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The Art of What Works: How Success Really Happens

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How to Find Effective Solutions for Any Business Problem--By Recognizing and Building On the Successes of Others

"There is nothing new under the sun."

Though coined more than 2,000 years back, this truism has straight-line relevance to today's business world. Because while every business situation you confront is unique, it is invariably made of questions and elements that have been confronted--and solved--by others before you. The Art of What Works outlines a step-by-step program for understanding how and why others succeeded, and then drawing on their successes to help solve your own business problems. Outlining an approach that is exceedingly straightforward yet dramatically effective, this landmark book will help you to:

  • Systematically draw on the past successes of others to fuel innovations of your own
  • Lead effectively by learning how to construct one, dramatic solution from several elements
  • Overcome obstacles that prevent good ideas from taking shape, and rising to the top

What has worked in the past, more often than not, will work again in a new combination. The Art of What Works reveals how to transform this intuitive observation into a structured program designed to save time, energy, and money for both yourself and your organization, by giving you the freedom to recognize--and rely on--the simplicity of what works.

"The operative assumption is that someone, somewhere, has a better idea; and the operative compulsion is to find out who has that better idea, learn it, and put it into action--fast."

--Jack Welch

Few individuals in business history can match the bottom-line success of former GE CEO Jack Welch. Welch has become a business school archetype for corporate innovation and impact by working almost exclusively from one strategic credo--while you can seek new and innovative solutions to suit your present needs, you can only, in the end, do what has already been done.

As simple as it may appear, that credo is actually the profound secret to achieving breakthrough success. The Art of What Works presents principles, tools, and examples for observing what has worked and what hasn't in the real world. The key is in understanding and benefiting from coup d'oeil, the sideways glance that allows you to use existing knowledge to power your own endeavors. Cutting against the conventional wisdom of "original is best"--which was the principal driver behind the dot.com and telecom debacles--this insightful and practical guide features:

  • Examination of today's three leading schools of strategy--and how the art of what works improves each one
  • Guidelines for consistently getting results-driven, "highly calculable" success by first understanding the achievements of others
  • Examples of the art of what works in action, from Ray Kroc to Bill Gates, Disney to Du Pont

About the AuthorWilliam Duggan, Ph.D. is a former strategy advisor for The Ford Foundation and is a visiting professor at Columbia Business School. A former economic consultant for the World Bank, USAID, and Winrock International, Duggan is a popular speaker on strategy.

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