Real Principles. Smart Practices. Great Results.

It’s always nice to read about principles and practices that, theoretically, are supposed to improve your organization’s performance. But when all is said and done, there’s often more said than done.

We know you’re not interested in talk. You want solutions that actually work.

At Duncan Worldwide, we carefully diagnose before we prescribe. Then our prescription addresses your unique mix of issues in a way that produces the results you really need.

Featured Case Studies

Here are some highlighted case studies that show principles and practices in action. They also provide a model and vision of what your organization can become.

  • Overcoming Fake Talk

    Overcoming Fake Talk
    How to Hold REAL Conversations That Create Respect, Build Relationships, and Get Results John R. Stoker

    John Stoker scores early and often with his groundbreaking book Overcoming Fake Talk. He begins with the premise that much of what passes for meaningful conversation is counterfeit because the participants either tiptoe around the real issues or ignore them altogether. Then he offers a wealth of easy-to-understand principles and practices that help you engage in the real conversations that produce deeper respect, better relationships, and stronger results. I like this book so much I wish I’d written it myself.

  • Good to Great

    Good to Great
    Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t Jim Collins

    Can a good company become a great company and if so, how? Jim Collins concludes that it is possible, but finds there are no silver bullets. He and his team of researchers began their quest by sorting through a list of 1,435 companies, looking for those that made substantial improvements in their performance over time. They finally settled on 11, and discovered common traits that challenged many of the conventional notions of corporate success. At the heart of those rare and truly great companies was a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner.

  • Switch

    How to Change Things When Change is Hard Chip Heath and Dan Heath

    The Heath brothers (coauthors of Made to Stick) address motivating employees, family members, and ourselves in their analysis of why we too often fear change. Change is not inherently frightening, but our ability to alter our habits can be complicated by the disjunction between our rational and irrational minds: the self that wants to be swimsuit-season ready and the self that acquiesces to another slice of cake anyway. The trick is to find the balance between our powerful drives and our reason.

  • Dialogue Mapping

    Dialogue Mapping
    Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems Jeff Conklin

    In contrast to the use of agendas and restrictive structures, dialogue mapping is a facilitation technique that allows the intelligence and learning of the group to emerge naturally. Each participant can see how their comments contribute (or don’t) to the coherence and order of the group’s thinking. Dialogue Mapping provides an exciting new conceptual framework that could change the way you view projects and project management. A key insight of this approach is that shared display of the dialogue map promotes shared understanding of and commitment to the collective result.

  • Leadership and Self-Deception

    Leadership and Self-Deception
    Getting Out of the Box The Arbinger Institute

    It’s not what you do that matters, but why you do it. Latching onto the latest leadership trend won’t make people follow you if your motives are selfish–people can smell a rat, even one that says it’s trying to empower them. The tricky thing is, we don’t know that our motivation is flawed. We deceive ourselves in subtle ways into thinking that we’re doing the right thing for the right reason. We really do know what the right thing to do is, but this constant self-justification becomes such an ingrained habit that it’s hard to break free of it – it’s as though we’re trapped in a box, the authors say. Learning how the process of self-deception works – and how to avoid it and stay in touch with our innate sense of what’s right–is at the heart of the book.

  • Made to Stick

    Made to Stick
    Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die Chip Heath and Dan Heath

    An entertaining, practical guide to effective communication. Drawing extensively on psychosocial studies on memory, emotion and motivation, this study is couched in terms of “stickiness” – that is, the art of making ideas unforgettable. The authors start by relating the gruesome urban legend about a man who succumbs to a barroom flirtation only to wake up in a tub of ice, victim of an organ-harvesting ring. What makes such stories memorable and ensures their spread around the globe? The authors credit six key principles: simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions and stories.

  • The Fifth Discipline

    The Fifth Discipline
    Art and Practice of the Learning Organization Peter M. Senge

    Leading management guru Peter M Senge defines the five business ‘disciplines’ that together help to build learning organizations. These companies will be the successful ones in the coming decade because of their ability to learn, to absorb new ideas, theories and practices at all employee levels and use them to competitive advantage. Shared vision, teamwork and leverage are the main themes of this book.

  • Emotional Intelligence

    Emotional Intelligence
    Daniel Goleman

    Everyone knows that high IQ is no guarantee of success, happiness, or virtue, but until the discoveries of modern brain researchers, theorists could only guess why. Daniel Goleman’s fascinating report from the frontiers of psychology and neuroscience offers us startling new insight into our “two minds” – the rational and the emotional – and how they together shape our destiny. Beginning deep in the brain, Emotional Intelligence shows us the exact mechanism of an “emotional hijack,” when passion overcomes reason.

  • Organizational Culture and Leadership

    Organizational Culture and Leadership
    Edgar Schein

    Focusing on the complex business realities of the 1990s, organizational development pioneer Edgar Schein transforms the abstract concept of culture into a practical tool that managers and students can use to understand the dynamics of organization and change. If you’re really serious about organizational effectiveness, this volume is a must-have for your library.

  • Corporate Cultures

    Corporate Cultures
    The Rites and Rituals of Corporate Life Terrence E. Deal and Allan A. Kennedy

    In the early 1980s, Terry Deal and Allan Kennedy launched a new field of inquiry and practice with the publication of their landmark book Corporate Cultures, in which they argued that distinct types of cultures evolve within companies, with a direct and measurable impact on strategy and performance. Despite the dramatic evolution of the business landscape over the last twenty years, the basic principles of the book remain as fresh and relevant as they did when it was first published: that organizations, by their very nature, are social enterprises, with tribal habits, well-defined cultural roles for individuals, and various strategies for determining inclusion, reinforcing identity, and adapting to change. In the new introduction, the authors reflect on the enduring lessons of their investigation into the life of organizations.

  • Oops!

    13 Management Practices That Waste Time & Money (and what do do instead) Aubrey C. Daniels

    This clear, to-the-point book makes you ask: How have so many businesses come to pursue mediocrity so energetically? The book has two theses: First, to move beyond the unfortunate status quo it’s necessary to explore why common management practices are empty (or damaging) rituals; and, second, there are better ways to manage, rooted in the same science of behavior that makes for successful efforts in education, human services, even animal training. Each chapter challenges traditional and highly accepted American management practices that are in fact barriers to sustaining excellence in performance.

  • Fake Work

    Fake Work
    Why People Are Working Harder than Ever but Accomplishing Less, and How to Fix the Problem Brent D. Peterson and Gaylan W. Nielson

    Fake work is well-intended activity that does not contribute to an organization’s strategic goals. You know what it looks like: meaningless meetings, reports that nobody reads, training that has little real impact, projects that merely feed someone’s ego. With a mixture of compassion and straight-shooting mercilessness, the authors strip away the layers of corporate pretense and uncover the types and sources of fake work. This book masterfully helps you diagnose the symptoms and spot the root causes of fake work, and put your people on the path to work that really matters. Good case studies illustrate problems that we can easily relate to and a usable roadmap for improving team performance. The book contains numerous profound insights. Duncan Worldwide uses this book as a resource in helping organizations with strategic alignment issues.

  • Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

    Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
    Stephen R. Covey

    Despite having sold many millions of copies, Stephen Covey’s groundbreaking book remains as fresh, helpful, and important as when first published in 1989. Such longevity is a testament to the quality of the insights that Covey offers: Eschewing easy fixes and simple-minded formulas, his writing offers a comprehensive and highly detailed program for invigorating your career as well as other aspects of life.

  • Leading So People Will Follow

    Leading So People Will Follow
    Erika Andersen

    The title itself seems so self-evident. Sadly, it's usually not so obvious in actual practice. For reasons still mystifying in this day of easy access to so much information on every subject imaginable, many people try to "lead" by position, by manipulation, by coercion, by charisma, by sound bite, and even by good intentions. It's all for naught. Simply put, effective leaders behave in ways that engage people, that earn people's trust, that inspire people's confidence, that influence people to invest their discretionary effort in a common cause. In other words, you aren't really a leader unless and until people willingly follow. This is not a book of theories or simple feel-good bromides. It is rich with the specific whats, whys, and hows of engaging followers. You get big ideas in bite-sized, easily digestible servings. The result is so satisfying you'll want to return to the table again and again. If Erika Andersen were a chef, this book would be her five-star restaurant.

  • The Speed of Trust

    The Speed of Trust
    The One Thing That Changes Everything Stephen M.R. Covey

    Trust is so integral to our relationships that we often take it for granted, yet in an era marked by business scandals and a desire for accountability this book by leadership expert Covey is a welcome guide to nurturing trust in our professional and personal lives. Drawing on anecdotes and business cases, the author effectively reminds us that there’s plenty of room for improvement on this virtue. Covey outlines 13 behaviors of trust-inspiring leaders, such as demonstrating respect, creating transparency, righting wrongs, delivering results and practicing accountability.

  • The Servant Leader

    The Servant Leader
    How to Build a Creative Team, Develop Work Morale, and Improve Bottom-Line Performance James A. Autry

    Leadership is a calling. And servant leadership—the idea that managing with respect, honesty, love, and spirituality empowers employees—helps individuals answer that calling. Bestselling author and former Fortune 500 executive James A. Autry reveals the servant leader’s tools, a set of skills and ideals that will transform the way business is done. It helps leaders nurture the needs and goals of those who look to them for leadership. The result is a more productive, successful, and happier organization, and a more meaningful life for the leader. Autry reveals how to remain true to the servant leadership model when handling day-to-day and long-term management situations.

  • Rumsfeld’s Rules

    Rumsfeld’s Rules
    Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War, and Life Donald Rumsfeld

    Yes, I know, I know. Rumsfeld is a lightning rod, especially for his service in the George W. Bush administration. But as my grandfather used to say, if you don't upset a few people you're probably not doing your job. Rumsfeld's Rules is a treasure trove of wisdom. He's the first to acknowledge that it didn't come from him. In fact, early in the book he writes: "It's worth noting that `Rumsfeld's Rules' are not all Rumsfeld's. Nor are they all rules. Many are life's lessons and pieces of wisdom I've gathered from others. Truth be told, I don't know if I've had a truly original thought in my life." Modest, to be sure. But not really accurate. A crucial ingredient in wisdom is the ability to take OPS (Other People's Stuff) and add value to it. That's exactly what Rumsfeld has done in this fine book. Read it. Digest it. You'll be the better for it.

  • Touchpoints

    Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest Moments Douglas Conant and Mette Norgaard

    At one time or another, every leader in most every organization has struggled with balancing the important with the urgent. You're working on a critical report and someone interrupts with a question. You can be annoyed by the intrusion or you can see it as an opportunity to engage in a meaningful way. You're trying to stay on the tight agenda during a meeting and a colleague seems to get off topic. You can insist on lock-step adherence to the agenda, or you can treat the tangent as a possible path to a breakthrough. These and hundreds of other moments of truth in a typical day are TouchPoints - a chance to connect with other people in ways that build trust, strengthen communication, and enhance collaboration. This book by retired Campbell Soup CEO Doug Conant and consultant Mette Norgaard is elegant in its simplicity. It lays out commonsense steps to bringing magic to the moment of interaction with others.

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