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September 2020
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TD Magazine

An Unexpected Journey

The CEO's Time Machine

By Geoff Thatcher
Casa Flamingo Literary Arts, 86 pp., $24.99

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This book is timely, refreshing, and both pleasant and incredibly fast to tear through. Thatcher has a solid point to make, and the mechanism through which he makes his points is what gives the book power. The CEO's Time Machine takes you—a leader of a company, if you're among the intended audience—on a short trip through a big, mysterious garage alongside the protagonist. She is a bright, ambitious future CEO herself, and she's on a journey to discover the secret to running her company, led by her highly respected predecessor.

In this garage, we find old-timey cars and trains, some doorways, and even some gambling and gaming tables occupied by real-life humans. It also holds a time machine that ultimately belies the reason her company has, and can continue to be, so successful in its industry. The book's beautiful tricolor illustrations by Zoe Thatcher bring the journey to life.

The style may sound a bit like Alice in Wonderland, and honestly it's not that far off. But in reality, it is more like John Kotter's Leading Change had a love child with Spencer Johnson's Who Moved My Cheese? At the book's conclusion, the author hopes that leaders and future leaders deeply understand the importance of creativity, open-mindedness, and listening in service of innovation. Without coming out and saying it, as many leadership books do, The CEO's Time Machine illustrates the importance of hearing your brightest, and often youngest, employees with a wide, open mind to ensure your company never goes the way of Oldsmobile or the cassette tape.

During current times in particular, when our world is transforming, the importance of being able—and willing—to change, innovate, and adapt is crucial. Doing so in ways that would have been laughed at as ridiculous is paying off for many companies, while others that take more traditional or conservative routes are struggling and failing. This book, which will take less than an hour to read, is a great way to prepare your mindset going into conversations about how your business can navigate our new, uncertain world.

About the Author

Marci Morford manages Onboarding, Culture and Innovation Programs at Salesforce. She specializes in eradicating lecture-based learning programs from the planet, and currently runs Engineering Onboarding for Salesforce's software engineers globally.

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