I received the book as a review copy from the author…but don’t let that get in the way of believing me when i say that this business fable is an excellent one.
SWAT is an acronym for “Systems Working All Together”…but it also helps set the stage for the story in the book.
The storyline of this book is a good one and keeps the concepts moving forward quickly. In the story, a team lead has a difficult task to work through and turns to his best friend and cousin…who happens to be a SWAT commander.
The main character, Toby, spends time with his SWAT commander cousin and learns the systems thinking concepts that make SWAT teams successful.
The concepts are described perfectly and in a manner that makes it easy to comprehend and easy to understand how you might apply them to the problems your currently facing.
Timothy Johnson, author of the Carpe Factum blog (great blog…check it out), had an interesting St. Patrick’s Day post titled “The Luck of the Irate” where he talks about the wonderful “hit and run” managers. You know, this managers that step into a situation that they know very little about, offer their opinions and/or bark orders and then leave with the thought that they’ve “solved the problem”.
We all know managers and project managers like this…they don’t wait to find out the details…they barge in and ‘get things done’ but most times they end up confusing the issue and causing more work than needed. I’m a big believer in being hands-off as much as possible and expect my folks to bring up any issues that they need my help with…and it appears that Timothy believes this as well…he writes:
There’s a lot to be said for the finer art of facilitation as opposed to going into a conflict like a bulldozer on a steroid overdose
The wise project manager does not interfere with the work of the team unless all else has failed. Delicate facilitation is the way not sudden intervention. By using a sudden intervention the work of one or more members of the team is cast aside and they will feel violated. The team will be weakened and what may, at the time feel like a victory, is actually a failure.
Managing a team of people requires a lot of skills…being a bulldozer isn’t one of them. 🙂
Eric D. Brown, D.Sc. is a technology consultant, investor and entrepreneur with an interest in using technology and data to solve real-world business problems. He currently runs his own consulting practice focused on helping organizations use their data more efficiently. Additionally, he is the Chief Information Officer of Sundial Capital Research, publisher of sentimenTrader
Eric received his Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) in Information Systems in 2014 with a dissertation titled “Analysis of Twitter Messages for Sentiment and Insight for use in Stock Market Decision Making”. His research interests are currently in the areas of decision support, data science, big data, natural language processing, sentiment analysis and social media analysis.In recent years, he has combined sentiment analysis, natural language processing and big data approaches to build innovative systems and strategies to solve interesting problems. You can read some of his research here: Eric D. Brown on ResearchGate
In addition, he is an entrepreneur that has launched a few companies with the most recent being a company focused on proving data analytics and visualization services to the financial markets.