Critical Book Review

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Book Review

Flight of the Buffalo Soaring To Excellence, Learning to Let Employees Lead

About the authors

James A. Belasco teaches the subject of management at the San Diego State University and has the post of professor. He has written a number of books on management, including “Teaching the Elephant to Dance: Empowering Change in your Organization”, etc. He has worked with many famous companies over the world AT&T, IBM, Royal Dutch Shell, Merck, Ralston Purina, etc. The other author of the book is Ralph C. Stayer, who is the Ex-CEO of Johnsonville Foods. At Johnsonville Foods, his innovations were had a huge impact on the success of the company.

Book review

The book “Flight of the Buffalo Soaring to Excellence Learning to Let Employees Lead” is a great piece of work in the field of management and has focused on an issue that is faced by a number of organizations all over the world.

The thing that attracts the reader is down to earth approach that has been adopted by the authors of the book. The other books that focus on the subject of leadership and management in the organizations usually portray the world as a marvelous place in which, whenever, a person would adapt to the philosophy that has been set, as a standard, then success would follow him. However, this book is very different as compared to the other books that have been written. This book portrays a very pragmatic and a practical view regarding the happening of change in the organization, the means that could be used to change people.

The authors had relied very heavily on the experiences of Ralph Stayer, when he was the CEO of Johnsonville Foods, where the courageous innovations of Stayer converted Johnsonville among the most progressive and the most successful companies in America.

The book, Flight of the Buffalo, has compared and contrasted two metaphors to discuss the different types of leadership in an organization. The term, herd mentality, is one of the metaphors in which the chain of command is central, in a way that can be compared to the way that a dominant buffalo would control his herd. This management style was used on a large scale in the past, which could be described as the age of managerial capitalism. During that era, the concept of management was all about managing the physical assets of the company and properly supervising the labor. The management approach that has been proposed by Strayer and Belasco in this book is relating to the empowerment of employees, and has been described with reference to a cluster of geese, which usually fly together in a very tight formation; however, the leader of the cluster keeps changing on a very frequent basis. The authors have suggested that sort of leadership approach is a more suitable leadership approach the recent era, which they have described as the age of intellectual capitalism, in which the intellectual capital and knowledge of a person becomes the cornerstone of the organization and ...
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