That Used to Be Us

That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back by Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum

After returning (January 2012) from Vietnam and Cambodia I was consumed with the question of whether or not other Countries were pulling ahead of America – or if America is simply falling behind.  It is of great interest that my next selected book on tape happened to be That Used to be Us and the very first CD addressed the subject of China.  The authors point is: most people like myself with concerns about the dynamics of that country seems bigger than life may be saying, “That used to be us – we have simply gotten complacent and have stopped thinking that we can learn from others instead of the other way around.”

This book addresses Leadership by giving the new military training methodology from ‘the bottom up’ instead of drilling down! A soldier in training is asked to find an app – information regarding the enemy’s latest device; find the flaws or defenses against: take the rest of the soldiers TO THE FIELD to explain; lead discussion as to how to combat.  Seems that all to often the trainers (higher commanders) have not had boots in a long time and may find it harder to find their information trusted as much as if it comes from a peers who will be on the ground with the troops.  The book suggests that corporate American consider this advantage by giving the example of manufacturing in the U.S.A.  Most of the best creative ideas come from the floor where the product is actually made.

Our Company, Consult P3 uses a Lean Improving Performance program based on this same theory.  Go to the people doing it to find out how to do it better!!!

I have not finished the book yet, but couldn’t wait to recommend it.  Please let me know what you think if you choose to read it or listen to it on tape.

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