The Soft Edge
Where Great Companies Find Lasting SuccessBook - 2014
What Does it Take to Get Ahead Now--And StayThere?
High performance has always required shrewd strategy and superbexecution. These factors remain critical, especially giventoday's unprecedented business climate. But RichKarlgaard--Forbes publisher, entrepreneur, investor, and boarddirector--takes a surprising turn and argues that there is nowa third element that's required for competitive advantage. Itfosters innovation, it accelerates strategy and execution, and itcannot be copied or bought. It is found in a perhaps surprisingplace--your company's values.
Karlgaard examined a variety of enduring companies and foundthat they have one thing in common; all have leveraged theirdeepest values alongside strategy and execution, allowing them tofuel growth as well as weather hard times. Karlgaard shares thesestories and identifies the five key variables that make up everyorganization's "soft edge":Trust: Northwestern Mutual has built a $25 milliondollar revenue juggernaut on trust, the foundation of lastingsuccess. Learn how to create an environment that engenders trustand propels high performance. Smarts: In most technical fields your formal educationquickly becomes out of date. How do you keep up? Learn how the MayoClinic, Stanford University women's basketball team, andothers stay on top by relentlessly pursuing an advantage throughsmarts. Teamwork: Since collaboration and innovation are a mustin the global economy, effective teamwork is vital. Learn howglobal giant FedEx stays focused and how nimble Nest Labs relies onlean teams with cognitive diversity. Taste: Clever product design and integration are proxiesfor intelligence because they make customers feel smart. But tastegoes further into deep emotional engagement. Specialized Bicyclescalls it "the elusive spot between data truth and humantruth." How can you consistently make products or servicesthat trigger these emotional touch points? Story: Companies that achieve lasting success have anenduring and emotionally appealing story. What's yourcompany's story? How do you tell it your way? Gain theability to create a powerful narrative in a world where outsidersoften exercise the louder voice.