No Fear – Business leadership in the age of digital cowboys

I just finished reading Pekka Viljakainen‘s “No Fear – business leadership in the age of digital cowboys”.

I can simply say “wow!”

Pekka (or the “Bulldozer”, as is his nick name) has written a straight talk, totally BS-free management and leadership “manual” for the digital age, based on his extensive experience in the trenches of global IT industry.

In “No Fear”, Pekka brings together a lot of the more “philosophical” modern works of “guru’s” such as Steve Denning, Clayton Christensen, Dan Pink, Simon Sinek, and Lancaster & Stillman, and succeeds in combining the philosophies and thoughts from these sources into a very hands-on “actionable” message for every leader and manager in the modern,  networked knowledge industry.

I found real nuggets of straight talk opinions and advice on almost every page, a few examples below:

  • “the surest way for a leader to completely miss the boat is to avoid direct conversations with the clients”
  • “leaders who fly in as tourists to gawk and offer “help” are a joke”
  • “change happens on the front line, where there is real customer interaction”
  • “changing strategy based on signals from the front line is not just important, it’s essential” 
  •  “what the modern multinational corporation has mastered is the ability to take superbly talented individuals and convert them into average performers”
  • “fear of failure kills innovation, creativity and initiative”
  • “conflict is a sign that we are alive. Lack of conflict is a sign of impending coma and eventual death”
  • “focus on an individual’s value creation ability”
  • “it’s impossible to be an inspiring leader if you have no knowledge of or interest in the industry you are dealing with”
  • “a leaders role is to create a shared vision and a purpose”
  • “organizations have a tendency to grow their support functions faster than their business functions”
If you are managing or leading “digital cowboys”, i.e. the young (and some not so young! 🙂 professionals in the knowledge and innovation business, and you are to read only one management book this year, this is the book for you!  It will help you not only understand how these modern professionals think, and what makes them tick, but will also offer you solid advice on the “do’s and dont’s” of the trade!  


About swdevperestroika

High tech industry veteran, avid hacker reluctantly transformed to mgmt consultant.
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