In his new book, "Wheel$pin: The Agile Executive's Manifesto: Accelerate Your Growth, Leverage Your Value, Beat Your Competition," (www.mydrivingseat.com), author Mike Richardson, former director of the Aerospace Division of Top 100 British corporation Spirent PLC, explains corporate agility and how it can help companies thrive no matter what the state of the economy.
"Everyone in the business press today seems to write endlessly about the challenges of the current economy without acknowledging the fact there are companies that are doing quite well," says Richardson, an adjunct faculty member at the University of San Diego Business School.
"There are some companies and executives that don't rely on a healthy economy to make money. In fact, a few simply rise to the occasion. That's what being agile in business is all about."
"Wheel$pin" walks business leaders through the mental and physical steps necessary to develop corporate agility with lessons gleaned from his own experience and culled from other business books -- from "Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done" to "The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization."
"Most executives over-simplify 'agility.' It's complicated!" Richardson says. "With 'Wheel$pin,' I give readers a new architecture, framework and system of concepts and tools so managers stop spinning their wheels on endless tasks that don't pull the company ahead."
So, what is an agile corporation? Richardson says Apple Corp. is an excellent example.
"Apple began at the dawn of the computer industry and it survived as a computer manufacturer even though its operating system was arguably mimicked by Microsoft," he says. "Apple set out to achieve excellence in areas that its rivals had only mediocre performance."
By carving a niche for itself in graphics and publishing, Apple was able to weather competitive and economic setbacks -- and continue to develop revolutionary products.
"Agile companies face opportunity and adversity not with panic, but with poise," Richardson writes.
About Mike Richardson
Mike Richardson is president of Sherpa Alliance Inc., a management support business and a chair with Vistage International, a global collaborative of CEOs. He holds an MBA from London Business School and is an adjunct faculty member at the University of San Diego Business School. A former Shell Oil petroleum engineer and board member overseeing three automobile dealerships, he led the Aerospace Division of Spirent PLC in Britain.