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Managing the Unexpected: Resilient Performance in an Age of Uncertainty

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Mindfulness: Foundation for a Learning Organization

By Dennis DeWilde "The Performance Connection" - December 11, 2007

This second edition - an update of the 2001 book that introduced us to the 'mindful' organization - is a timely and well-done re-write that furthers the authors' contention that mindfulness is at the core of a learning organization. By substituting a failed preemptive burn incident, (the 2000 Cerro Grande wildland fire that caused $1 billion of damage to Los Alamos), for the 1st edition's Union Pacific/Southern Pacific merger debacle as the central example of their 5 principles of mindfulness, the reader is able to feel the flames of the unexpected leap beyond the control lines of the HRO (High Reliability Organizations) environment. This wind-fed fire metaphor gives life to the uncontrollable nature of today's business environment and every business's need for a mindful response to the unexpected. Managing only for the expected will not provide containment when the winds of change blow into your marketplace. From the authors' perspective, the appropriate response is the creation of... read more

Interesting study of highly resilient companies

By Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" - September 4, 2009

Karl E. Weick and Kathleen M. Sutcliffe give readers something new and useful in this book. Countless manuals explain how to plan for crises and make it sound like everything will go smoothly if you just plan correctly. Weick and Sutcliffe know better. Planning, they say, may even stand in the way of smooth processes or be the cause of failure. They base this discussion on their studies of "high reliability organizations" (HROs), like fire fighting units and aircraft carrier crews, organizations where the unexpected is common, small events make a difference, failure is a strong possibility and lives are on the line. From those examples, they deduce principles for planning, preparation and action that will apply to any company facing change. The book is not perfect - the authors overuse quotations and rely on buzzwords that don't add much - but it addresses often-neglected aspects of management. getAbstract recommends it to anyone who is trying to make an organization more reliable and... read more

Much improved over 1st edition

By Bob F, measurement guy - July 13, 2009

I read the 1st edition. I felt after reading it that the authors had the right idea and the first half of the book was very good. The second half, where they describe the audit left me cold.

I'm interested in questions about new product development. Resilience is an important asset in product development work. Everything in the environment around you changes while you work, plus the designers are constantly learning and discovering things as well. As a project manager, you discover your plan is not working the way you expected. How do you deal with this pace of change?

The 2nd edition of the book reaches further past the safety conscious concerns of the first so it is easier for readers to see how the work applies to resilience and product assurance questions in other work.

I was pleased to see the changes and would strongly recommend the 2nd edition over the 1st.

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