Compass, Creating Exceptional Organizations: A Leader's Guide
by William F. Brandt, Jr.
Winter Vale Press

"While this book acknowledges that the pursuit of self-interest has benefited society, it offers a new, more powerful paradigm (for American industry)—namely, the simultaneous pursuit of both 'self-interest' and 'concern for others.'"

Hard to put down and easy to read, a new paradigm of building Exceptional Organizations is introduced by the former CEO of the American Woodmark corporation, Mr. W. Brandt. The paradigm promotes the pursuit of both self-interest and a concern for others as the heart of any for-profit or non-profit entity. Much like a Compassionate Conservative, the lessons of profit and viability are closely connected with moral values and beliefs showing care and concern for, and by, all stakeholders. Though there are organizations that do have a respectful stakeholder culture combined with profitability and vision fulfillment, many do not.

How do businesses and nonprofits remain viable, sustainable and valued? Are there lessons and tools of a practical nature that can be used and adapted for tomorrow's leaders? Compass is a "how-to book intended for those leaders who, in their hearts and minds, are already committed to creating organizations consistent with the new paradigm, but who have not yet found a vehicle for getting there."

The 7-Step Process in Chapter 27 turns the traditional way of allocating time upside down. Instead of the normal "bias toward action," practitioners are taught to primarily focus on creating the vision and understanding the current reality, which makes the action steps more achievable and relatively obvious.

Whether running better meetings, working in teams, resolving ethical dilemmas, or having healthy debates focused on seeking the truth rather than winning the argument, the lessons paint an inspiring picture using credible tools that seem easy to implement. The graphics and layout of the book add to its value. Additionally, the idea of holding leadership retreats which help practitioners discover and understand this new paradigm shows commitment to the long-term paradigm shift by the author who acts as a consultant and mentor. Leaders of all stripes can benefit from the Brandt's actual experiences and wise guidance.

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