Summary of Aiming High

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Aiming High book summary


8 Overall

9 Applicability

8 Innovation

8 Style


If you believe that successful leadership can’t be codified, Colonel Jay W. Spechler, Ph.D., would beg to differ. A management consultant and professor, the Colonel clearly describes the traits of a successful leader and then details what such a leader must do to guide a strategic planning initiative. Having pinned his model for success to a board like a butterfly, he describes how 18 organizations changed through strategic planning under strong leaders. The Colonel’s organizations vary from large corporations - American Airlines, AT&T and Ritz Carlton Hotels - to nonprofit, trade and governmental organizations - a local school board, the United Services Automobile Association and the U.S. Air Force. He nails down and organizes the major elements that make a strategic initiative work. getabstract recommends this book as a refreshing change from the general run of works on theoretical strategic planning. Thanks to his focus on the human and organizational face of leadership and change, Spechler is our new favorite Colonel.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why and how you should organize strategic planning
  • Which nine characteristics successful leaders share; and
  • What companies have been the most successful strategic planners

About the Author

Dr. Jay W. Spechler is the president of Spechler Associations, a Florida consulting firm. Formerly, Spechler was in charge of quality assurance and performance engineering at American Express. He has previously worked as a director of management services for Florida Power & Light and as an internal consulting manager for Gulf & Western Industries. He has conducted seminars on industrial engineering, leadership, strategic planning and total quality management for numerous organizations and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Miami. His other books include Managing Quality in America’s Most Admired Companies and When America Does It Right: Case Studies in Service Quality.



Strategic Planning: Why and How?
The 18 companies identified at the end of this work all use strategic planning as a way to stay on top. As a result, they receive consistent recognition for outstanding management practices and leadership that gets results. They constitute a benchmark for...

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