The Velocity Manifesto: A book review by Bob Morris

Posted on: October 26th, 2011 by bobmorris

The Velocity Manifesto: Harnessing Technology, Vision, and Culture to Future-Proof Your Organization
Scott Klososky
Greenlead Book Group (2011)

Digital plumbing + high-beam strategy + high-velocity culture = business success (however defined)

Almost immediately, Scott Klososky establishes and then sustains a direct, personal, and at times almost confrontational rapport with his reader. Clearly he cares passionately about “harnessing technology, vision, and culture to future-proof” as many organizations as he can. Heaven knows, the challenges that business leaders face today are numerous and daunting: Fewer than 30% of employees (on average) are actively and productively engaged in a U.S. workplace and an even lower percentage of C-level executives with supervisory responsibilities can identify what their organization’s primary strategy is, much less determine the nature and extent of its progress to achieve its ultimate objectives, whatever they may be. There seems to be little doubt that a majority of organizations cannot compete successfully now, much less be well-prepared to compete in years to come. Klososky’s sense of urgency is wholly justified.

He explains that his book addresses three key areas in which business leaders must develop expertise: Digital Plumbing (thoroughly discussed in Part One, Chapters 2-8), High-Beam Strategy (Part Two, Chapters 9-13), and Creating a Culture of Velocity (Part Three, Chapters 14-20). “Fail in the first area and your organization will not be able to compete with companies that have done a better job than you at technology implementation. Fail in the second area, and your organization will wander around, lost. Fail in the third area, and you will nit have the team you need to accomplish your organizational goals.” To help his reader to avoid these failures, Klososky

o  Explains how to develop specific leadership skills
o Introduces new concepts and processes by which to leverage technology (i.e. “digital plumbing”)
o Explains how “trendspotting” can help to predict or at least anticipate the future more accurately
o Also explains how to take full advantage of them with “a portfolio of targeted investments”
o And then in Part Three, he discusses the cultural changes that drive organizations today

In the Introduction, Klososky duly warns his reader, “Get ready for a wild ride.” Although he is probably referring to the high-velocity, zero-BS narrative that awaits, the warning could also apply to the challenges and perils that all organizations are certain to encounter in months and years to come. Her offers a cohesive, comprehensive, and cost-effective “action plan” and urges his reader to apply – “and apply hard.”

Klososky inserts several excellent quotations throughout the book and one of the most valuable is an observation by Alvin Toffer: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” With all due respect to the abundance of information, insights, and recommendations in this book, they are essentially worthless if those who read this book (a) don’t get, (b) overcome what James O’Toole characterizes as “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom” so they can think differently with new perspectives (e.g. how to leverage high technology more effectively), and/or (c) determine how to apply what they have learned from the book. Presumably Klososky agrees with Thomas Edison: “Vision without execution is hallucination.”

 

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