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Cover for Indispensable


Build and Lead a Company Customers Can't Live Without

James M. Kerr


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Read this book, apply its concepts, and see how your business transforms." -- Marshall Goldsmith, Thinkers 50 #1 Executive Coach and #1 Leadership Thinker


The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Indispensable as being absolutely necessary and not subject to being set aside or neglected. INDISPENSABLE: Build and Lead A Company Customers Can't Live Without provides a framework that you can follow to transform your business and features dozens of examples from industry including those drawn from Amazon, Uber, Facebook and more. Each business example illustrates how the concepts offered in the book are already being used to make businesses indispensable in the marketplace. Keep in mind, though, only your customers can decide if your business is indispensability. Indeed, what we think of our businesses and their ability to delight our customers is irrelevant. It is customers who determine who is indispensable. We don't get a vote on that. However, there are steps that we can take to improve our chances.

A Leader's pursuit of greatness for his or her company is important, but, it's not enough, and a business does not become indispensable by accident. Outstanding leadership is essential to bring a company from greatness to indispensability. This is an important distinction because anything less than outstanding leadership will not suffice. Why? Outstanding leaders lead by example. They demonstrate desired qualities and behaviors to their followers through their actions and conduct. By doing so, these leaders put forth a sense that they and their teams share the same goals and aspirations, and, that together, they are going to go about achieving these ambitions as one. Indispensable businesses share a common purpose so they need leaders that can set the example.

As you read the book, you will come to recognize how vital TRUE leadership is to helping your business become indispensable. Regardless of your rank or position, you must study, learn, exemplify and LIVE these essential behaviors to be able to provide the people you work with and serve:

  • A Captivating Vision: Outstanding leaders can articulate a vision for the future that every staff member can understand and buy-in to. This vision becomes the stuff of rallying cries and establishes the common goal that leader and team will share. Outstanding leadership is required to articulate the vision of being indispensable and to work to drive it deep into the enterprise. If the troops don't "get" it, they won't follow.
  • Active Direction-Setting: Next, a game plan for execution must be built in support of that vision. But, building a plan without engaged direction-setting will not suffice. Outstanding leaders at every level will be fully involved, monitoring progress and charting the course for execution throughout their firm's journey to indispensability.
  • Enlightened Coaching: Outstanding leaders support their team and understand how to provide the "right" touch at the "right" time - directive when the path to success is unclear and supportive when it's time to empower - just like any world-class coach does when building a champion.
  • A Collaborative Environment: Outstanding leaders know how to establish a collaborative tenor within their area of responsibility. Selfish and egocentric behavior is stomped out; teamwork is recognized and rewarded.

There are many great companies - only a few are indispensable. This book was written to help you build an indispensable business - one that your customers can't live without.


Humanix Books, 9781630061838, 300pp.

Publication Date: February 16, 2021

About the Author

James M. Kerr is one of today's foremost authorities on leadership, organizational design, and culture transformation. He is a best-selling author and CEO World columnist. A long-time management consultant and coach, Jim specializes in vision, culture and people strategies. His clients comprise many discussed in the book including: The Home Depot, General Dynamics, and Mitsui Sumitomo, to name a few. It is his strong dedication to research and learning that enables Jim to continue to develop and deliver cutting-edge solutions to his clients, like the strategies necessary to become indispensable. His previous books include: It's Good To Be King, The Executive Checklist, The Best Practices Enterprise, Inside RAD, and The IRM Imperative.