About the book
The Art of the Possible: Create an Organization with No Limitations, was written by Daniel M. Jacobs and was independently published on May 13, 2010. The book is quite manageable sitting at 160 pages.
Daniel introduces his “Art of the Possible” technique for improving organizations through 7 practices: getting focused, surrounding yourself with talent, thinking strategically, forge a high-performance team, managing the fundamentals, maintaining discipline and communication.
In getting focused – Daniel stress the importance of having a vision and making sure that the vision is possible.
In surrounding yourself with talent – he emphasizes looking for and recruiting talent and crafting a culture that attracts and promotes talented employees.
In thinking strategically – he emphasizes that a company should understand what situation its in, set visions, missions and goals.
In forging a high-performance teams – he defines and sells the importance of high-performing teams and discusses how to build them. First and foremost is recruiting for this team.
The last three practices, managing the fundamentals, maintaining discipline and communication focus on retaining, promoting and consolidating the results of the practices mentioned earlier in the book.
Key takeaways and commentary
The takeaways for this one for me are pretty straightforward:
- Have a reasonable vision of what you want your organization to be like
- Finding good and capable people to staff it
- Creating a culture that helps these people thrive
- Work to maintain this culture, develop talent and move closer to the original vision.
What I found most interesting was how the first parts of the book, namely surrounding yourself with talent, Daniel promotes a similar management style that is outlined in Become a Person of Influence: How to Positively Impact the Lives of Others by John C Maxwell – that is becoming influential by building your people.
This leadership style is better defined by Daniel Goleman in is paper Leadership That Gets Results (Harvard Business Review Classics) as a combination of coaching style and democracy style. Coaching is a style that is built around building up your subordinates to become themselves capable leaders. Democracy is a style where your subordinates have a say in the decisions of the company.
What I will say is that if we apply the concepts by Daniel Goleman into this book, Daniel’s “art of the possible” will not work for some leaders. For example visionary leadership is focused around a charismatic leader with a strong vision, however this leader generally doesn’t get along well with capable subordinates – capable subordinates may find this leader all show and no substance. Another example are coercive leaders since they do not like subordinates giving them feedback – one of Daniel’s principles is allowing subordinates a say in the running of the organization.
What do you think? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments and if you found this post useful or enjoyable, please share and leave a like. Thank you! Stay tuned for tomorrows book: Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House
For more information on the 2018 challenge, visit the following link: Business Trek 2018 reading challenge.
You can also get the book via the following link: The Art of the Possible: Create an Organization with No Limitations
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