Fifteen years ago Mark McCormack first shook up the business and consultancy worlds with his provocatively titled, and written, What they don't teach you at Harvard Business School.
His approach to business has been characterised by the sort of chutzpah that led him, many years earlier, to start representing the then unknown golfer Arnold Palmer.
The business McCormack built, IMG, has grown into the world's most powerful sports marketing company, and IMG's broadcast division, Transworld International, is the world's largest distributor of televised sport. If Mark McCormack has decided it is time to tell us something about the internet and the new economy, it would probably be wise to listen.
The internet has paved the way for many new companies and exciting business models. It has also opened the doors to some very inexperienced people, driven by great ideas, well financed and equipped with enthusiastic management teams, but lacking the professional management skills to enable them to create businesses that will last. Reading McCormack's book will clearly be a step in the right direction for anyone who identifies with this situation.
In this heady climate, many of the fundamentals of establishing, developing and managing a business have gone by the wayside. As the CEO of a growing and leading pan-European business, I truly believe that once you remove the dot.com and the hype of the internet, you are left with just another business and normal business issues. A business that has people, technology, suppliers and partners; a business that includes all aspects of management, such as planning, budgeting and organising and controlling - all the things necessary to create a solid business foundation.
The book is extremely refreshing to read, and offers unique insights into those key foundations of management and interpersonal communication skills. Those who think they are reading just another internet book on how the world is going to be changed by the new economy are in for a pleasant surprise and a new learning experience. The author takes a pragmatic and logical approach to running and managing a business in the new environment.
His philosophy and approach to many of the key management issues that people face in developing a successful business are clearly laid out.
The author also illustrates many of his suggestions and views with situations and experiences that he has had during his long and successful career.
McCormack, through his new book, has done a great job of reminding us all that there are many and varied aspects of running a business and many of these cannot be learned on the internet. He discusses the need to understand your objectives and solutions, the key to appreciating quality of talent in people, the realisation that office politics are not required but that deal-making and negotiation skills are, that time management is essential in order to deliver results and, most importantly, to take care of the customer.
This book is extremely valuable in providing relevant experiences and information on how to manage a dot.com in general, but more importantly it highlights numerous fundamental points to help people face the challenges of the new economy.
From my own personal perspective, I found the book extremely helpful and a good refresher on issues related to managing your business better.
I strongly believe that the skill sets, and particularly the execution of decisions and behaviour in day-to-day business, are essential factors if you want to win in the new economy.
Sports Illustrated magazine, the must-read for America's large army of fans, once described McCormack as 'the most powerful man in sports'. And Harvard Business School, the institution McCormack so famously cocked a snook at 15 years ago, teaches the story of IMG as a case study for its ambitious and talented students. Put your money on McCormack if you are hoping to find the smartest guide through the potentially hazardous world of managing in this new era.