I get this question a lot: why the book, why the concept. Here’s the answer.
Our previous book, The Project Manifesto, was designed to show what needs to happen in order to dramatically improve project performance. It did that. The book got many favorable reviews and a gold medal in the Axiom Business Book Awards. It was so successful at showing the needed mental shift that many prominent business people and consultants, including competitors of ProChain, signed onto the online manifesto at www.projectmanifesto.org.
There’s only one problem. People would read the book and say, “Great! Now what do I do?” Even worse, too many people feel completely stuck; which means that even with a complete instruction manual, they couldn’t cause any meaningful change. Things will stay the same until … my boss changes, the company culture changes, hell freezes over, you name it. We nailed questions like “why change,” “what to change,” and “to what to change,” but a single appendix wasn’t enough to answer “how to cause the change.”
I wrote Islands of Stability to answer this question.
The underlying problem is rooted in a conflict between thinking globally and acting locally. We want to make global changes, but we can only act locally. There are always things beyond our ability to change. Too often, that means nobody feels in a position to implement a global solution, so they do one of two things: they wait for something to change, or they push people. Waiting goes nowhere. Pushing is hard work and can actually make things worse, because it’s annoying.
The book Islands of Stability is rooted in our belief that everyone can make a difference somewhere, and that together we can make a difference everywhere.
There are two keys. First is to challenge some assumptions behind leadership, management, and culture change and understand how they really work together. Second is the A5 System, a framework for working together to make things happen. Using these keys, you can resolve the conflict and unlock progress, by both:
- Making changes in your own area—building your own “island of stability”—whether your area consists of one person or a thousand; and
- Partnering with others to help them build their islands and connect to yours.
That’s the motivation behind “Islands of Stability.” Please let me know what you think!
- On May 16, 2019