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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Book Review: The Power of We by Jonathan M Tisch

Book Review: The Power of We by Jonathan M Tisch, Chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels.

Jonathan's wikipedia page shows the other prominent positions Jonathan holds. He is a leader who really appears to “walk the talk”. I say 'appears to' as a reservation only because I have not yet had the opportunity to confirm this in person. Certainly, the evidence is well weighted in favor of this “walk the talk” being true.

Jonathan opens this book with an explanation of the power of partnerships.
“In today’s complex world, operating without partners is not an option for any but the smallest of businesses. The real choice is whether you will partner deliberately or inadvertently, effectively or ineffectively, thoughtfully or carelessly.”
He closes each chapter with a Portrait in Partnerships, highlighting an individual that has partnered with him or Loews to show specific details around the particular relationship. For example, Chapter 4 closes with a profile of Emeril Legasse. Yes, the cook that appears daily on Emeril Live on the Food Network. (Interesting side bit, those shows are all taped during one week each month, so they are taped live but not shown live.) I have written previously about the cool signal that the wait staff uses with salt and pepper shakers. Read the story here.

It is not surprising that he finds the partnership with his employees to be a critical one.
“Our partnership with employees is based upon what we call a three-legged stool: (1) smart selection, (2) effective training, (3) recognition and rewards. The image of the three-legged stool emphasizes the importance of all three parts of our program. If one leg of a stool is weak, broken, or too short, the stool will collapse. In the same way, the Loews human resources program can’t succeed unless all parts of the program are strongly supported. Our three-part human resources program is as effective as any in our industry; helping us to foster a true sense of partnership between the company and its people.”
Jonathan also spends time talking about the management development program and the mentor program. Both of these are key pieces for the company’s overall success.

Turning Customers into Partners is the title of Chapter 5. This chapter was one that I found myself marking up with good tips and reinforcing points of attention. A visit to the Loews Hotel website reflects some of this attention to detail and focus on the customer experience. It is much cleaner in layout than many other hotel websites yet has the information effectively available.

This chapter is the longest in Jonathan’s book (30 pages) followed by the chapter on employees (28 pages), the role of the company as a good corporate citizen (26 pages), and the opening chapter (getting from me to we) (24 pages). One of the pieces of evidence I find that shows Jonathan walks the talk.

Sprinkled throughout the book are special sections called Tisch’s Tips. In Chapter 7, E Pluribus Plenty, “when competition gives way to cooperation”, the tip tells us:
“How well do your co-branding partnerships work? Which individuals, businesses, or other organizations do you currently partner with? If there is friction, inefficiency, or a lack of creativity, it may be because the goals and values of the two partners are not fully compatible. Perhaps it’s time to consider changing the nature of the partnership, or to shift to a different partner whose philosophy is closer to your own.”
Jonathan closes the book with an epilogue titled “12 More Tips, A Recipe for Personal Success”. The tips are timeless. Some you’ll recognize, some are phrased a little different from what you may have heard before. All are good to read and review periodically.

Going from 'me to we' requires a mindset, a change in approach for some people. Some may not trust you at first. They may be suspicious of your motives. You will need to be careful to stay the course, to walk the talk, to earn their trust. When you do, the partnership rewards will be seen in power of we!

If you are interested in success in the modern "flat world", the "Power of We" is a great book to read.

Additional "Power of We" resources:

The Blog Synergy (now dormant)

Jonathan’s wikipedia profile

Loews Hotel website

Jonathan’s Open Exchange program on Plum TV

Post script:
The Synergy Blog began with a core group of folks anxious to explore the power of synergy. This diverse group was successful in a short period. While the blog is no longer active that is not considered a failure. The individuals in the group inspired and energized by the “power of we” are off and busy in other projects. During the time we were together, this particular book came to our attention. It has taken a while to complete the read and write this summary as other projects seemed to jump into the priority listing. Nonetheless, many of the tenets Jonathan has laid out here, I believe were experienced by the Blog Synergy team while it was at its best. For that I am grateful to have taken part. For that, also I think is a proof of the tenets of this work.

Kudos to you Jonathan, for your good work. Keep it up!

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Comments on "Book Review: The Power of We by Jonathan M Tisch"


Blogger Blaine Collins said ... (11:01 PM) : 

Nice write-up Steve. I've been considering reading this book and your review has definitely pushed it up the list. Thanks.


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