Quick and Nimble
Lessons from Leading CEOs on How to Create a Culture of Innovation
What happens if you interview over 500 of the world’s top CEOs, and instead of asking them about their companies (about share prices or bottom lines), you ask them expansive questions about how they lead, motivate, and hire employees? You get Adam Bryant’s decade-long “Corner Office” column in The New York Times. And you also get his incredible talks: razor-sharp distillations of the finest strategies on leadership and corporate culture from the world’s best innovators.
“Far too many leadership books rely on the knowledge of consultants or on years-old stories to build their case; [Quick and Nimble] gets its ideas from the people actually running companies today.”— The Washington Post
Want to know how America’s top CEOs lead? And want to know how they overcame challenges and rose to the tops of their companies? Just ask them. That’s what Adam Bryant did, for a decade, in his landmark “Corner Office” column for The New York Times. Asking these stand-out individuals how they build and hire teams, create a sense of mission, and stay motivated and curious brought Bryant to the heart of transformative leadership today—beyond cliché and canned responses. It also built the core of his two remarkable books—The Corner Office and Quick and Nimble—which offer unparalleled insight into what it takes to foster a corporate culture of innovation, as well as what, exactly, sets high performers apart from their peers. Today, Bryant puts his extensive knowledge to work as Managing Director and Partner at Merryck & Co., helping executive teams sharpen their thinking around culture and leadership based on his own best-practice frameworks.
As a speaker, Bryant offers a much-needed tonic against the dry, academic jargon that can afflict many keynotes. Instead, he offers real stories—from real people at real companies—combined with a hands-on application of their hard-earned lessons. He’s candid, conversational, comfortable before audiences of any size, and possessed with a rare ability to cut to the universal amid the particular. He can also offer a more personalized “culture audit”—it’s a custom way to explore vulnerabilities in your own organization and fine-tune solutions with a highly qualified mentor (and one who’s worked with some of the most dynamic and influential leaders, and teams, in the world).
“The conversational format makes these valuable lessons easy to comprehend and digest, and readers are left with a new understanding of leadership—why it’s important, how these experts have worked to attain it, and how they can do the same.”— Publishers Weekly
In his latest book Quick and Nimble: Lessons from Leading CEOs on How to Create a Culture of Innovation, Bryant collects the wisdom of hundreds of business leaders to tackle the subjects of speed and innovation in today’s relentlessly transforming global economy. “Far too many leadership books rely on the knowledge of consultants or on years-old stories to build their case,” writes The Washington Post; “this book gets its ideas from the people actually running companies today.” To Kirkus, Quick and Nimble offers “reams of practical advice for and from business leaders—most thankfully—with a human, caring touch.” And The Huffington Post calls it “both enlightening and immensely practical.”
In his first book The Corner Office: How Top CEOs Made It and How You Can Too—a New York Times bestseller—Bryant draws together wisdom from leaders from Microsoft to Yahoo, DreamWorks to Ford to establish “five qualities CEOs value most in their employees” (making it an invaluable read for any aspiring executive, or anyone wanting a better experience on the job). Publishers Weekly raves that “readers are left with a new understanding of leadership—why it’s important, how these experts have worked to attain it, and how they can do the same.” Throughout, he offers a keen understanding of the forces that shape corporate culture and a clear road map to bring energy to any organization, from button-up to start-up.
Bryant has over thirty years of journalism experience as a reporter and editor, including eighteen years at The New York Times, where he was a member of the team that founded the Innovation Report. He was the lead editor of a series that won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2010. In addition to his consulting work on leadership development and mentoring, he teaches an executive course at Columbia University on “The Practice of Leadership.” Bryant holds a Masters degree from Columbia University.
How can you instill a culture of innovation into your company—into any company? In “The Corner Office,” Adam Bryant interviewed hundreds of leading CEOs for The New York Times, eschewing nuts-and-bolts questions about growth, sales, or industry shifts. Instead, he posed down-to-earth, human questions about leadership—how it works, where it comes from, how it can be better. How do top CEOs hire? What do they look for in colleagues? What inspires them? How do they overcome challenges? And what keeps them driven, day in and out, over the long haul of their careers?
Now, pulling together the broader themes of his diverse interviews, Bryant’s distilled a decade of wisdom into six practical steps (or drivers) of high-performing corporate culture. Presented in a keynote that’s warm, accessible, and funny, these principles—“A Simple Plan,” “Rules of the Road,” “A Little Respect,” “It’s All About the Team,” “Adult Conversations,” and “The Hazards of Email”—can provide a foundation for growth and wellbeing that you can act on immediately. Hands-on and eminently useful, Bryant’s keynotes help you alter your perspective, learn how to lead with your entire personality, embrace change and turbulence, and enjoy real, affective dialogue with your teammates.