The Soft Edge: Where Great Companies Find Lasting Success by Rich KarlgaardThe Soft Edge: Where Great Companies Find Lasting Success by Rich Karlgaard

The Soft Edge: Where Great Companies Find Lasting Success

byRich Karlgaard

Hardcover | April 7, 2014

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What Does it Take to Get Ahead Now—And Stay There?

High performance has always required shrewd strategy and superb execution. These factors remain critical, especially given today’s unprecedented business climate. But Rich Karlgaard—Forbes publisher, entrepreneur, investor, and board director—takes a surprising turn and argues that there is now a third element that’s required for competitive advantage. It fosters innovation, it accelerates strategy and execution, and it cannot be copied or bought. It is found in a perhaps surprising place—your company’s values.

Karlgaard examined a variety of enduring companies and found that they have one thing in common; all have leveraged their deepest values alongside strategy and execution, allowing them to fuel growth as well as weather hard times. Karlgaard shares these stories and identifies the five key variables that make up every organization’s “soft edge”:

  • Trust: Northwestern Mutual has built a $25 million dollar revenue juggernaut on trust, the foundation of lasting success. Learn how to create an environment that engenders trust and propels high performance.
  • Smarts: In most technical fields your formal education quickly becomes out of date. How do you keep up? Learn how the Mayo Clinic, Stanford University women’s basketball team, and others stay on top by relentlessly pursuing an advantage through smarts.
  • Teamwork: Since collaboration and innovation are a must in the global economy, effective teamwork is vital. Learn how global giant FedEx stays focused and how nimble Nest Labs relies on lean teams with cognitive diversity.
  • Taste: Clever product design and integration are proxies for intelligence because they make customers feel smart. But taste goes further into deep emotional engagement. Specialized Bicycles calls it “the elusive spot between data truth and human truth.” How can you consistently make products or services that trigger these emotional touch points?
  • Story: Companies that achieve lasting success have an enduring and emotionally appealing story. What’s your company’s story? How do you tell it your way? Gain the ability to create a powerful narrative in a world where outsiders often exercise the louder voice.
Rich Karlgaard is the publisher of Forbes magazine and author of its “Innovation Rules” column. He has been a longtime panelist on cable TV’s most popular business show, as well as a successful entrepreneur; Karlgaard co-founded Upside magazine,, and Silicon Valley’s premier business forum, the 7,500-member Churchill Club. H...
Title:The Soft Edge: Where Great Companies Find Lasting SuccessFormat:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9.1 × 6.5 × 1.3 inPublished:April 7, 2014Publisher:WileyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1118829425

ISBN - 13:9781118829424


Table of Contents

Foreword by Tom Peters xi

Preface: A Tale of Transformation—and Lasting Productivity Gains xvii

1 A Wellspring of Enduring Innovation: The Soft Edge 1

2 Hard Versus Soft: The Fight for Resources 20

3 Trust: The Force Multiplier of All Things Good 36

4 Smarts: How Fast Can You and Your Company Adapt? 66

5 Teams: Great Things Come to the Lean and Diverse 100

6 Taste: Beauty Made Practical, Magic Made Profitable 137

7 Story: The Power of Story, Ancient and New 173

Conclusion: The Sweet Spot of High Performance 209

Afterword by Clayton M. Christensen 219

Notes 223

Acknowledgments 233

About the Author 237

Index 238