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!
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 here. Gordon 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.