Flip: How to Succeed by Turning Everything You Know on Its Head Paperback – 5 May 2008
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"Peter Sheahan has empowered many of us at NewsCorp to do more with less, faster. His presentation and unique style are both engaging and inspiring."
Ian Moore, NewsCorp America
"Peter Sheahan gave us all something to aspire to. I would confidently recommend him to anyone who is looking to engage Generation Y."
Sue Polo, Google
Placing emphasis on flexible, counter-intuitive decision-making, a pioneering young management guru calls for a brand new way of doing business in the global economy, where conventional wisdom fails. Why is Microsoft turning a blind eye to software piracy in China? Why has Toyota capped production of the best-selling Scion? Why did Rupert Murdoch risk $580 million on MySpace? "Business today requires new perspectives," argues Peter Sheahan, one of the youngest and fastest-rising international business consultants. In Flip he shows that to succeed in a small-world economy, companies must distinguish themselves by finding a new way of doing business, one that systematically re-examines every single aspect of running a company. Flip reveals what the superstars of modern business have in common: an ability to "flip" - to think counter-intuitively and then act boldly, with no regard for business-as-usual conventions. The only rule: there are no rules. Those who heed Sheahan's proven advice will be well placed to join other "flipstars" including entrepreneurs Richard Branson and Rupert Murdoch, and such visionary companies as Google, Toyota and Apple.By learning to "flip" you can future-proof your organisation and your career while those who run with the pack and stick to the business school curriculum will find themselves perilously left behind.Presenting perennial wisdom in a fresh new way, Sheahan shows today's decision makers how to embrace change and successfully operate in an economy that runs on new ideas. See all Product description
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Peter Sheahan defines "flip" as "to act against the prevailing wisdom, turning traditional business paradigms upside down," and a "flipstar" as a "leader, manager or company that accepts that in the modern, rapidly changing world, success is often best achieved trough freedom from convention." To be a flipstar, you have to take a risk.
He opens the book by talking about the forces of change in the marketplace, primarily increasing complexity, transparency and expectations and shortening of timescales. This is a useful summary.
He encourages action. The market today doesn't allow for a thorough, traditional analysis, and businesses should get on with it; strategy is essential, but he advises "strategy on the go" with rapid business decisions and, importantly, flexibility. Grasp opportunities! Avoid "if only". If it's a wrong decision, then move on. However, key is to remember the fundamentals of the business - forget those, and you'll fail. This is certainly good advice.
Sheahan continues with strap lines: ""Fast, Good, Cheap: Pick Three - then add something extra" and "Think AND, Not OR". Market forces demand that, to succeed, a business must have a clear competitive advantage. Sheahan reminds the reader that, with today's markets forces, advantage is soon copied. You always need that something extra.
He also reminds the reader that business is personal: customer relationships are key. This is easily forgotten, and he gives the example of call centres being off-shored and thereby alienating the customer. Costs savings can, and should, be made, but never in customer-facing functions - very good advice indeed!
At the end of each chapter, Sheahan does give a list of things that the reader should now do. Who will do that? Well, I didn't. I gave them a quick read, thought for a few minutes and then kept the pace going by going straight to the next chapter.
My major criticism of the book is that, although he does give numerous examples, they are all the usual, successful suspects. OK, they are companies we've all heard of, but I would have liked to see more examples of where businesses have failed. This positive approach is good for motivation, but to be a flipstar is risky and maybe only a few attempts will be successful. A reality check would have been useful, but still encouraging the reader to flip.
Peter Sheahan's last line is "Get up off your ar** and do something!!!" Excellent advice. Don't end up in the "if only" pit" of regret.
It felt as if this book could have been covered in 30 pages rather than 300. Read In Search of Excellence or Thriving on Chaos: Handbook for a Management Revolution instead, and Flip this one to someone else.