Once every few years a book comes along with an insight so penetrating, so powerful - and so simply, demonstrably true -that it instantly changes the way we think and do business. Such a book is Broken Windows, Broken Business, a breakthrough in management theory that can alter the destiny of countless companies striving to stay ahead of their competition. "In this vital work, author Michael Levine offers compelling evidence that problems in business, large and small, typically stem from inattention to tiny details. Social psychologists and criminologists agree that if a window in a building is broken and left unrepaired, soon thereafter the rest of the windows will be broken - and the perception will build that crime in that neighborhood is out of control. The same principle applies to business." "Drawing on real-world corporate examples, from JetBlue's decision to give fliers what they really want - leather seats, personal televisions, online ticketing - to Google's customer-based strategy for breaking out of the pack of Internet search engines, to business-to-business firms' successes and failures, Levine proves again and again how constant vigilance and an obsession with detail can make or break a business or a brand." "With tips and advice on changing any business to one that dots its i's, crosses its t's, and attracts more clients, Broken Windows, Broken Business goes straight to the heart of what makes all enterprises successful - the little things that mean a lot."--BOOK JACKET.
Law-and-order criminology inspires this dour, hectoring treatise on the importance of sweating the small stuff in business. PR executive Levine, author of Guerrilla P.R., combines his professional concern for detailed image control with James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling's theory that minor signs of disorder foster a climate of insecurity that causes decent folk to flee. He contends that a company's metaphorical "broken windows" a confusing Web site, messy restrooms, peeling paint, nagging inconsistencies like "when the waiter at a Chinese restaurant is named Billy Bob" signal an indifference to consumer satisfaction that repels customers. His remedies are fairly routine: deploy mystery shoppers to ferret out shortcomings, remember that first impressions are lasting, strive to "exceed expectations." What's unusual is his fanaticism, his demands that businesspeople cultivate "the obsessive, compulsive, almost violent need to find the flaws," even when others "deny such things exist or insist that they are unimportant and that you are being ridiculous." Such denials may indicate that "more employees should be getting fired," particularly those who don't smile or are otherwise "coasting, doing their time, merely existing" and infecting other workers with their "virus." Levine is one hard-nosed beat cop, but his strident, repetitive style and emotionally insensitive methods mean that many readers (and certainly their underlings) will find the book more demoralizing than motivating.