This article includes a one-page preview that quickly summarizes the key ideas and provides an overview of how the concepts work in practice along with suggestions for further reading. When William Bratton was appointed police commissioner of New York City in 1994, turf wars over jurisdiction and funding were rife, promotion bore little relationship to performance, and crime was out of control. Yet in less than two years, and without an increase in his budget, Bratton turned New York into the safest large city in the nation. And the NYPD was only the latest of five law-enforcement agencies Bratton had turned around. In each case, he succeeded in record time despite limited resources, a demotivated staff, opposition from powerful vested interests, and an organization wedded to the status quo. Bratton's turnarounds demonstrate what the authors call tipping point leadership. The theory of tipping points, which has its roots in epidemiology, hinges on the insight that in any organization, fundamental changes can occur quickly when the beliefs and energies of a critical mass of people create an epidemic movement toward an idea. Bratton begins by overcoming the cognitive hurdles that block companies from recognizing the need for radical change. He puts managers face-to-face with operational problems. Next, he manages around limitations on funds, manpower, or equipment by concentrating resources on the areas that are most in need of change and that have the biggest possible payoffs. He meanwhile solves the motivation problem by singling out key influencers--people with disproportionate power due to their connections or persuasive abilities. Finally, he closes off potentially fatal resistance from powerful opponents.
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