Spiral Up: and Other Management Secrets behind Wildly Successful Initiatives

Spiral Up: and Other Management Secrets behind Wildly Successful Initiatives

Spiral Up: and Other Management Secrets behind Wildly Successful Initiatives

Spiral Up: and Other Management Secrets behind Wildly Successful Initiatives


Maybe the reason so many well-intentioned management initiatives fall short is because typical " best practice" methods only help managers avoid failure, rather than produce genuinely spectacular results. Jane Linder proposes a new way of managing. Based on her study of more than 40 wildly successful projects, she has identified five characteristics that fly in the face of conventional practice:

Make Space - Allow the project to grow and develop in unpredictable ways.

Get it Right - Insist on finding the right answers to the toughest questions.

Make a Difference - Reach beyond your grasp to accomplish the impossible.

Energize People - Create an emotional environment filled with challenge.

Spiral Up - Don't stop with a single achievement; use it as a step to greater success.

From developing a virtual reality simulator for underwater mining equipment to saving an Ohio oil refinery from closure, Spiral Up presents accounts of everyday project champions who have produced breathtaking results... and shows readers how to do the same.


I am thrilled to introduce this wonderful book. Why? Many people say that I have been wildly successful, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way to me. According to Spiral Up, however, it’s not unusual for champions of working wonders to feel the same way I do. Let me explain …

My colleagues, Colin Angle and Rodney Brooks, and I started iRobot Corporation, a company that makes robots for both the military and the consumer markets. We developed the iRobot PackBot, a bombdisposal robot for the military that has saved scores of soldiers’ lives. When we get one back from the front lines of Iraq in pieces, we know we have made a big difference for an American family somewhere. The company also developed and commercialized the iRobot Roomba, the first practical and affordable robot for the home. Yes, it cleans your house. Through 2006, we have sold more than 2 million of them.

I didn’t start out to be a bomb-disposal expert or a house-cleaning maven. Actually, Star Wars got me into the robot business. I was 11 when I saw the movie and was completely enthralled by R2D2. He was much more than a machine—he had character and personality. If you think about it, unlike the humans in the series who come and go, R2D2 starred in all six of the films.

At the time, I was hacking away on the family computer, a TRS80, and I could see how machines could be programmed to do the things you want. I could control the motors in the computer’s tape deck and request sensor readings from the key board. It wasn’t hard to imagine having a camera system connected. Like others in this book who worked wonders, I reached for something well beyond my grasp.

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