Based on a theoretical framework which has been tested in practice over 150 years, Bungay shows how the approach known as 'mission command' has been applied in businesses as diverse as pharmaceuticals and F1 racing today. The Art of Action is scholarly but engaging, rigorous but pragmatic, and shows how common sense can sometimes be surprising.
What do you want me to do? This question is the enduring management issue, a perennial problem that Stephen Bungay shows has an old solution that is counter-intuitive and yet common sense. The Art of Action is a thought-provoking and fresh look at how managers can turn planning into execution, and execution into results.
Drawing on his experience as a consultant, senior manager and a highly respected military historian, Stephen Bungay takes a close look at the nineteenth-century Prussian Army, which built its agility on the initiative of its highly empowered junior officers, to show business leaders how they can build more effective, productive organizations. Based on a theoretical framework which has been tested in practice over 150 years, Bungay shows how the approach known as 'mission command' has been applied in businesses as diverse as pharmaceuticals and F1 racing today. The Art of Action is scholarly but engaging, rigorous but pragmatic, and shows how common sense can sometimes be surprising.
Stephen Bungay has something genuinely interesting to tell us. His book is not one of those vacuous essays in 'leadership qualities' of the 'how would Napoleon/MacArthur/Alexander the Great have turned around General Motors' variety ... What makes this book worth reading is the way in which Mr. Bungay calls time on an entire culture of gobbledygook. You don't succeed in warfare by having vague objectives and issuing ambiguous orders. And you shouldn't expect to succeed in business that way, either. - The Wall Street Journal
What do you get if you cross a military historian with a management consultant? You get this fascinating book by Stephen Bungay - Bungay is a comfortable with management as he is with history and here cleverly draws on his knowledge of the latter to influence his thinking - A must-read for any would-be strategist. - Director
We live in an age of strategic failure across the board - in international relations and economic affairs, on the battlefield as well as in the marketplace. Inventively and incisively, Stephen Bungay draws on Clausewitz's wisdom, military history, business literature, and common sense to develop the notion of 'directed opportunism' for breaking the ominous cycle of frustration. - Jonathan Stevenson, Professor of Strategic Studies, U.S. Naval War College
Leadership is an intangible value. What sets Stephen Bungay apart is that he draws upon his deep knowledge of historical military campaigns to highlight key leadership principles and then sets them in the context of modern business with an understanding of the particular challenges faced by each company he works for. The first part greatly entertains and captivates the audience and the second part really brings home the teachings we wish to impart. The results have been very good. - Tom Glocer, CEO, Thomson Reuters
The Art of Action is a must for anyone in business who takes their leadership responsibilities seriously. Stephen Bungay draws upon his deep understanding of business strategy and military history and describes principles in his book that will have a real impact for those who adopt them. The Art of Action is the strategic handbook for today built on the insights of yesterday. This will be compulsory reading for all of my unit heads. - Eliot Forster, CEO, Solace Pharmaceuticals
All too often, strategies fail to be implemented because they do not make tough choices between priorities and therefore leave people confused. The eminently pragmatic techniques described in this book are a great way of sharpening up the thinking, the communication and the sense of accountability needed to get an organisation moving. The ideas sound simple, but they are very powerful. - Martin Bean, Vice Chancellor, The Open University