Sunday, January 26, 2014

Book Review - Compass: Creating Exceptional Organizations: A Leader’s Guide

Compass: Creating Exceptional Organizations: A Leader’s Guide

By: William F. Brandt, Jr.
Publisher: Winter Vale Press
Publication Date: May 2013
ISBN: 978-0-9883205-0-5
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: January 26, 2014

William F. Brandt, Jr. delivers exemplary leadership knowledge and experience in his “Leader’s Guide” toward what it takes to create and develop a sustainable and exceptional organization.

Mr. Brandt enlightens the reader with an informative introduction that explains how to use his "Leader’s Guide." The Universe’s cup truly runneth over with ‘how to’ books on virtually any topic known to man. With such fierce competition, in my opinion, Mr. Brandt not only achieved, but delivered a winning formula in his book. Using American Woodmark (his company) as his model, he establishes credibility and therefore an immediate interest and engagement occurs for his readership. In the first chapter, Mr. Brandt shares his experience of leveraging the buyout of American Woodmark—a company he cofounded in 1980. This former kitchen cabinet division of Boise Cascade grew to substantial financial strength completely independent of Boise Cascade and did so through the guidance of Brandt and his adept team.

There is no ‘candy-coated’ writing in this book. Rather, direct, basic and understandable dialect is used as Brandt describes many high and equally low points of the company’s history. However, he consistently drives the message of the intrinsic importance and constant application of adjustment and engagement necessary for the evolving changes the people within the company must endure in order to soar.

The book’s chapters are broken down into distinct categories, in a logical process, beginning with: The Vision, The Leader, The Processes and Tools, etc. Mr. Brandt builds from one chapter to the next, always incorporating the message of the necessity of not only a quality product, but the strong attributes all team members must own and bring to the table in his or her role within the organization.
What Mr. Brandt’s book did for me was to provide clarity (and certainly hope) along with a sound understanding of how a successful organization should operate. I have been blessed with good health and the fortitude and ability to work in the corporate world for many years. After reading Compass, I have a newfound belief that if more books like this are written (and more importantly, read), perhaps the Fortune 500’s will include in their reporting stats the human contribution to the entire package rather than solely reporting on company profits and lofty bottom lines. I applaud Mr. Brandt for not only endorsing the importance (and reality) of turning a profit as being foundational, but to impart the wisdom often that such end results come from the value, support and super qualities of a committed and cohesive team of people propping it up. Ultimately, the success of any company is the team who delivers such a winning formula. Bravo Mr. Brandt for your precise wisdom and knowledge in not only having such vision, but sharing it with the business world as well.

Quill says: Compass: Creating Exceptional Organizations: A Leader’s Guide is THE guide for those with a vision toward achieving overall and recognizable greatness for the Company through the engagement and sound abilities of its people.

For more information on Compass: Creating Exceptional Organizations: A Leader’s Guide, please visit the publisher's website at:

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