the approaches, but provides a very useful introduction which can form the basis for further reading. If you find yourself in the sea of acronyms applied to the current fashions of business improvement this will help you unscramble your JIT from your BPR and your Emotional Intelligence from your Strategic Inflection Point.

Here for information is the list of business ideas covered.
Action Learning - Activity-based Costing - Adhocracy - Agility - The Balanced Scorecard - Benchmarking - Boston Matrix - Broadbanding - Channel Management - Core Competencies - Core Values - Crisis Management - Decision Theory (including Kepner-Tregoe and Ringi) - Discounted Cash Flow - Downsizing - E-Commerce (including Customer Relationship Management) - Emotional Intelligence - Employability - Empowerment - Four Ps of Marketing - Game Theory - Intellectual Capital - Interim Management - Just in Time (JIT) (Kanban) - Kaizen (Quality Circles) - Knowledge Management - Leadership - Lean Production - The Learning Organisation - The Managerial Grid (Blake Mouton) - Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs - Matrix Model - Outsourcing - Porter’s Five Competitive Forces - The Psychological Contract - Re-engineering (BPR) - Relationship Marketing - Scenario Planning - Scientific Management - Seven S Framework - The Shamrock Organisation - Shareholder Value - Strategic Inflection Point - Strategic Management - Succession Planning - Supply Chain Management - Theories X and Y (and Z) - Thought Leadership - 360-degree Feedback - Time-based Competition - TQM and the Quality Movement - The Transnational Organisation - Value Innovation - The Virtual Organisation

Steve Unwin January 11 2004.