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Change to Strange: Create a Great Organization by Building a Strange Workforce

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Change to Strange: Create a Great Organization by Building a Strange Workforce


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Build a workforce that’s 100% optimized for a unique value proposition... and obsessed about delivering on it!

  • Why a “strange” workforce is needed and how to build one: practical techniques, real-world examples, and an end-to-end framework.
  • How to architect the HR and business systems that let an organization break from the pack.
  • Way beyond “benchmarking”: implementing and leveraging workforce metrics that are unique.


  • Copyright 2007
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-157222-9
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-157222-5

“It’s not just a war for talent out there, it’s a war for the right talent. Cable sheds light on how managers can identify and attract the right people to turn strategy into reality.”

—Susan Ashford, Associate Dean for Leadership Programming and the Executive MBA Program, University of Michigan

Change to Strange takes the mystery out of the gap between strategy and strategy execution. Daniel underscores that success is dependent on the quality of your workforce, specific targets, and disciplined measurement. The book provides a useful process and a set of questions that your leadership team needs to address to create a great organization that stands above competitors.”

—Stan Kelly, Senior Vice President, Wachovia Corporation

“In an era of over-emphasis on best practices and benchmarking, it is so refreshing to see a blueprint for how an organization can invest in its people to truly drive competitive advantage and create uncommon value for its customers and owners. Daniel Cable’s insightful, practical, and rigorous ‘strange workforce value chain’ will help your organization build a workforce with distinctive and compelling capabilities that better serve your customers and beat the competition.”

—Christian M. Ellis, Senior Vice President, Sibson Consulting, A Division of Segal

Change to Strange helps you ask the right questions about what will differentiate you in the marketplace and the strange (distinctive, extraordinary) steps you must take to make it happen. Be strange; get Change to Strange and have fun cooking up the special sauce your customers will love and your competition will find tough to imitate.”

—Ben Schneider, Senior Research Fellow, VALTERA; Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland; and author of Winning the Service Game.

“Cable’s model is highly thought-provoking. The book is full of great ideas for standing out from the competition and getting your workforce fully engaged!”

—Sara Rynes, Editor, Academy of Management Journal; Murray Professor of Management, University of Iowa

“What a great read! I found plenty of great ideas and examples in this book that I can use at VIF, and now my executive team is reading it.”

—David B. Young, Chief Executive Officer, Visiting International Faculty Program

Change to Strange...a fascinating and thought-provoking approach to extracting value from your human value chain. A must read for leaders engaged in reinvigorating enterprises in highly competitive markets.”

—Sean Crane, Senior Vice President of Operations, The Fresh Market

“You can’t be great if you just do what everybody else does. Dan Cable sheds light on how companies can get extraordinary business results by creating a workforce that consistently ‘wow’ their customers.”

—Sven-Åke Damgaard, Vice President Human Resources,

Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications

“At SAS we have our own definition of ‘strange,’ and it has yielded more than three decades of continual growth. What’s your definition

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

How to Build a Strange Workforce

Downloadable Sample Chapter

Download Chapter 1

Table of Contents

Preface xix

Chapter 1: Be Strange. Be Very Strange. 1

Chapter 2: Shine a Flashlight into the Black Box That Exists Between Your Workforce and Beating Your Competition 17

Chapter 3: Organizational Outcomes: How Do I Know I Am Winning in the Way I Want to Win? 31

Chapter 4: Performance Drivers: What Must Customers Notice About Us So That We Win? 53

Chapter 5: Strange Workforce Deliverables: What the Workforce Does to Make Customers Notice and Love Us 71

Chapter 6: Job-Specific Strangeness: Different Deliverables from Different Jobs 89

Chapter 7: Strange Workforce Architecture: What Systems Will Produce the Deliverables I Need From My Workforce? 107

Chapter 8: Strange Workforce Architecture: Breaking Out From the Pack 125

Chapter 9: Strange Workforce Architecture: Taking the Next Step 143

Chapter 10: The Magic of Metrics: Creating and Implementing Measurement Systems 155

Conclusion 173

Index 175


Download the Preface

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