|ACUPUNCTURE FOR MANAGEMENT
New perspective on strategy and leadership
Acupuncture works: For adherents, it encourages self-healing and enhances life energy. For adversaries, it rouses the power of reasoning and resistance. Not yet scientifically proven, acupuncture's stímulative effects are nevertheless evidenced—whenever acceptance and application fit. In her book, Antonella Mei-Pochtler draws on the menta! acupuncture of different viewpoints and reflections on the big future questions along the "lifelines" of business—strategy and leadership, innovation and organization, changing values and globalization. Observations and conversations, everyday experiences and contemporary events serve as her starting points. Management in the twenty-first century demands not only sound methodological knowledge, it requires maintaining openness to different perspectives, the ability to deal with conflicts productively, and the willingness to use rationalíty and intuition equally to find new, creative solutions. Acupuncture frees us: from thinking and acting within too narrow bounds.
As prelude: countering the tone of gloom and doom
Strategy & Action
Organization & Diversity
Leadership & Happiness
Competition & Responsibility
Performance & Creativity
Growth & Identity
Finally: a prayer
One of the irritating facts of life facing people in business and those who comment on business alike is the sheer volume of reading matter that is showered on them from all directions. "Management books" are among the most voluminous parts of this barrage—and I can report from experience that a large majority of what appears under that rubric is either poorly argued, obscurely written or disappointingly superficial.
How refreshing then to find a business book that suffers none of these defects. "Acupuncture for Management" is what its title suggests: a collection of sharp, well-targeted insights designed to make business better, in every sense of the word. Its unconventional presentation, accompanied with arresting and attractive pictures, also helps to make it unusually readable.
Antonella Mei-Pochtler, one of Germany's best-known and best-connected management consultante, brings to the exercise a lifetime of experience observing German and international business at close quarters—and a large degree of human wisdom.
We thus find the book ranging more widely than most—from the art and psychology of leadership through corporate social, responsibility to the way the Internet is reshaping our world from the future of Europe and the rise of China to the role of women in management and the lessons that football can teach us about how to run a business.
It is a book that stands well back from the facts, fashions and monolithic formulae of management theory and focuses instead on practical business basics. Each essay comes packed with practical guidelines for action and nuggets of good sense. The message is: focus on benchmarking, shareholder value or what you will, but don't forget that the secret of sustained business success is exercising judgment not just on one criterion but on a large and diverse combination of factors.
In other words , it is the art of managing contradictions: between strategy and execution, discipline and creativity, alrge organisations and entrepreneurial individuals. Mei-Pochtler's book will give anyone with an interest in business beyond the next quarter's bottom line stimulating insights on these big themes and much else besides.
Andrew Gowers, London
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