Score: 95/100 (9.5 out of 10)
As a non-fiction, business book, this is going to be very hard to top! WINX: The Problem Solving Model to Win Exponentially with Customers, Employees and Your Bottom Line by Irma Parone is a phenomenal, remarkable, excellent business book that every leader and decision maker should read! That's right, we're looking at you, Congress.
The author comes from a place of both passion and experience. She clearly cares about the subject matter and making sure that businesses perform to the best of their abilities—reaching and exceeding their projections and potentials. She wants to see businesses not just stay in business but continue to thrive, all the while harboring a positive, psychologically safe work environment which will pay the company back tenfold in the long-run.
Not to oversimplify things too much, but the author main proposition seems to be that a happy workplace is a productive and successful workplace. She's right! You don't have to look far to see examples of rich (or formerly rich) people who are unhappy or struggling with things like addiction and depression. The author provides such examples in the book, using lottery winners as one example. Interestingly, the cases of lottery winners serves several functions: it serves to show that you can't win if you never play (try new things and take risks), but it also shows (primarily) that just having a quick win doesn't equate to long term happiness or success. Many lottery winners had fundamental problems with money mismanagement, familial difficulties, and issues like addiction that were worsened by suddenly becoming rich. Some even wished they'd never won the money or had thrown the lottery ticket away because of the problems it led to.
The point is, you need to have your bases checked and not go all-in with only a quick, shallow victory as the goal. You need to remember yourself, your family, your employees, and your customers. You need to take to heart that these people are more valuable than any sum of money, and that when you start losing these people, you really start to feel how meaningless those quick, shallow victories are.
The author uses several examples of people who were seeking a quick win even at the expense of life and safety. One such example is the Ford Motor Company in the 1970s when they released their Ford Pinto, a vehicle with a design flaw in which it tended to explode and lead to a fire if struck at more than 20 MPH from the rear. So, in theory, a simple fender-bender could turn into a deadly incident due to this design flaw. Despite know this, the Ford Motor Company was guided by the release date and the dollar bills they would be leaving on the table if they didn't release the car. They ignored the potential human costs as insignificant or losses they could deal with. Guess what happened? A deadly accident occurred in which one of the Ford Pintos caught fire, killing several children inside and leaving one alive but with 90% of their body burned. It took this tragedy to force Ford to reevaluate the human costs, and it really shouldn't have. The accident and ones like it tarnished Ford's reputation and hurt them financially in the long run with lawsuits and loss of revenue.
Another such example is the tragic launching of the Challenger space shuttle in 1986. NASA was under tremendous pressure from the White House to launch the mission on time for publicity purposes, so as not to upset the American peoples' expectations or embarrass the United States on the world stage near the tail-end of the Cold War. Well, the powers that be were concerned about the wrong things, prioritizing superficial things over human life and safety. There were a lot of red flags including several people who said that the temperature outside was not safe to launch the Challenger. One person refused to sign off on the mission. Others objected. Yet, the mission was launched anyway with disastrous consequences, killing all on board.
What these cases remind us of is to remember what we're really working toward: we're not trying to succeed at all costs and darn the consequences, we're trying to succeed and have continued success for years and years—even decades or generations—to come. The author is concerned about the longevity of your prosperity, and you should be too!
Something else the author emphasizes is what she calls “psychological safety.” Psychological safety is feeling comfortable and safe to express your opinions and ideas without fear of reprisal, condemnation, or punishment. Specifically, this applies to the workplace in the context of this book, but it could apply to anywhere people meet and make decisions. Psychological safety is super important because it leads to more creativity and thus more problem-solving. It's really the cornerstone of America—the fact that we have freedom of expression also leads to things like airplanes and the Internet being invented here. In a more repressive environment, ideas and creativity are also repressed. People are afraid to share new things, stunting the growth of that community.
Even with that in mind, psychological safety is surprisingly uncommon in business environments. 23% of employees say that their employers do not respond constructively to their sharing of opinions. That means that most employers tend to not want to hear from their employees? Why? Well, it seems pretty simple. They look down on them as less qualified and devalue their opinions.
The author encourages business leaders to hire people who don't like them and will challenge them. Hire people who are honest and smarter than you. These critics and consultants are going to be the ones to fill your blind spots.
The authors says that there's power not in numbers but in diversity—diversity of opinions and ideas. This leads to creativity and problem-solving, allowing you to attack a problem from multiple angles.
Overall, this is a great business book!
Check it out on Amazon!