The Four Pillars of High Performance

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9780071448796: The Four Pillars of High Performance

How to stay on course and achieve extraordinary performance in a sea of change

In today's change-or-die business environment, companies that achieve the highest levels of performance are "robust organizations"--those that adapt quickly and without losing their strategic direction. Distilling decades of research conducted by Rand, one of the nation's most respected business think tanks, The Four Pillars of High Performance explores the strategies to truly manage change. Using examples, author Paul C. Light extracts powerful lessons for managers and executives, and he provides readers with:

  • Never-before-published research by Rand on the shared traits of the highest-performing companies
  • Cutting-edge techniques for improving performance across an organization
  • Valuable insights into the five major attributes of agility, alignment, metrics, incentives, and impact
  • Case studies and vignettes drawn from the experiences of industry leaders in every sector

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From the Author:

I wrote The Four Pillars of High Performance to help today’s organizations deal with the increasing uncertainty that surrounds them. Organizations must do more than just plan on uncertainty, however. They must also be alert to changing circumstances, agile in hedging against surprises and exploiting opportunities, adaptive in addressing new markets, and aligned around a clear mission to excel. In a word, they must become more robust—able to take a punch from a range of futures, but also able to shape the future that they want.

Drawing upon hundreds of reports, in-depth interviews with more than 100 senior researchers, and an internet survey, I start The Four Pillars of High Performance by summarizing the four problems that plague organizations as they struggle to confront uncertainty: ignorance of important information about the future, inflexibility in responding to surprises and unexpected events, indifference toward changing circumstances and markets, and inconsistency in the commitment to high performance. These four vulnerabilities would be difficult to manage under low uncertainty, but, as The Four Pillars argues, organizations face increasing uncertainty as the revolutions in living things, materials and manufacturing, information, global commerce, and strategies multiply. Organizations can either deal with the uncertainty by getting robust, or perish.

The rest of The Four Pillars provides detailed advice on what matters most to high performance, how organizations can strengthen their ability to manage uncertainty, and what they can do to actually implement successful change.

From the Back Cover:

In 1999, Paul C. Light embarked on an ambitious project which, if successful, would provide business organizations with a powerful new tool for navigating the turbulent sea of change that is today's global business environment. A guide to achieving and maintaining superlative performance in a highly unpredictable world, this book is the fruit of that endeavor. In it you will learn proven methods for hardening your organization against the surprises and risks of an uncertain future. And you will learn how to maintain a competitive edge in an increasingly competitive global economy by being the first to identify and capitalize on the most promising opportunities for growth.

In researching The Four Pillars of High Performance Dr. Light had unprecedented access to the vast information resources of The RAND Corporation―an international leader in the study of organizational performance for nearly six decades. He also surveyed more than 125 senior RAND researchers about their experiences with organizations of all types and sizes, and spent four years gathering information about what RAND has learned about creating and sustaining high performance. What gradually emerged was a portrait of the “robust organization”―that rare organization which possesses both the agility to adjust to changes in the business environment, at a moment’s notice, and the compass needed to maintain a steady fix on its strategic horizons.

With the help of many fascinating and instructive case studies and vignettes, Paul Light takes us inside a number of robust organizations across a range of business sectors, as well as in government, the military, and more. From the examples set by Volvo, Intel, Marriot, DuPont and many other world-class performers, he extracts the four key traits common to all robust organizations:

1. Alertness: Spotting fluctuations as they emerge--not after their effects have already been felt

2. Agility: Empowering employees with the authority to make routine decisions, reducing barriers between units, encouraging participatory management, and fostering open communications

3. Adaptability: Changing with circumstances and taking advantage of new opportunities as they arise

4. Alignment: Saturating the organization with information and providing effective information technology

Combining the wisdom of a leading national expert on organizational performance with more than five decades of research conducted by one of the world's oldest and most revered think tanks, The Four Pillars of High Performance is an indispensable and unprecedented blueprint for transforming any company into a robust organization.

Paul C. Light is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service at the The Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, and he holds the Dillon Chair at the Brookings Institution where he established the Center for Public Service, in 1999. The author of 19 books on business, public service, and education, he is a familiar voice on NPR's "Morning Edition" and a well-known public speaker on organizational life.

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Book Description McGraw-Hill Education - Europe, United States, 2005. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In 1999, Paul C. Light embarked on an ambitious project which, if successful, would provide business organizations with a powerful new tool for navigating the turbulent sea of change that is today s global business environment. A guide to achieving and maintaining superlative performance in a highly unpredictable world, this book is the fruit of that endeavour. In it you will learn proven methods for hardening your organization against the surprises and risks of an uncertain future. And you will learn how to maintain a competitive edge in an increasingly competitive global economy by being the first to identify and capitalize on the most promising opportunities for growth. In researching The Four Pillars of High Performance Dr. Light had unprecedented access to the vast information resources of The RAND Corporation - an international leader in the study of organizational performance for nearly six decades. He also surveyed more than 125 senior RAND researchers about their experiences with organizations of all types and sizes, and spent four years gathering information about what RAND has learned about creating and sustaining high performance. What gradually emerged was a portrait of the robust organization - that rare organization which possesses both the agility to adjust to changes in the business environment, at a moment s notice, and the compass needed to maintain a steady fix on its strategic horizons. With the help of many fascinating and instructive case studies and vignettes, Paul Light takes us inside a number of robust organizations across a range of business sectors, as well as in government, the military, and more. From the examples set by Volvo, Intel, Marriot, DuPont and many other world-class performers, he extracts the four key traits common to all robust organizations: Alertness - Spotting fluctuations as they emerge, not after their effects have already been felt; Agility - Empowering employees with the authority to make routine decisions, reducing barriers between units, encouraging participatory management, and fostering open communications; Adaptability - Changing with circumstances and taking advantage of new opportunities as they arise; and, Alignment - Saturating the organization with information and providing effective information technology. Combining the wisdom of a leading national expert on organizational performance with more than five decades of research conducted by one of the world s oldest and most revered think tanks, The Four Pillars of High Performance is an indispensable and unprecedented blueprint for transforming any company into a robust organization. Paul C. Light is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service at the The Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, and he holds the Dillon Chair at the Brookings Institution where he established the Center for Public Service, in 1999. The author of 19 books on business, public service, and education, he is a familiar voice on NPR s Morning Edition and a well-known public speaker on organizational life. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780071448796

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Book Description McGraw-Hill Education - Europe, United States, 2005. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In 1999, Paul C. Light embarked on an ambitious project which, if successful, would provide business organizations with a powerful new tool for navigating the turbulent sea of change that is today s global business environment. A guide to achieving and maintaining superlative performance in a highly unpredictable world, this book is the fruit of that endeavour. In it you will learn proven methods for hardening your organization against the surprises and risks of an uncertain future. And you will learn how to maintain a competitive edge in an increasingly competitive global economy by being the first to identify and capitalize on the most promising opportunities for growth. In researching The Four Pillars of High Performance Dr. Light had unprecedented access to the vast information resources of The RAND Corporation - an international leader in the study of organizational performance for nearly six decades. He also surveyed more than 125 senior RAND researchers about their experiences with organizations of all types and sizes, and spent four years gathering information about what RAND has learned about creating and sustaining high performance. What gradually emerged was a portrait of the robust organization - that rare organization which possesses both the agility to adjust to changes in the business environment, at a moment s notice, and the compass needed to maintain a steady fix on its strategic horizons. With the help of many fascinating and instructive case studies and vignettes, Paul Light takes us inside a number of robust organizations across a range of business sectors, as well as in government, the military, and more. From the examples set by Volvo, Intel, Marriot, DuPont and many other world-class performers, he extracts the four key traits common to all robust organizations: Alertness - Spotting fluctuations as they emerge, not after their effects have already been felt; Agility - Empowering employees with the authority to make routine decisions, reducing barriers between units, encouraging participatory management, and fostering open communications; Adaptability - Changing with circumstances and taking advantage of new opportunities as they arise; and, Alignment - Saturating the organization with information and providing effective information technology. Combining the wisdom of a leading national expert on organizational performance with more than five decades of research conducted by one of the world s oldest and most revered think tanks, The Four Pillars of High Performance is an indispensable and unprecedented blueprint for transforming any company into a robust organization. Paul C. Light is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service at the The Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, and he holds the Dillon Chair at the Brookings Institution where he established the Center for Public Service, in 1999. The author of 19 books on business, public service, and education, he is a familiar voice on NPR s Morning Edition and a well-known public speaker on organizational life. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780071448796

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