Ignited: Managers! Light Up Your Company and Career for More Power More Purpose and More Success by Vince Thompson has great relevance for those of us who are dealing with constant reinvention and the issues that arise when working to create alignment and tackle complex problems. This is due in part to the fact that Thompson is one of us. His career includes seven years as regional VP of sales for American Online and with his consultancy, Middleshift, he's been involved in crafting marketing solutions and ad sales strategies for Napster, Break.com, StarStyle and several other distinguished internet brands.
The work Thompson puts forward in "Ignited" is based on the findings of his four-person research team and more than 100 in-depth interviews with managers across the country.
In "Ignited," Thompson starts with the premise that life has never been tougher for managers. According to Accenture, 58 percent of the managers in America are willing to leave their jobs and another 30 percent are currently looking for new jobs. Often the conversation isn't about moving from "good to great" but rather how to survive the slide from mediocre to downright crappy. Managers, so often squeezed and de-positioned, are looking for more.
According to "Ignited," now is the time for managers to take it all back. The book demonstrates four major trends putting the wind at managers' backs, and then it drives forward with three sections, each with a prescription for change that is thoughtfully crafted.
In the first section, "Ignited' addresses power. How do you get real traction with your action? How do you skip the daily drill and get your boss to go along? The book also deals with emotions and fear, difficult dilemmas and how to lead in limited space -- a subject many managers can really relate to. How do you motivate people when you can't pay them more, and how do you retain people in a competitive environment?
In the second section, the heart of the book, "Ignited" introduces us to seven Ignition Points that are totally unique to the manager's role. The Ignition Points reveal the manager's role as link-maker, process master, pilot, bard, scout, translator and healer. When managers are engaged in these activities, they are doing what others can't and fully leveraging their roles in the middle to find a greater sense of purpose.
Each Ignition Point is demonstrated through multiple stories that take us into manufacturing, banking, technology, aviation, and of course, advertising.
In the third section, "Ignited" introduces us to the skills needed to sell our vision internally and outlines a system for the sophisticated internal sell. "Ignited" also discusses the idea of the project portfolio and talks about connecting your outside passion with your day job. There's a great story in the book that talks about a manager at Harrah's who got his company to buy the World Series of Poker. Also discussed is the concept of balance and finding a system of measurement that is your own.
"Ignited" blazes through the clutter of business books by going right to the heart of the matter. While there are many great books for getting started in business, and many wonderful books have been penned by those at the top, "Ignited" seems to be a book only a manager could have written.
In addition to the wisdom of managers, CEOs, business experts and cultural innovators, there's a special bonus for those in our business. Thompson profiles Elias Plishner and Brian Monahan of Universal McCann, and Andy Palowski, the director of brand Mmarketing at Rawlings.
Read "Ignited" and your personal life will thank you.
Brandon Gutman is director of marketing and business development at Stephen-Bradford Search. .