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Speed Review: Riding the Blue Train

Speed Review: Riding the Blue Train

Speed Review: Riding the Blue Train

A Leadership Plan for Explosive Growth

by Surinder Kumar & Bart Sayle

Breakthrough thinking requires an idea with possibility — the “Blue Train,” according to the authors. Too often, business centers on what can’t be done or what won’t work — the “Red Train” in the authors’ view. This book delves into the intricacies of “business as usual” attitude, and provides solutions to make way for what the authors call the “breakthrough strategy.”

Review

No More Business As Usual

Are you and your organization bogged down by "business as usual" thinking? Riding the Blue Train: A Leadership Plan for Explosive Growth delves into the intricacies of the business as usual attitude, and ways we might be promoting this kind of thinking without even knowing it. The book also provides solutions to make way for what the authors call the "breakthrough strategy." To get to this destination, leaders and employees must first put away their usual way of thinking and embrace change as an opportunity. It begins with little things that make a big difference, including attitude, intentions, inspiration and the way we communicate to one another.

Authors Bart Sayle, Ph.D., and Surinder Kumar, Ph.D., address numerous roadblocks to this kind of change - including our own perceptions and negative thinking. They offer positive ways to change and step-by-step exercises to help us recognize bad habits. They also explore ways to provide feedback, to tap into the power of intentions, and to make your team form a line-of-one, as opposed to each-man-for-himself mentality.

Breaking Through With Magical and Heroic Thinking
Breakthrough thinking begins with an idea that balloons with possibility - the "Blue Train," according to the authors. It asks what might be, as opposed to what is. However, too often, business environments center on what can't be done and why a new idea won't work - or the "Red Train," in the authors' view. This resigned and cynical thinking drains an organization. As a result, there is no growth and people are nothing more than warm bodies filling desks.

The authors contend that an explosive growth pattern begins with two types of thinking: magical and heroic. Children often think magically without even knowing it. They explore their environment unencumbered by the boundaries of reality. For example, in 1943, Edwin Land's young daughter wanted to see a photograph mere seconds after it was snapped. It was an impossible feat at the time, but Land wondered why not now? And so, he developed the Polaroid camera. Using heroic thinking, believing in himself to make the impossible possible, he created Polaroid photography.

The authors use this as an example of both magical and heroic thinking and show us that how we think can change an organization. It's the executive's job to foster this culture change. It involves encouraging people to make mistakes and think outrageously (in the same way as a child).

Destination Anywhere
The Blue Train is marked destination anywhere. It encourages empowered thinking to see opportunity. Retail executives Bernard Marcus and Arthur Blank represent this kind of thinking, the authors write. The pair learned a valuable lesson when their employer, the Handy Dan home-improvement chain, was sold and they lost their jobs. But instead of blaming others for their fate or becoming defensive, they saw opportunity. Armed with a great idea and their knowledge of the home-improvement market, this opportunity came to be known as Home Depot.

"The more one interprets an event as an opportunity, the more positive energy is increased - and the more positive energy is increased, the more one interprets events as opportunities," the authors write. This is the basis of breakthrough thinking and the essence of the Blue Train, they explain.

This plan begins with envisioning where you want to go - unencumbered by the negative can't-do mentality. The authors explain that by living the vision, with intentional actions, we can set a live landscape for success.

The authors also spend significant time on the power of words to get there - as negative words, even masked as sarcasm, can derail a train and de-motivate. Our intentions show through in our language, and can make the impossible possible. They can also suck life from an organization if not in the right spirit.

As part of this, leaders should offer and elicit feedback. Feedback is an essential ingredient for success, but it must be delivered in the spirit of the team, the authors warn. The authors suggest ways to get feedback and give feedback in a four-step process. This process can also be applied to dealing with conflict.

Why We Like This Book
Riding the Blue Train shows how easily negativity can enter into a business environment. The authors show us in a step-by-step process how to reverse this thinking within ourselves and within the organization. The book is tightly written and provides a cohesive framework to offering breakthrough thinking in everyday situations.

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