Business Book Review: Fast by Gordon Tredgold

Before we begin: I'm aiming to write a Business Book Review once a week, as I ramp up on my goal of reading more. Note:

I wasn't given any incentive in any way, shape or form to write this Business Book Review, or any other Review that appears here.

I don't get a commission on clickthroughs from this post or any other.

Perhaps because I've written my own book end-to-end - and writing another - I have strong opinions about the effort that goes into book-writing. Although writing a book is not about money, the commission earning piece feels grubby to me.
Anyway, disclaimers over and now, onto the review!
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Five Stars!

Recommended Read!

I'm trying to improve my consulting and writing skills, and this is the primary purpose of this series. I'm on a mission to read a book a week, and write up a review. I started with FAST by Gordon Tredgold, having heard good things.

Tredgold has written FAST to help companies and people get results.  The book itself is winning accolades: FAST – 4 Principles Everyone Needs to Achieve Success and Drive Results, which is now a Finalist for Practical Management Book of the Year 2017 selected by Chartered Management Institute & British Library.

You can visit Tredgold's site hereGordon Tredgold has worked in Transformational Leadership roles for over 20 years, running $100m+ programs, leading $200m+ Global Operations Departments, and implementing large complex Organisational Change programs for Fortune 100 companies, and is now Visiting Professor at Staffordshire University.

The book is a distillation of years of experience, and it was clear from reading the book that Tredgold has a real depth of experience here. I get the impression that he gets leadership. He really understands it from multi-faceted perspectives; the company, customer, project, teams and from the leaders themselves. 

Business and leadership in general need to respond to changing, fluid and dynamic environments - and they need to respond FAST. FAST is a well-thought-out approach to leadership that simplifies success in a digestible format. FAST will challenge you to think differently about the way you lead, and once you're finished, you'll want to read it again. The book is deceptively small because it is packed with all sorts of gems; a lot of these quotes I've tucked into my BuJo for inspiration throughout the day.

There's something about Tredgold's writing that sticks in your head. He's clearly an excellent communicator. Whilst reading the book, I felt that I was learning, but without putting effort into learning. Concepts are explained very well, and the brain simply absorbs it.

How is the book useful? In practice, the FAST has been successfully used to turnaround failing projects and companies through its core concepts.  I enjoyed the book thoroughly; it is pragmatic with advice that you can apply straight away to all sorts of spheres, from personal productivity to sales right through to salvaging companies and projects. It's not a checklist book however, although it does give you a great start with some practical examples and food for thought at the end; the book also manages to combine being visionary at the same time. There are plenty of relatable examples. 

In line with the advice from the book, the book itself is simple but it isn't superficial. It is hard work to take complex topics and make them simple, but Tredgold manages to do this successfully with the book. He must do an amazing job with his customers, too!

How did I find the book useful? I found the Chapter on Accountability to be incredibly insightful, and I re-read the Accountability sections a couple of times. I will read it again. I've started to understand how much accountability, or lack of it, is pervasive in organisations, and I am re-casting my own experiences as a consultant in terms of where there was a lack of accountability at customer projects, which I usually inherited as the external consultant. I really think that Tredgold's book will help me to succeed better at consultancy, because I will be paying particular attention to Accountability in the future.

I've given the book Five Stars, but what would I like to see next? As a data girl, I'd love there to be Volume 2 with a focus on pragmatic advice on the data and charts that will help leaders to see where they are right now, and where they would like to be. Tredgold mentions data subtly throughout the book, and I'd love to know more about this side of the FAST program. This isn't a criticism - I am very enthusiastic about the book and I would love to know more about this area, but that's probably the data geek in me. I have my own thoughts and ideas and perhaps I will get round to blogging about them here.

Summary: buy the book, read it, then re-read it. Then recommend it for your colleagues. Well worth it.

 

 

 

Moving from Data Pollen to Honey: Growing your Hive

Ever wondered what the difference between a bees' nest and a hive is?  A Nest is used to discuss colonies which house themselves in cavities, such as a tree, and it's honed by the bees themselves. A Hive is used to describe structures used by humans to house a honey bee nest.

For busy consulting bees, expanding your fellow bee crowd is a hybrid of a nest and a hive. There are structures, organisations that can help you on your way. The rest of it is up to you to make it work for you, in an organic fashion where you give and receive. Receiving can just be as hard as giving, and it is something I'm learning to do. 

As part of creating a hive/nest hybrid for myself, I have become an active member of my local Chamber of Commerce. I was fortunate enough to attend a lunch with David Gauke, who was first elected as Member of Parliament in 2005. In July 2016 he was promoted to Chief Secretary to the Treasury. He was voted "Tax Personality of the Year" in 2011! 

It was my first Chamber of Commerce meeting and I was hugely impressed with the conversations with other members, and the Q&A with David Gauke MP too. I asked a few questions about issues for small businesses in extracting payment from larger businesses, who sometimes use their size to pay late, or perhaps 'miss out' paying the VAT, for example. I was happy to have the opportunity to discuss these issues, and I felt that Mr Gauke and the rest of the members really listened to my concerns and suggestions. I'd like to thank everyone here for their genuine welcome for this new member, and I look forward to 'giving back' as well as being blessed with the company, expertise and wisdom from a great team of business leaders here in the Hertfordshire community.

In particular, I'd like to thank David Zerny for his suggestions and encouragement as I move forward, and for his help in encouraging me to attend.

I am greatly enjoying growing my hive as I move on and move forward in my business, and helping others to relish their data!

Any questions, get in touch: datawhisperer@datarelish.com

 

Is Open Source right for your Digital Transformation? Series Part 1: SWOT Analysis

In this six part blog series, we will examine open source in the context of digital transformation, along with practical advice on how to adopt it in your organisation - or whether you should. In this first blog post in the series, we'll take a SWOT approach to open source, along with a brief review of some of the opportunities. Finally, we will look at barriers to adoption, if the organisation decides that open source is right.

What's your approach to open source - do you see it as a threat or an opportunity? Seeing the trends in the industry, Microsoft are putting their best foot forward with open source, and you can find more of Microsoft's open source news here. Since Microsoft is so popular with organisations large and small, Microsoft's approach to open source is, in turn, driving organisations to look at Open Source with new eyes.

How does it impact your organisation? Open source has a number of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and these will vary from organisation to organisation.

Strengths

The Numbers Game - Price, Licensing

Collaborative development

Vendor Independence

Market-oriented development

 
Weaknesses  

Support Concerns

Skills Availability

Roll-your-own maintainability concerns

Training Costs

Integration Complexities

 Opportunities

Low barrier to entry

Thriving Community Ecosystem

Potential to sell service and skills to other organisations

Innovative and effective technology solutions

Effective Digital Transformation for all

 Threats

Regulations and Governance

Integration with Commercial Vendors

Integration with other OSS

Shiny Gadget Syndrome with management succession

Predictability Planning

 

 

 

As part of a overall business strategy, many organisations start to look at using open source. When I'm making recommendations for a Digital Transformation, I do include open source as part of this review. If you are interested in learning more, contact me or email hello@datarelish.com