BOOK REVIEW: “Dogs Don’t Bark at Parked Cars: Your GPS in an Era of Hyper Change”, by Jeff Piersall and Eric Wright

The title of this motivational guide for business success is from one of the author’s experiences in childhood: a Dalmatian bit him because, instead of pedaling his bike as fast as he could to get away, he became transfixed by the dog that was chasing him. The authors liken that experience to what happens in business when entrepreneurs slow down and look back — and succumb to their  detractors.

They point out that, if your business is moving forward, it will attract attention, and that attention isn’t always positive. People will bark and chase you because they disparage your ability to initiate, create and innovate. The threatening environment can cause all but the most courageous leader to  falter.

Because this era of hyper change brings out plenty of critics and wannabes who will chase at your the heals, the authors share 10 qualities that allow business leaders to build momentum, stay nimble and become more adaptive. Each chapter focuses on one of these values, sharing what goes wrong when business leaders are deficient in them, and how to go about refining each quality to stay ahead of the  pack.

For example, one quality is being able to recognize the unique and diverse abilities that people possess, and to deploy people where they are most fulfilled and effective. Leaders must realize that, in dog terms, most people are drawn toward the Golden Retriever, but this docile breed isn’t necessarily the best fit in every situation. Even the diminutive Dachshund has its strengths and its courageousness can be utilized to take on opponents twice its  size.

In business, the authors emphasize that pre-judging people based on limited knowledge — like only seeking out the dog breed you’re most accustomed to when different breeds provide a better option — is detrimental to success. Their advice for learning to value and honor diversity includes “thinking like a coach,” because coaches realize that it takes individual players with different sets of skills to help their team  win.

By utilizing dog behavior and training analogies, and cleverly incorporating sayings referencing dogs in their chapter titles — “Wag More, Bark Less,” “The Power of the Pack” and so on — the authors make their leadership messages accessible. They also emphasize that, while Emotional Quotient (EQ) and employee engagement have become today’s catch phrases, the key character qualities they point to transcend generations and  professions.

Piersall and Wright stress that “the behaviors that solidify bonds between people and dogs make business endeavors work.” Dogs Don’t Bark at Parked Cars emphasizes how business isn’t just about technology, know-how or innovative products and services. It’s about the quality of the relationships between those engaged in business  together.

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