Former Kaplan Professional CEO Andrew Temte, author of Balancing Act and host of a podcast of the same name, follows up his previous offering with a thorough guide to operationalizing good trust-building business practices.
Temte proposes building out a “management operating system” that allocates accountability to teams and individuals, which, he says, leads to organizational trust. Critical to this system is developing workflows, which he somewhat abbreviates as “flow,” although some business readers might associate the word with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s seminal work regarding the psychological state of “flow,” rather than as a process.
The author speaks winningly of building a sense of purpose among teams, as well as: making the company’s value systems clear, developing leaders, focusing on learning and coaching, and building a functional business environment rather than replicating a sometimes-dysfunctional “big happy family” model. “We should be married to our spouses, not the business,” Temte writes.
He particularly shines in case studies using real companies—Google, Amazon, Walmart—as examples, including their purpose statements, leadership principles, and breakdowns of initiatives that worked and didn’t. (Remember New Coke?) These examples help make the content concrete and comprehensible even to readers who are allergic to the corporate-speak that can plague leadership guides.
Temte’s prose can be dry in spots, as in: “Our first step in tearing apart CFA into its component parts was to engage in a multiday value stream mapping event. Experts and stakeholders from all departments that touched CFA, from the inception of a revision cycle to delivery of the finished product, gathered to map the work, actions, handoffs, wait times, and processing times along a simple flow diagram.”
Additionally, while Tempte’s advice is sturdy, it’s familiar, bringing little new to well-trodden ground in the leadership advice genre.
Still, The Balanced Business will serve as a useful primer for readers looking for a leadership starter guide.