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Book Review: American Icon by Bryce Hoffman

I would best describe this book at a story of a company turnaround that has plenty of great management lessons even if it doesn't mean to be a traditional management book.

American Icon is the story of how Alan Mulalley took over Ford, after a successful stint at Boeing, and turned around the company. Bryce Hoffman is a journalist that covers the automotive industry, so he has a great deal of insider knowledge. He also has the ability to write an intriguing story.

Any manager reading this book should be able to find multiple things that can be taken and adapted to her situation. You will see the basics like creating a psychologically safe environment, providing feedback, clear expectations, holding people accountable, rewards, etc. What is helpful is that you see messiness of it and the challenges that aren't adequately shown in any training. I make the common mistake of thinking these behaviors exist in a vacuum. Yet, often they need to be joined together or done in a strange order because of the situation. It reminds me of something that a coworker once said to me - "all our processes would work great if it weren't for people".

I highly recommend this book. The story is fascinating, which makes the fact that you can get some lessons out of it even better.

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