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How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything... in Business (and in Life) [Hardcover]

Dov Seidman
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything
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Book Description

19 Jun 2007 0471751227 978-0471751229
The flood of information and unprecedented transparency reshaping today’s business world has dramatically changed the rules of the game. It’s no longer what you do that sets you apart from others, but how you do what you do. Whats are commodities, easily duplicated or reverse–engineered. Sustainable advantage and enduring success—for both companies and the people who work for them—now lie in the realm of how , the new frontier of conduct. For more than a decade, Dov Seidman’s pioneering organization, LRN, has helped some of the world’s most respected companies build "do it right," winning cultures. Seidman’s distinct vision of the world, business, and human endeavor has enabled more than ten million people doing business in over 100 countries to outbehave the competition. In HOW: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything . . . in Business (and in Life) , Dov Seidman shares his unique approach with you. Through entertaining anecdotes, surprising case studies, cutting–edge research in a wide range of fields, and revealing interviews with a diverse group of business leaders, experts, and everyday people on the front lines, this book explores how we think, how we behave, and how we govern ourselves to uncover the values–driven "hows" of 21st–century success. Divided into four comprehensive parts, this insightful guide: Exposes the forces and factors that have fundamentally changed the world in which business operates, placing a new focus on the hows with which we conduct ourselves Provides frameworks to help you understand these hows and implement them in powerful and productive ways Helps you channel your actions and decisions to thrive uniquely within today’s new business realities Sheds light on the systems of how —the dynamics between people that shape organizational culture—and introduces a bold new vision for winning through self–governance The qualities that many once thought of as "soft"—trust, integrity, values, and reputation—are now the hard currency of business success and the ultimate drivers of efficiency, productivity, and profitability. With in–depth insights and practical advice, HOW will help you bring excellence and significance to your business endeavors—and your life—and refocus your efforts in powerful new ways. If you want to stand out, to thrive in our fast changing, hyperconnected, and hypertransparent world, open this book and discover HOW . Dov Seidman’s professional career has focused on how companies and their people can operate in both a principled and profitable way. He is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of LRN. Leading companies such as Disney, Dow Chemical, eBay, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Raytheon, and 3M turn to LRN to help management govern more effectively and workers do the right things the right way, even in the most challenging of situations. Dov is a Harvard Law School graduate who also earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in philosophy from UCLA, and a BA with honors in philosophy, politics, and economics from Oxford University. For more on this book, visit www.HowsMatter.com.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons (19 Jun 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471751227
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471751229
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.9 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 709,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

“The simple thesis of HOW is that in today’s totally wired world, you are set apart by “how” you conduct yourself. Everyone is so much more transparent and connected than ever before. As a result, so many more people can now see more deeply into what you do and into you company’s operations and tell so many more other people about it via the Internet – without any editor or any filter. Therefore “how” you live your life, “how” you conduct your business, and “how” you say you’re sorry (or don’t’) matter now more than ever. “…And we will not get out of [the global economic crisis] without going back to some basics, which is why I find myself re–reading a valuable book that I wrote about once before, called, “How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything in Business (and in Life).” Its author, Dov Seidman, is the C.E.O. of LRN, which helps companies build ethical corporate cultures…We need to get back to collaborating the old–fashioned way. That is, people making decisions based on business judgment, experience, prudence, clarity of communications and thinking about how — not just how much.”– Pulitzer Prize winning columnist and author Thomas L. Friedman “In his book How, published last year, Mr Seidman explained why he feels behaviour (as opposed to the more fashionable management notions of engagement or motivation) is the key to organisational success….Thought leadership, and big ideas, are rare. But here is a challenging thought for you. Outbehave, outperform, outgreen – or out you go.” –The Financial Times Business Life columnist Stefan Stern “The book has understandably received a second wind, propelled by the global economic turmoil. Books like Seidman’s on the importance of trust and building and strengthening corporate reputation are being heralded as the voices of sanity.” –Economic Times journalist Arati Menon Carroll “Seidman, an erudite intellectual and practical philosopher, shows that in today’s transparent commercial environment, operating openly and morally is both honorable and economically necessary.” –Syndicated Get Abstract book reviewer Rolf Dobelli “One of the more interesting and ambitious books to cross my desk lately is How by Dov Seidman. The appeal of Seidman’s work is that he’s taken such a sweeping view of the business world in his explanation of how we think, behave and govern — as individuals and organizations — influences our achievements in the marketplace.” – Chief Learning Officer Magazine editor Brian Summerfield “…Behaving as if everyone is armed with your personal information is a very good idea, according to author Seidman, because they are. He also discusses the ethical and moral implications of all this openness. Seidman is an experienced and worldly observer, so he is not unrealistic about the baser instincts that motivate many of us. Nonetheless he also presents a hopeful and positive future where lying and obfuscation are less possible and ultimately unacceptable because there are fewer places to hide.” – The Miami Herald reviewer Richard Pachtert “In his superb book on corporate behaviour, HOW: Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything ... in Business (and in Life), Dov Seidman tells the story of the New York City doughnut seller who taught him a valuable lesson in business trust…Doing the right thing has always been good for business. What Seidman′s book makes clear is that regardless of whether it is in Sydney or in Auckland, being open about the manner in which a corporation operates, trusting customers and insisting on maintaining standards which enhance reputations, is now of global significance. Investors everywhere are looking at issues relevant to integrity.” – The New Zealand Herald reporter Stephen Loosley "…Companies with a should–do culture can outperform those with a can–do culture because they value intellectual capital, not just human capital, and forward–think about the impact of "What’s next"…An integral component of Mr. Seidman’s should–do advocacy also involves connecting outside knowledge to the organization. The nature of should–do firms involves asking questions, change and accuracy of communication. Being inquisitive makes them aggressively search for "what they don’t know". Miscommunication is the Achilles heel of any firm; when a mouse click can send information around the globe, a company’s reputation can be damaged by an errant email. Mr. Seidman’s personal anecdotes illustrate how should–do firms deal with their thirst for knowledge and communicate effectively.” – Syndicated columnist Jim Pawlak “HOW is a radically different and compelling approach to competing in business today. Dov Seidman connects the dots in an original way, focusing on transparency, trust, and reputation as important drivers of success. We′re all aware of the implications of operating in a transparent, wired, global marketplace. What Seidman has done is crystallize how we now need to think and act to win in this new world.” – Chairman and CEO of Pfizer Inc. Jeff Kindler “Dov Seidman’s intellect and passion—brilliantly displayed in HOW’s well–written and entertaining case studies, anecdotes—show us a new way to think about enduring success in times of change. Seidman’s penetrating insights into what really matters in a wired world challenge the very best in each of us to see what is right and wrong in everyday decision making.” –U.S. Senator Bill Bradley “In HOW, Dov Seidman takes the idea of ′success′ even further, redefining it as a quest for significance. Isn′t that what we all really want? To have a positive impact, to make a difference, to excel? To do that you have to achieve significance, and Seidman brilliantly shows you HOW. This book will change your life in profound ways.” –Author Marcus Buckingham “Dov Seidman ’s book introduces you to the world of how in a way that will revolutionize the way you think about, assess, and experience success.” – Former Chief Learning Officer, Goldman Sachs and former head of leadership development at GE, Steve Kerr “HOW is a trip through the lens of a first–class observer. Dov Seidman captures the life lessons that impact how we should think and respond in today’s world. HOW’s clarity and common sense make it a must read for aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere.” – Chairman, Equity Group Investments, Sam Zell “This book is the ultimate guidebook for successful living. Its truths are simple but stunningly powerful.” – Author Marianne Williamson “We do business on every continent. Everywhere we go, Dov Seidman′s message rings equally true. HOW provides valuable insight for anyone who believes their company culture and core values can determine their ultimate success.” – Massimo Ferragamo, Chairman, FERRAGAMO USA “Dov Seidman captures the power that Ray Kroc instilled in us at McDonald’s from the day he opened his first restaurant in 1955—a culture based on values puts the customer first. In today’s world, focusing on the ‘how’ is critical to accelerating momentum. HOW is required reading for anyone seeking enduring success in business or life.” – Jim Skinner, CEO, McDonald’s Corporation "The hottest adviser on corporate virtue to Fortune 500 companies." — Fortune magazine

Review

From the New York Times, Tom Friedman "His book is simply called ′′How.′′ Because Seidman′s simple thesis is that in this transparent world ′′how′′ you live your life and ′′how′′ you conduct your business matters more than ever, because so many people can now see into what you do and tell so many other people about it on their own without any editor. To win now, he argues, you have to turn these new conditions to your advantage. Today ′′what′′ you make is quickly copied and sold by everyone. But ′′how′′ you engage your customers, ′′how′′ you keep your promises and ′′how′′ you collaborate with partners –– that′s not so easy to copy, and that is where companies can now really differentiate themselves." From the Miami Herald Behaving as if everyone is armed with your personal information is a very good idea, according to author Seidman, because they are. Databases and websites track individuals′ and institutions′ transactions, words, accomplishments and crimes. Something you say or do will come back to haunt you or help you. And this new openness also acts as a catalyst for what author Thomas Freidman called ′′flatness′′ –– the reduction and elimination of most of the old, insurmountable hierarchies of business and information. According to Seidman in his latest book, people and companies that are able to leverage this freedom will benefit. The ability to honestly interact can be a powerful catalyst. He writes: ``A new model emerges: connect and collaborate. To succeed in this new model, workers and companies alike need to develop new skills and harness new powers within themselves. Companies –– and the people who comprise them –– need to recontextualize how they do business. Individuals must develop new approaches to the sphere of human relations. Both companies and employees must learn to share in whole new ways. Success depends on how people of diverse backgrounds and skills communicate with and complement one another. In a connected world, power shifts to those best able to connect.′′ He also discusses the ethical and moral implications of all this openness. Seidman is an experienced and worldly observer, so he is not unrealistic about the baser instincts that motivate many of us. Nonetheless he also presents a hopeful and positive future where lying and obfuscation are less possible and ultimately unacceptable because there are fewer places to hide." ––BY RICHARD PACHTER, Miami Herald From the New Zealand Herald "In his superb book on corporate behaviour, How: Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything ... in Business (and in Life) , Dov Seidman tells the story…Above all, business reputation is of paramount significance. Reputation which may take decades to earn, but can be lost in very short order. As Seidman notes, word of mouth now crosses continents." –– BY STEPHEN LOOSLEY, a former federal president of the Labor Party and Australian senator, chairs business advocacy group Committee for Sydney. Jim Pawlak, Syndicated Columnist Mr.Seidman advocates constructing a firm’s "hows" around what it should do, rather than around what it can do. The reason: "Should do" behavior is values–driven. Such behavior energizes employees, supports innovation and creates a knowledge–sharing culture. Employees own their jobs and are self–governing because owners take responsibility. Job owners lead, too. They go above and beyond because they enjoy what they do and have great latitude in how they do it. Companies with a should–do culture can outperform those with a can–do culture because they value intellectual capital, not just human capital, and forward–think about the impact of "What’s next". Should–do cultures also set the platinum standard for dealing with internal and external customers. Their trusting nature enables collaboration. By working together, they see the organizational picture and make better decisions quicker. When you make better, quicker decisions, the odds of keeping external customers happy increase – so does the ability to turn prospects into customers. Jim Pawlak, syndicated columnist

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything 7 Oct 2007
By Tami Brady TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
If you read any of the hundreds of business books on the market, you'll know the current trend of what to do in business. I've read and reviewed dozens of titles that all say that the key to business is doing what you say you are going to do and treating people like people (both clients and employees). These resources usually give all sorts of examples of successful companies that actually follow through on their promises. Some of the more involved ones give step by step instructions on what to do to make your business successful.

How is a bit different from these other titles. The author doesn't write a how to manual. Instead, the author focuses firmly on the issue at hand: how the way you run your business actually reflects your business goals and what you are doing that is counterproductive to these goals. In other words, if you promise your clients excellent customer service do you then spent most of your time stonewalling consumer questions and concerns? It may sound like common sense but most businesses keep only a small percentage of their promises. Most say one thing and provide service of a completely different nature.

To me, the big difference between the methodology of How and the many other business books I've read is the difference between going into a mega-super-store and being given the hard sell or going into a local Mom's and Pop's corner store. Yes, in the first example, the company probably did get that initial sale but I won't come back and neither will any of my friends. The later example's integrity and ability to make me feel like they genuinely want my business will more likely make me a lifetime customer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Dov Seidman respects your intelligence. Instead of "10 tips for ethical behavior," he provides a powerful new lens for seeing and assessing contemporary business ethics. Seidman, an erudite intellectual and practical philosopher, shows that in today's transparent commercial environment, operating openly and morally is both honorable and economically necessary. Corporate achievement now depends far more on how you act than on what you do. With the proliferation of media outlets, the Internet, notably YouTube, and cable channels, everyone is watching. Seidman uses fascinating anecdotes, case studies and scientific research to prove that goal-driven companies must focus on openness, integrity, values and ethics. Do things right, you win; do them wrong, you lose and end up exposed on the Web. Now that businesses live under the microscope, "on glass...slides, flat as flat can be," your company will be exposed if it cuts ethical corners. Seidman's well-annotated book is peppered with learned references to brilliant thinkers from Aristotle to Kierkegaard. He deftly moves from sophisticated topics, such as brain functioning, neuroeconomics and language theory, to stories about pop diva Janet Jackson, Madam Walker's Wonderful Hair Grower and Krazy George Henderson, madcap inventor of "the wave." This makes the book a pure delight to read. getAbstract openly enjoyed this insightful, idealistic and practical argument for corporate transparency, collaboration, good conduct and altruism.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Morris TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Most people agree that good health, financial security, and self-esteem are important in one's personal life. In business, most executives agree that it is important to have customers who are (as Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba describe them) "evangelists," more money coming in than going out, people who get more and better work done in less time, etc. My point is, that there is a substantial consensus on "what" and the first challenge is to understand the "how." The next challenge is to avoid what Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton have identified as the "knowing-doing gap."

As Dov Seidman explains in the Preface, "The tapestry of human behavior is so diverse, so rich, and so global that it presents a rare opportunity, the opportunity to outbehave the competition." He goes on to explain that, "Instead of rules, steps, or an instruction manual, this book offers an approach - a framework and a way of seeing - to help you navigate the new global, hyperconnected world in which we suddenly find ourselves working. It offers something that will carry you beyond short-term rewards toward lasting success." Those who get their "HOWs right" will achieve enduring personal and organizational business achievement.

Seidman carefully organizes his material within four Parts as he explores (through "a new lens") three HOWs:

HOW we think,
HOW we behave, and
HOW we govern.

I was especially interested in what Seidman has to say about "transparency" in Chapters7. He cites an example of "issue contagion." Specifically, a posting on an online bulletin board by a 25-year-old cycling enthusiast, Chris Brennen, claiming that Kryptonite locks (reputedly impenetrable) could easily be opened by almost anyone.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars another book ! 26 April 2010
Format:Hardcover
Yes, all very nice but it's just another book you read, go hmmmmmmmm and then never touch again !
Let's be very honest about it !
The Steck
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 3 books in one adds up to confusion 2 Sep 2007
By J. M. Raimondo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I was drawn to this book through various points of exposure to Seidamn's thinking. Having just completed, I admit to being disappointed more than anything else. The structure of the book and its ultimate point is lost as the book attempts to be both a contemplation on personal ethics, a case study in modern management, and a theoretical work in organizational development. It doesn't succeed at any of these.
I think the core notion of Seidman's work is sound, but the execution of translating it into a book really fell apart. The book comes across as a confusing amalgam of business case studies and self-help. the beginning of the book sets the stage for an overarching architecture of "how" that never really materializes. Seidman returns to the grand unification theory of how from time to time, but the overall impact is too diffuse. I'm surprised the editors weren't able to gauge how ultimately confusing and unsatisfying this book is.
As an author, Dov Seidman is a good lawyer.
34 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable vision for enduring success 6 Jun 2007
By LA reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book reminded me in some way of The Tipping Point and The World is Flat, a terrifically readable and entertaining take on what makes the world tick. HOW is full of surprising insights, thoughtful analysis, and compelling anecdotes that paint a surprising picture of the world today.

Seidman sees in the way technology connects and reveals us a new need to focus on both who we are and how we relate to others, and further posits that, given these conditions, it's the best way to win in the new economy. At it's heart, it's a clear and simple vision with huge ramifications: in an connected world, he says, those who connect best gain an advantage. From this central idea, Seidman branches out to identify and articulate the forces at play in every group activity from a PTA meeting to a corporate boardroom, and his conclusions resonate.

I have read few books that so clearly assay a useful world view that almost anyone can understand and put to immediate use. I've already seen the results in my dealings with others. There's nothing here to "study," no tips, rules, or techniques to learn, but reading the book gives you a different way of seeing everything around you. I found myself making different choices based on this new understanding and reaping immediate and powerful results. It suddenly got easier to get things done with others.

HOW is an easy read for such a thoughtful book, and it will stay with you long after you put it down. Almost everyone will gain something useful from it, and I highly recommend you try.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good start, not so good end 28 Nov 2008
By francis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I bought this book after reading Thomas Friedman's article "Why How Matters".

I found the first few chapters interesting, and some metaphors (e.g.making waves) and acronyms (e.g TRIP) are definitely inspirational. However after a while the book begins to taste your regular leadership book.

Also the book could be much shorter: the last few chapters touch ground covered previously, and start to rely too much on personal "war stories" exclusively.
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In the Information Age successful entrepreneurs will outbehave their competitors! 7 Oct 2007
By Jeff Lippincott - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
What I got from this book after struggling with it is that it's great to systematize your business so it is lean and efficient, but the real secret to winning in business TODAY is to have employees that work the system really well. It's awsome employees that will differentiate your company from the competitors and have customers come your way. The book tells us that to be successful an entrepreneur's company must OUTBEHAVE the competition.

This book is about "Process Management." It explains (sort of) that businesses can tinker with what they do, and how they do it, in order to win customers and grow revenues. It tells us that most things today are commodities and that it is very difficult to tinker with WHAT we do in order to stand out. And that means we pretty much have no choice but to differentiate HOW we do what we do in order to stand out.

The book is divided into four parts:

1. Today businesses operate in an Information Age
2. Successful companies appear to be sincere and helpful
3. Successful companies act with integrity and exude positive values
4. Successful companies value their culture and collaboration

So how do companies stand out in their market? This book says they can do it by having a work culture that is collaborative. It says that companies with employees that do their jobs so the customer sees a company that has good values and integrity will rise above. In sum, a company that develops trust and a stellar reputation in the eyes of its customers will retain those customers and get new ones.

The reason I hit this book with a 3-star rating is that as I read it I felt as though I was reading a first draft of a poorly outlined manuscript. The section headings were not very helpful to me in understanding what the book was about. And the chapter titles were even less helpful. Interestingly, I couldn't even read the book reviews posted for this book and get very far in understanding what the book was actually about. I disliked the layout of this book so much I'd really like to give it a 2-star rating, but I haven't done that yet to any book. And I'm not ready to do it with this one. 3 stars!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Change the way you think and approach things in life 18 Nov 2007
By Meryl K. Evans - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Don't expect "how to" type of advice from Dov Seidman's How. The "how to" doesn't help you get ahead of competitors. You could lower prices, do things faster, and customize the product to the customer's exact specifications. The competition can easily turn around and lower prices, do things faster, and customize more. It turns into a cycle that focuses on time and cost. The real value comes in building relationships with people.

GE's CEO Jack Welch response to a question about why GE would disclose its secrets for competitors to copy -- the "whats" -- best sums the book. Welch said, "There's no secret to the what; the secret is in how. They can know our model, but they cannot do it. They can't copy our hows." Businesses that stand out pay great attention to the "way" to reach their business goals. The journey is how a business can differentiate itself from the competition.

High quality still matters even with a great "how" in place. Companies who succeed in the "how" already know that must produce or provide high quality products and services. That's a given. Seidman explains "how" vs. "what" with the following questions:

How

* How can I best delight my client?
* How can I bring the company greater repute?
* How can I make the meeting more successful?

What

* What does the manual say to do?
* What is my job description?
* What is on the agenda?

Notice the difference? "How" focuses on values and taking a proactive stance in building relationships with others. "What" is more about compliance and passive interactions. This means changing the thinking from "can" to "should." Sure, you "can" work to make a meeting more successful, but you don't have to as no rule says you must. But someone with high values and interest in building relationships thinks this "should" happen.

For example, a customer asks an employee in bakery that sells sandwiches to cut a roll in half and butter it. A knife sits on the counter near the rolls. The employee's reply? They can't do that and hands the customer a plastic knife and butter. This example of dissonance shows how a bakery takes action that doesn't support its goal to provide high quality customer service.

Many companies have a disconnect between their business goals and how they run their businesses. Seidman explains dissonance and how to move toward consonance. This example is what the book is about -- covering the problems and how to address them for different facets divided into three parts: HOW we think, HOW we behave, and HOW we govern.

The book isn't a fast and easy read. But it isn't as complicated as a college textbook. Thankfully, it contains many examples to help readers comprehend the HOW concepts and apply them.

Unlike other business books, How isn't a manual with step-by-step instructions, rules, processes or anything to study. Rather, it changes the way you think and that affects how you approach anything in business and even in life. Instead of being like the bakery that won't cut bread, become the bakery that goes the extra mile to cut bread AND add a surprise cookie.
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