This is a discussion of the book "Practically Radical: Not-so-crazy ways to transform your company, shake up your industry, and challenge yourself" by William C. Taylor (William Morrow: 2011).
At THNK, we have high regard for William Taylor. As co-founder of our beloved Fast Company, he has significantly influenced the global conversation about business leadership. By writing this book, he further shapes his aspiration to help leaders bring about change by cultivating collaborative leadership. Surely, this engaging read will hit home for business people that are facing the challenges of change and innovation.
In his book, Taylor has identified and defined the challenges of change. He takes us on a tour of twenty-five highly adaptive pioneering companies that are actually thriving in today’s challenging business environment that is characterized by a volatile global economy. One of the best feats of the book is that it actually translates relatively abstract notions into practical recommendations, illustrated by examples from the real world. The urgent message:
“Don’t use the long shadow of economic crisis and slow recovery as an excuse to downsize your dreams or stop taking chances. The challenge for leaders in every field is to emerge from turbulent times with closer connections to their customers, with more energy and creativity from their people, and with greater distance between them and their rivals.”
How do they do it? According to Taylor, it’s all about the power of radical thinking that can transform companies and, not least importantly, its human components: management and staff. It helps them to nurture and tap into their collective intelligence and mobilize “collective capability”. All of this is inspired by the fact that the most powerful ideas can (and often do) come from the most unexpected places. Tremendous amounts of expertise tend to be buried deep inside organizations. Today, meaningful leadership is about knowing how to expose it. This allows for the mobilization of support for the type of radical reform and innovation that is needed to thrive in today’s fast-paced and quickly changing business environment.