Having really enjoying Keith McFarland’s last book, The Breakthrough Company, I was looking forward to reading his newest one, Bounce. It’s a very quick read, but tells a strong story.
There have been some mixed opinions about McFarland’s choice of style for this book. He uses a fable to tell the story of a CEO whose company is facing serious challenges, including the loss of a major client, a key employee quitting and the corporate entity demanding significant budget cuts. Through a friendship with an ex-Army Ranger, the CEO learns valuable lessons he implements to help his company “bounce” and turn itself around. His choice is very effective. While he could certainly detail his research from seven years of studying the performance of thousands of companies and more years consulting for businesses, the fable lets him wind that research and experience into a strong story.
The military insight from the Ranger started from the observation that in many companies that begin disintegrating, everyone becomes focused on blame and excuses, and so often are not able to recover. His analogy of these companies is a Christmas ornament – when they’re dropped, they simply fall apart. Those that can use that downturn as an opportunity to reassess and improve or reinvent, can reintegrate themselves and benefit substantially from it.
The book contains 6 principles that are interdependent and create increasing levels of bounce. As the fable CEO applied these principles, he was able to engage his employees in an in-depth analysis of why there were failing and identify opportunities they had been overlooking.
Even if your company isn’t disintegrating, you can apply these principles for a process of improvement and growth. YPP has been engaged this year in an in-depth revision of our strategic plan and we have begun applying some of the principles of this book in that process. For example, principle 3 is to “manage the mental factors” and includes involving people in thinking through issues and involving outsiders. We are doing both of these this year. We have staff evaluating processes and services to help identify ways we can improve efficiency and we have re-engaged a group of trusted advisors. We encourage you to see how these principles can be applied in your business.