American Business, a Two-minute Warning: Ten Changes Managers Must Make to Survive Into the 21st Century

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Simon and Schuster, 1988 - Business & Economics - 368 pages
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In less than two decades -- about "two minutes" in world history time -- Japan will succeed the United States as the world's productivity leader, and in the twenty-first century this Pacific nation will become the world's economic leader. The United States will drop back to number two or three in the global economy, burdened with a large foreign debt, and faced with a relatively lower standard of living, following the path of decline of Great Britain and other former world leaders.

So predict C. Jackson Grayson, Jr., and Carla O'Dell, two of the world's leading authorities on productivity, "unless" American government, management, and labor can work together-and soon -- to revive American productivity growth and bolster the quality of American products and services. Showing how hundreds of companies including Xerox, Federal Express, Ford, IBM, and Motorola are successfully responding to the competitive challenge, the authors make a compelling case that American industry can benefit from the lessons of history, learn to adjust, and thus retain its world economic leadership.

Speaking directly to managers, Grayson and O'Dell offer a wealth of practical suggestions for American business in their specific ten-part "Agenda for Adjustment." Based on their experience with successful firms, the Agenda spells out workable recommendations for improvement -- from operating systems and organization structure, to employment stability and compensation systems.

"American Business: A Two-Minute Warning" also addresses the role of government in industrial revitalization. Grayson and O'Dell contend that much of what is recommended for government action tackles the wrong problems. Not onlywill such proposed responses fail, they argue, but they will make the situation worse. They then make specific suggestions for what government should -- and should not -- do.

The stakes are enormous. Few single issues will have a greater impact than productivity and quality on the everyday lives, aspirations, and futures of Americans and their children. Grayson and O'Dell's message' grow or decline. A two-minute warning. And there are no timeouts left.

  

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Contents

Consequences
17
Productivity
29
The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody
49
The Rise and Stall of the United States
57
Was It the Butler?
66
A Historical Perspective
77
The Leaders Perceptions
79
The Ways of the Challenger
90
Training and Continuous Learning
195
Accounting Systems
206
Symbols Status and Membership
217
A LaborManagement Partnership
225
The Litmus Test
237
Government
245
What Government Should Not Do
247
What Government Should Do
259

The Challenger Closes In
98
Private Sector
109
The Agenda for Adjustment
111
Integrated Operating Systems
121
Redesigning the Organization
134
The Quest for Quality
144
Competitive Compensation
156
Employment Stability and Flexibility
170
Expanding Employee Involvement
184
Education
268
The Competition
283
Economic Tectonics
285
Myths About Japan
293
Strengths of Japan
301
Japans Problems
311
Asian NICs
321
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About the author (1988)

C. Jackson Grayson, Jr., is Chairman of the American Productivity Center in Houston, Texas, where he works closely with hundreds of client companies -- consulting and conducting seminars and research projects. The former chairman of President Nixon's Price Commission, Grayson was also a member of President Carter's Commission on the Agenda for the 80s, and President Reagan's National Productivity Advisory Committee.

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