Good Power by Ginni Rometty, reviewed

An emotive journey of overcoming adversity in life and the exercising of ethical power in managing change.

My review of ‘Good Power’ by Ginni Rometty, former Chairman and CEO of IBM is published by Harvard Business Review (HBR) Press. It started off for me with a positive impression of its format.  I was impressed by the choice of font, line spacing, and overall facilitation of reader comfort. This is not always the case when reading a paperback or hardback publication.

Good Power by Ginni Rometty, reviewed

My overall impression of this book is good. It’s well written and structured conventionally for a nonfiction book, yet delivers content from an unusually personal perspective. I found this less clinical writing style to come across as personable, honest, and steeped in belief. The author dug deep into her personal past to set the context for her retrospective story of how her personal circumstances in her young years shaped her worldview. She continued from this contextual start to explore how she formed the 5 principles of good power along with how they can be used in business and also in wider society.

The introduction provides a summary overview for the reader on what to expect in the chapter detail. The story is summarized in three parts from the young ‘me’ to the adult ‘we’, and then looking forward to the societal ‘us’. The recollections of the author are mainly based in the USA. These stories are numerous and recall prior situations including some serious societal issues regarding discrimination in the USA. There are other stories that resonated with my prior career of 12 years as a leader and manager. This highlights the point that systemic problems in corporate culture are not an American problem, but a global one.

The 13-chapter book moves into the first part called ‘The Power of Me: Changing a Life’. It contains 5 chapters going into personal detail about the author’s young years including having to face and overcome adversity. It offers a mature reflection on these years and how overcoming these travesties in her young life shaped her views,  along with what she can do to change her circumstances.

The next 5 chapters belong to the second part called ‘The Power of We: Changing Work’, which continues her story into her professional career. It explores how she found her way in an ever-changing environment to manage change and achieve success in her goals, both internal and external to the company. This is where her retrospective good power principles were formed offering a chapter each as to their detail. These principles are summarized as follows:

‘Being in Service of’ offers the fundamental purpose of good power and what tools are recommended to use when embracing it.

‘Building belief’ focuses on influencing rather than an authoritative direction to bring people, teams, and divisions along a common path to achieving goals and objectives.

‘Knowing What Must Change, What Must Endure’  is a critical principle by the author around change management. It focuses on creativity along with critical thinking to assess, understand and remediate organizational issues.

‘Steward Good Tech’ focuses on inclusion and diversity albeit framed from a technology company perspective. The concept of one company and one vision cannot be achieved if technology silos are discriminatory based on perceived skills deficits or any other factor.

‘Being Resilient’ focuses on the fact that one cannot action change on their own. It offers insights on how to create a common vision and belief in the achievability of longer-term goals.

Part 3 is ‘The Power of Us: Changing our World’ and is 3 chapters long. It brings forward these 5 principles of good power into a wider societal frame. It highlights that these lessons learned in the business world can also be used for the greater good. She offers these principles noting relationships around a common purpose can lead to movements that push for a better tomorrow for all, not just the select few. I have no doubt that this emotive publication will offer advice and resonate with all who read it regardless of their own story in life.

John Mulhall @johnmlhll | john@maolte.ie is a writer with Irish Tech News for over 6 years and also Founder, Writer, and Engineer with Maolte Technical Solutions Limited. You can learn more about John and his new company at https://maolte.ie

See more stories by John here, and more reviews here.