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Book Capsules, May 2024

The Six Disciplines of Strategic Thinking by Michael D. Watkins and The Illusion of Innovation by Elliott Parker

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Wed May 01 2024

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The Six Disciplines of Strategic Thinking

Michael D. Watkins

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Harper Business, 192 pp., $32.50

Strategic leadership requires a modern set of skills. Watkins, a leadership transitions and organizational success expert, describes strategic thinking as "a set of mental disciplines leaders use to recognize potential threats and opportunities, establish priorities, and mobilize themselves and their organizations to envision and enact promising paths forward." The six disciplines Watkins covers are pattern recognition, systems perspective, mental agility, structured problem solving, visioning, and political savvy. In this guide to mastering the disciplines and separating great leaders from good ones, the author includes tools for leaders at every level of the corporate ladder.

The Illusion of Innovation

Elliott Parker

Ideapress, 200 pp., $34.99

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In The Illusion of Innovation, Parker argues that organizations are better managed than ever, but they're too focused on efficiency instead of resiliency. That environment creates what he calls "the illusion of innovation": activity that feels like innovation, but instead of creating progress, it leads to value destruction. The book shows how meaningful innovation naturally emerges from deliberate inefficiency and how larger organizations can use small teams to drive radical change through systematic experimentation. Companies must question years of assumptions about why they exist and what makes them successful. Parker says that to truly innovate, it's time to eliminate those assumptions.

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