Gisela Hausmann has done it again: produced an eminently readable, well-documented, soundly-reasoned non-fiction book that deserves a place on the bookshelves of anyone who has any association with THE GIANT ZON.
One thing I learned in forty years of administration and turnaround management of service-oriented organizations in the health and human services sector of the U.S., England, Canada and West Africa was that MBA’s are insufficient to running effective companies of people. Managers who want to excel need to add MBWA, “Management By Walking Around”—(and listening to frontline associates) to their repertoire. Amazon seems to have missed this point completely. Oh yes, they have data, but piles of data is not knowledge. And knowledge does not become information—useful knowledge to make necessary, effective change unless it is leavened with the ability to listen to frontline associates and the willingness to incorporate their knowledge and ideas into action.
Gisela Hausmann is a master of information. And her book of her twenty-two year study and 15 month employment at Amazon gives the reader an intimate look into what happened on a day-to-day basis. How “outdated training programs, ill-designed award programs, insufficient boxes and packaging tape, shelves that made it hard for shorter people to do their job and [above all else] what looked like total unwillingness to correct deficiencies,” let Amazon go from “The most powerful supporter of the First Amendment to a company who just ‘spins off’ ideas to make money at the expense of others.”
As a student of management, we are taught not to study present methods of giant corporations, because they did not get to be as big as they are by doing what they are now doing. Ms. Hausmann’s book is as good a case study as any I have seen to drive this point home. Buy it. Read it. And if you are on any level of management, turn the knowledge you gain from the data she gives you into information.
Charles Ferraro, Winner of the Harvard Prize for Innovation, the EXCEL Award for Innovation in the Public Sector, the National Alliance of Business, “Work America Award”, and three American Public Welfare Association Successful Project Awards.
(reviewed the day of purchase)