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Advance review of "The Reinventors"
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Book Review by Jim Pawlak
Biz Books
(Column for 04/29/12)
April 29, 2012

"The Reinventors: How Extraordinary Companies Pursue Radical Continuous Change" by Jason Jennings (Portfolio, $26.95.)

Continuous improvement comes in two forms:

  1. Benchmarking (You’re copying what’s already been done; while it’s new to you, you’re always on the dull edge.)

  2. Reinvention (You know that what got you to Point A won’t get you to point B; so it’s always time for change.) Where would you rather be? A few steps behind your competition? Or at least a step ahead of them.

Those committing to "a step ahead" attract and keep the best talent. Why? A culture of growth presents résumé-building opportunity. Sustainability aligns with growth as well because customers want change – usually much faster than a company can. Unless a company grows, it won’t meet their customers’ needs and won’t have profits to plow back into its business.

Jennings sees radical (i.e. you haven’t done it before) continuous change as akin to kissing a lot of frogs rather than searching that one big thing. Radical though the change may be, it’s more likely evolutionary rather than revolutionary. So how many frogs should you kiss? "Make as many small bets as you have people responsible for making them happen and sufficient financial resources to maximize the odds of success."

To improve the long-term odds, learn from frogs that don’t turn into princes. And look to the princes for clues about your encore. Small bets must have SMARTS -Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Resourced, Timed and Scalable. And when you find a prince, you need a quick-into-play introduction plan.

To improve the success odds, your bettors have to share their knowledge. Encourage their ideas with positive "yes, and how,.." feedback. No skunking of ideas. Making mistakes is OK; covering them up isn’t.

It’s up to management to set and keep the tone and beat. See the sense of things before making judgments about them. "Making sense" forces you to "look for the rest of the story, the logic the other person sees in what he is saying." Be interested, not interesting.

The bottom line: Try anything. If it works, spread the word. If it doesn’t, learn and move on.

"All Work, No Pay: Finding an Internship, Building your Résumé, Making Connections, and Gaining Job Experience" by Lauren Berger (Ten Speed Press, $12.99.) The college student’s lament: "All the jobs require experience. How can I get the experience?" Internships. Not only do they increase your job opportunities, they usually increase your starting salary.

How do you begin your search? It starts with time management. In her junior year, Berger managed two internships, worked as a waitress part-time, carried a full class load– and still enjoyed college life. How? She organized her class and work schedule to free up time for her internships. In doing so, she realized the difference between free time and empty time.

What’s next? Finding specific employers.

    Resource #1: Your school’s career center. Talk with the counselors. They built relationships with HR staff in numerous firms in a variety of industries. Stay on their radar screen through scheduled appointments.

    Resource #2: Online. Berger’s website, internqueen.com, lists internships. Additional sources are indeed.com, juju.com and simply hired.com. I checked out internships.com; it lists over 60,000 internships. Part of using online resources relates to your use of social media. Employers will check you out. Make sure your pictures and comments make a positive impression.

    Resource #3: Pick it and land it. Make friends with Google. While searching for her internships, Berger created a list of potentials by Googling "public relations companies in Tallahassee FL." Then she went to the companies’ websites and did her homework. It paid off.

Her best advice: Know what kind of internship you want. Just like a paying job, choose something you’ll be excited to do.

    All the best!

    Jim Pawlak
    "Biz Books"


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