Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Pursuit of Something Better - Author Interview - Dave Esler and Myra Kruger

The Real Hollywood’s Book Chat welcomes authors Dave Esler and Myra Kruger, authors of the business/leadership/business ethics book, The Pursuit of Something Better: How an Underdog Company Defied the Odds, Won Customers' Hearts, and Grew It's Employees into Better People (Esler Kruger Associates, Inc.), as they virtually tour the blogosphere in July on their first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion

The Pursuit of Something Better tells the story of the transformation of U.S. Cellular from a thoroughly ordinary company—ranked eighth in its industry and in danger of extinction—into an organization that is loved by employees and customers alike, and a proven winner by every measure.

Even more impressive is how this transformation took place. U.S. Cellular focused on the “soft stuff” so often discredited by conventional business wisdom; values and heart; inspirational and empowering leadership; motivation by values, not fear; ethics and integrity and an insistence on always doing the right thing. Most of all, U.S. Cellular thrived by obsessively putting the customer, and the quality of the customer experience, first.

The Pursuit of Something Better is also the story of Jack Rooney, the unconventional CEO who had the vision to see the limitations of the traditional business model a decade before it imploded, and the courage to replace it with something much, much better.

The Pursuit of Something Better: The Movie

At first glance, our new book, The Pursuit of Something Better, might seem like an unlikely candidate for Hollywood. It’s about the importance of values in business, and neither “values” nor “business” suggests “blockbuster,” especially these days.

On the other hand, the book also tells the story of an underdog beating the odds against bigger, richer, not-very-lovable competitors who would like nothing better than to squash our hero-company, U.S. Cellular, the last mid-sized wireless company standing, like a bug. Who doesn’t love an underdog story? We see U.S. Cellular as a kind of corporate Secretariat, the people’s choice, confounding the “experts” and surging to a finish-line of extraordinary success to the cheers of a growing throng of loyal customers.

Even better, our story comes with a true American hero – its contrarian CEO, Jack Rooney, a unique mix of extraordinary passion (worn on his sleeve), genuine caring (for his customers and his 9,000 “associates”), and humility who may be the most-loved CEO in American today (“beloved CEO” is not necessarily) an oxymoron). Jack rejected conventional wisdom and built his own business model based on the all-American values (much talked-about but little practiced in most companies) of customer focus, respect, ethics, empowerment, pride, and diversity – and stuck to it through a wild, nine-year roller-coaster ride until it was a living, breathing reality. That can’t be done – ask anyone. Jack did it.

Jack’s role requires a larger-than-life (but not over the top) approach to do it justice: start with Churchill in mind for jut-jawed indomitability, then throw in a good dose of Harry Truman -- plain spoken, willing to give ‘em hell as necessary, unpretentious, self-confident to the tips of his toes. DeNiro could do the character justice; Connery too, if he could handle a south-side Chicago “brogue;” best of all might be Eastwood: “Make my day, AT&T” – who wouldn’t pay to see that!

The best thing of all about our story is the ending: after surviving obstacles that would make Harrison Ford blanch, the good guys – really, really good guys – win.

David Esler and Myra Kruger are the authors of the newly released book The Pursuit of Something Better (ISBN: 9780982443705, New Ridge Books). They combined their 30 years of corporate communication, human resources, and consulting experience into Esler Kruger Associates in 1987. Their consulting firm focuses on culture change, organizational surveys, and executive counsel in effective leadership. They are based in Highland Park, Illinois.

Dave Esler and Myra Kruger's THE PURSUIT OF SOMETHING BETTER VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR '09 officially began on July 6 and end on July 31. You can visit their blog stops at during the month of July to find out more about this great book and talented author!