by Stephen M. Dent and James H. Krefft (Davies-Black Publishing, $28.95)
If you are sitting on the train reading this, thinking that what makes your company great is your unique products, great people, or efficient processes, you are wrong. Go ahead, turn to your seatmate and admit it. Tell him or her that what makes your company great is the set of dynamic relationships that exist from the top on down and out to your suppliers and partners, a little thing I like to call culture.
Now we all know from experience that any attempt to build a partnership, whether between individuals or companies, requires a keen understanding of culture. Every company I have ever been involved with is more than a collection of "cubes" and desktops. Companies are living, breathing organisms and they need to be fed right or they croak. If you want to construct a partnership, this book should be part of your first meal.
Authors Dent and Krefft present a surprisingly practical and understandable step-by-step guide to achieving results through partnerships. Focus your attention specifically on Chapter 3, "Shaping Your Culture with the Powerhouse Partnership Model," and on Chapter 5, "Redesigning Your Organization as a Partnering Network." The concepts in these two chapters make up the fundamentals of the partnership process. Don't miss the section of Chapter 5 called "Why Organization Structure Matters." In about two pages, it will change your thinking about how people working together for a common purpose should organize themselves for fun and profit.
Pick up this book whenever you are looking through your Johari Window for new ideas. —S.C.