INDISPENSABLE: Build and Lead a Company Customers Can’t Live Without
In a world where every business seemingly has a mission and vision statement up on the wall, a brand story to share, and a series of feel-good statements about what they value, how many of them are truly essential for their customers? This is the question James M. Kerr puts forward and explores in his latest book, INDISPENSABLE: Build and Lead a Company Customers Can’t Live Without.
Written with the authority of someone who has seen more than his share of what works and what doesn’t, Kerr reveals the essential elements of his framework, his Indispensable Agenda. In each chapter, he presents his practical insights supported by real-world examples. Key points are numbered and bulleted for easy reference, and important information is summarized and listed in an Indispensable Top-Ten List. As promised by the author, the book is easy to consume, understand, and reference by those wanting to make a difference in their organization.
Starting where every successful transformation does, Kerr outlines the case for change. He challenges us to look at ourselves and our organizations through the eyes of our customers – their wants, their needs. This becomes the staging point for the journey towards doing things “right” and each chapter serves as a mile marker we need to reach before we can come to our destination.
Having spent many years at the junction of change leadership, organizational development, and performance improvement, I recognize the importance of getting the right people, in the right seat, on the right bus, going in the right direction. That’s not easy! But Kerr makes it achievable as he lays out his Indispensable Agenda that includes the Right: Leadership, Vision, Culture, People, Trust and Empowerment, and Change Management Practices. All these elements are explored, discussed, and explained thoroughly to provide a detailed roadmap to success.
Finally, as Kerr himself notes, perfection is elusive, and the business environment can change in an instant. For that reason, getting to the top is not enough. Leaders need to stay vigilant and continue the work to ensure lasting indispensability.
You can view this book as a field guide full of best practices. You can also view it as a collection of focused and well-researched articles. Either way, INDISPENSABLE is a book that you can reach for over and over again. Open to any chapter and you'll find insights and great advice to guide your team towards doing things "right". Whether you are new to your leadership role or a veteran of the boardroom, this book has something special for you to take and apply. And through this application, you can help your organization become Indispensable to your customers. Isn't that a worthwhile goal?
Review by Kon Apostolopoulos: Kon is an international speaker and award-winning coach, an expert in improving individual and organizational performance, and the co-author of 7 Keys to Navigating a Crisis: A Practical Guide to Dealing with Pandemics and Other Disasters.