Leading at The Edge | Dennis N.T. Perkins

Summary of: Leading at The Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition
By: Dennis N.T. Perkins


Embark on an expedition through ‘Leading at The Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition’ by Dennis N.T. Perkins and discover key insights into building a successful organization. In this summary, learn about the importance of creating a ‘provider of choice’ for customers, an ’employer of choice’ for workers, and an ‘investment of choice’ for stakeholders. Dive deeper into the SCORES management system and understand how shared information, a compelling vision, ongoing learning, customer focus, energizing systems, and shared power, can propel any business to new heights. Get ready to inspire your team and become a true servant leader.

Achieving Excellence

Companies that want to go beyond mediocrity strive for excellence by becoming the provider of choice for customers, the employer of choice for workers, and the investment of choice for stakeholders. To achieve this, leaders must influence others by unleashing their power and potential to impact the greater good. To become the provider of choice in the marketplace, companies need to create a “fan customer” base by treating customers with respect and care. To become the employer of choice, organizations need to treat their employees well, creating a positive buzz. Leaders should aim for a higher purpose and get their workers involved in cost-cutting and maximizing profits to become the investment of choice. By achieving these three layers of success, companies can move beyond the bottom line and achieve excellence.

The SCORES Management System

Successful businesses utilize the SCORES management system, which stands for Shared information, Compelling vision, Ongoing learning, Relentless focus on customer results, Energizing systems and structures, and Shared power and high involvement. This acronym highlights the importance of open communication, a clear mission statement, continuous education, customer-focused operations, aligned targets, and employee participation. Companies who prioritize these elements are more likely to achieve success.

The Importance of Vision and Values in Leadership

High-performing organizations understand the significance of having a vision and clear goals. A higher purpose, a compelling vision, and well-defined targets and values shape the leadership activities of a company or a team. Corporate vision provides milestones and parameters for success, whereas clear goals provide signposts for everyone involved in an organization. Walt Disney’s mission statement, “We’re in the happiness business,” clearly prioritizes their values, which include safety, courtesy, and efficiency. Successful leaders make a leap of faith, fight the battle against habit and tradition, and incorporate their values into a mission statement. Vision, goals, and values provide direction, and without them, leadership does not matter.

Empower Your Employees for Customer Satisfaction

Author Ken Blanchard highlights the importance of empowering employees to make on-the-spot decisions to improve customer satisfaction. In his book, he shares a personal experience of arriving at an airport without proper identification. While the Southwest Airlines staff reacted with enthusiasm and treated Blanchard like royalty, the employees of a different airline lectured him about procedures and policies, making him an unhappy customer. Blanchard compares empowered employees to soaring eagles above petty office policies, while corporate robots resemble ducks quacking out policies and swimming in narrow ponds of regulations. He emphasizes that in high-performing organizations, everything starts and ends with the customer. Profit, according to Blanchard, is the applause you get for taking care of your customers and creating a motivating environment for your people. Empowering employees to make quick decisions can lead to happier customers and a more successful organization.

Court Your Customers

The book advises businesses to empower their employees and create a self-leadership culture to court customers and boost profits. The case study of Trader Joe’s shows that when employees are given more authority to make local decisions, sales growth spikes and total sales levels increased by more than 500%. The author suggests techniques like listening to feedback, recognizing employees’ efforts, giving clear guidance, and remaining humble to create a highly-engaged workforce. The book concludes that a self-leadership organization can retain customers and drive profits.

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