Business thinking between the covers

Leadership – It’s in Your DNA

Rhea Duttagupta, Bloomsbury, €24.99

Your leadership DNA is as integral to you as your biological DNA is the proposition of author Rhea Duttagupta, a consultant and former director of accountants PwC, in this interesting book.

Leadership DNA consists of 10 elements, she says. Among these are expression; the way we look, sound, behave, along with what we say; resilience, our inbuilt tenacity to bounce back and use adversity as opportunity; our ability to harness fear as a positive; focus, our determination to concentrate on what matters; luck, our capacity to make and destroy it.

In writing the book, Duttagupta draws on five fields to support her instincts. These are: psychology, sociology, organisational behaviour, anthropology and neurogenesis. The book, she says, is an antidote to mediocrity – a limiting handicap in our path to leadership. Mediocrity, she argues, is about fitting in and staying safe which lack stimulation.

To become a true leader you need to circumvent mediocrity and write and direct your own script rather than being a passive participant in your life story. Others may help in this process, but ultimately you need to scriptwrite, she says.

Managing Global Innovation

Yves L Doz and Keeley Wilson, Harvard Business Review Press, €29.99

Until recently, it was sufficient for firms to innovate in their home markets and to then disseminate those innovations across other markets but this is no longer a valid strategy.

Now innovation needs to draw on dispersed and differentiated competencies, markets and customer insights from around the world and become truly global.

That’s the central message in this well-researched book, written by two academics from one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools Insead.

They say companies need to operate a more globally integrated approach with new structures, processes and mindsets or they will face inevitable decline. They then go on to provide a road map for how managers should reposition their organisations.

While many firms recognise the challenges, few are well positioned to respond. The authors offer frameworks to help. A key starting point is to understand what knowledge is needed for innovation and where it is located.

This process should involve establishing a working group from a range of functions and geographies.

The Change Book

Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschappeler, Profile Books, €12.99

From the authors of the best-selling The Decision Book, comes this pocket-sized follow-up which contains 50 models to explain how things happen. While its range is wider than pure business, much of it covers issues that managers should find useful in decision making.

The book is broken into easily digestible segments of a few hundred words with a graphic model for each concept.

The authors collaborated with a Norwegian designer whose job is to visualise the change process of a large Scandinavian bank and his models attempt to explain what cannot be easily grasped in words.

The authors have extracted ideas from a wide variety of sources and have distilled much published research and theory to which they have added their own conclusions. By their own admission, none of the ideas is explored in great depth. It’s more an invitation to explore.

Nonetheless, there are some interesting and thought-provoking ideas including explanations of why cities are the new nations, why the free market doesn’t work, when something starts to be “uncool” and why we don’t have any time.

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