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Hannibal, Hummers, and Hot Air Balloons

by Bill Jeffries, Hannibal, Hummers, etal. Cover Comments

The World Trade Center was chosen as a terrorist target because it represented the economic heart of the United States and that of many of the 80 countries who suffered losses on September 11, 2001. But, even before militant Islamic terrorists destroyed this symbol of the spirit of capitalism and the free market system, traditional businesses were in trouble. Expectations were up and profits were down. The boom of the 1990's collapsed into the tech wreck of the dotcoms. Technology, the great motor of the economy, went into freefall and threatened to suck traditional businesses into its vortex. Quality circles, TQM, Team Building, Core Competences, Reengineering, Quality Processes, SAP, and a hoard of motivational speakers all pandered their solutions. Businesses got smaller and sometimes more efficient, and analysts' demands grew more strident.

The entire time, that which was missing was value-centered, visionary leaders capable of anticipating and responding to the myriad of changes swirling around them. Today, more than ever, High Performing businesses need a set of clearly articulated, agreed upon core values, a clearly stated vision of what succeeding looks like, a means of moving systematically towards identifiable goals, and leaders capable of motivating others to execute a strategy. Very little has changed in that regard since Hannibal crossed the Alps. We have just traded in elephants for Hummers, hot air balloons for Boeing 777's, and blacksmith shops for corporations.

For the business world, the future environment is clear: a world of unprecedented danger and volatility. The words "team work" and "high performance" once lip-service-slogans, are now essential to our survival. This is a book for business leaders who want to create cultures of High Performance during difficult times.

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