SOURCE: Booz & Company

Booz & Company

May 18, 2010 09:45 ET

"Fast Zebras" Enable Organizations to Get Things Done -- Fast and Effectively

The "Fast Zebra" Quiz Tests Your "Organizational Quotient": Take It at www.leadingoutsidethelines.com, and Learn the Truth

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - May 18, 2010) -  Managers should be on the lookout for Fast Zebras: They're vital to organizations because they use street smarts to get around stubborn obstacles; draw on personal relationships to solve problems; use "pride" to motivate behaviors; and know how to get the overall organization "unstuck," according to the authors of Leading Outside the Lines, How to Mobilize the (in)Formal Organization, Energize Your Team, and Get Better Results, a new book from Booz & Company.

Leaders who want to accelerate performance must pinpoint Fast Zebras -- people with high "organizational quotients" -- and find ways to leverage and attract more of them, the book says.

Find out if you're a Fast Zebra (or at least on your way to becoming one) by taking the Fast Zebra quiz at www.leadingoutsidethelines.com.

"Like the African savanna, the workplace is full of challenges and potential dangers. Fast Zebras are those employees who can quickly absorb information, adapt to sudden challenges, and act constructively -- just as a Fast Zebra survives a visit to the watering hole, while the slower herd members fall prey to predators lurking in the shadows," said co-author Jon Katzenbach, senior partner at Booz & Company.

Added co-author Zia Khan, vice president of strategy and innovation at The Rockefeller Foundation, "Fast Zebras can be found at all levels of the organization -- and break through the limitations of an entrenched culture. But they have to be given freedom to do it. When that happens, they set good examples and teach others."

The multiple-choice Fast Zebra quiz (www.leadingoutsidethelines.com) asks such questions as: How do you make sure your ideas get turned into results? How do you make sure people are properly motivated and have the right attitude? How do you get your teams to buy into your corporate values? And how do you change your people's behaviors in order to improve performance?

"Having a Fast Zebra mindset is hardly a no-brainer. We think this quiz makes that loud and clear," said Mr. Katzenbach. A link to the quiz is also available on Facebook.

Leading Outside the Lines makes the case that smart companies have discovered that the best way to create lasting value for their businesses is to nurture informal and non-hierarchical initiatives, rather than mainly relying on formal top-down "rules of engagement." Success, according to the book, requires balancing the best of the formal and informal aspects of the organization.

About Booz & Company

Booz & Company is a leading global management consulting firm, helping the world's top businesses, governments, and organizations.

Our founder, Edwin Booz, defined the profession when he established the first management consulting firm in 1914.

Today, with more than 3,300 people in 60 offices around the world, we bring foresight and knowledge, deep functional expertise, and a practical approach to building capabilities and delivering real impact. We work closely with our clients to create and deliver essential advantage.

For our management magazine strategy+business, visit www.strategy-business.com.

For information on the Katzenbach Center visit www.booz.com/katzenbach_center.

Visit www.booz.com to learn more about Booz & Company.

About the Authors

Jon Katzenbach is a senior partner at Booz & Company and leads The Katzenbach Center, where promising new approaches in leadership, culture and organization performance are developed for client application. His consulting career has been largely focused in these areas, and spans several decades across several different professional books, including Wisdom of Teams, Peak Performance, Why Pride Matters More Than Money and the new Leading Outside the Lines. He received his MBA from Harvard, where he was a Baker Scholar. Jon is a founding partner of Katzenbach Partners.

Zia Khan, co-author of Leading Outside the Lines, is vice president for strategy and evaluation at the Rockefeller Foundation, which supports innovations that help people share globalization's benefits more equitably and strengthens their resilience to social, economic, health and environmental challenges. Zia also advises leaders on the integration of strategy and organization as a senior fellow of the Katzenbach Center, which he co-founded with Jon Katzenbach, and as an individual consultant. Prior to joining the Rockefeller Foundation, Zia established and led Katzenbach Partners' San Francisco office and West Coast Practice and pioneered the firm's work on the informal organization. Zia holds a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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