Business At The Speed Of Now by John M. Bernard - Book review

Business at the Speed of Now

Fire Up Your People, Thrill Your Customers, and Crush Your Competitors

By: John M. Bernard

Published: December 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1118054016
ISBN-13: 978-1118054017
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

"Customers increasingly demand a yes answer to each and every question they ask. They want what they want, and they want it now", writes founder and chairman of Mass Ingenuity, John M. Bernard in his insightful and practical book Business at the Speed of Now: Fire Up Your People, Thrill Your Customers, and Crush Your Competitors. The author describes how in an age of mass customization, it's essential for organizations to empower all of their employees to act quickly and decisively to take full advantage of opportunities as they arise in real time.

John Bernard recognizes that standard management practices are unsuited to cope with the marketplace sea change from the age of mass production to the age of mass individualization. Managers in many companies fail to understand that the demands on employees, by their more empowered customers, are stifled by outdated management practices. Because of this enormous shift in customer expectations, employees are being asked to deliver more than than they have the authority or tools to provide, causing a rift with customers. John Bernard offers an innovative and transformational alternative approach that empowers and engages employees at all levels, provides managers with better data for decision making, and removes obstacles for leadership and innovation.

John M. Bernard (photo left) understands that the marketplace has changed in radical ways, and that the management tools and techniques of even a few years ago, are insufficient for today's reality. The author proposes an end to micro-managing, which is not even possible in contemporary organizations. Instead, John Bernard proposes that managers engage employees to propose and develop fresh ideas for meeting the challenge of today's more demanding customers. The author emphasizes that managers must leverage the power of social media, cloud computing, and the millennial mindset, to achieve success.

Instead of counterproductive policies, including the banning of on the job social media usage and fears of cloud information storage, the author proposes the removal of fear in the workplace. John Bernard recommends that business leaders think in terms of NOW management and its revolutionary goals:

* Removing fear in the workplace
* Reducing variation in all areas of the business
* Overcoming the barriers that prevent change toward empowerment

For me, the power of the book is how John M. Bernard combines the theory of transforming a company to NOW Management, with the tools and strategies for achieving the NOW goals. The author understands completely that traditional management practices are standing in the way of employee engagement. The desire for control is also an outmoded concept that no longer works in a social media, cloud computing, and empowered employee organization. Control is simply no longer possible as today's customer will simply turn to another company for their products and services. To bolster his case, John Bernard shares data, case studies, and anecdotes of companies succeeding through the NOW formula, and their engaged employees becoming more productive, providing more value and profit for the company.

I highly recommend the inspirational and empowering book Business at the Speed of Now: Fire Up Your People, Thrill Your Customers, and Crush Your Competitors by John M. Bernard, to any business leaders and managers who are seeking a fresh and effective strategy to compete effectively in today's highly competitive marketplace. The transformation from an organization of fear to one of engagement will improve employee performance, boost the bottom line, and distance your company from the lagging competition.

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