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Book Review
Whoosh: Business in the Fast Lane

By Tom McGehee 
Published by Perseus Publishing July 2001; $25.00; 0-7382-0402-1

Is your enterprise a "Compliance Company" or a "Creation Company"? That's the provocative question that Tom McGehee poses in Whoosh, in which he challenges every organization to recognize and realize its full potential. We all know that new ideas are the lifeblood of any business. But in chasing that elusive "new new thing" in an effort to dazzle customers and shareholders, many companies lose sight of the real essence of innovation -- achieving quantum results. These results are not accomplished through technology, overblown mission statements, or "best practice" metrics based on past performance, but by unleashing the creative spirit of your people.

From his vantage point leading innovation sessions at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young's Accelerated Solutions Environment, McGehee points out that the nature of work itself is changing, forcing companies to abandon the practices that impede breakthroughs. Individuals, whose skills and knowledge are likely to outlast their industries, never mind their current positions, are looking for challenges, learning opportunities, and the satisfaction of contributing to something new. They thrive on change and demand the same of the organizations for which they work. "Compliance Companies" erect barriers to change and innovation by insisting on control of information, resources, and decision making in an effort to preserve the status quo. "Creation" companies, on the other hand, do whatever they can to encourage debate, insist on collaboration, and reward creative impulses from anywhere in the organization.

Drawing from his work with a wide variety of companies around the world, as well as his experiences in the U.S. Marine Corps, McGehee demonstrates how any company can generate the excitement, energy, confidence, and audacity of the "whoosh," by subscribing to three fundamental principles:

A leadership style that emphasizes freedom, not control Understanding that success means creating the new, not replicating the old A corporate culture that values individual expression and collaborative work. Whoosh is not about working harder, faster, or more; it's about working with integrity and purpose to maximize both individual and collective achievement. Ultimately, Whoosh will help you ensure that the sound you hear is your own company racing headlong into the future -- and not your competition speeding past you.

About the Author:

Tom McGehee is Vice President of Cap Gemini Ernst & Young's Accelerated Solutions Environment in Dallas. His U.S. Marine experience ran the gamut from commanding special operations units to ceremonial duties at the White House. Tom has worked with start-ups to global giants, and has learned that whether taking the hill or closing the deal, success is not manufactured, it's unleashed. Tom and his family live in Plano, Texas.