Dave Esler and Myra Kruger are represented by Pump Up Your Book Promotion, an innovative public relations agency specializing in online book promotion.
Dave Esler and Myra Kruger are the authors of the new leadership and business ethics book The Pursuit of Something Better: How an Underdog Company Defied the Odds, Won Customers’ Hearts and Grew Its Employees into Better People (Esler Kruger Associates, Inc.). We interviewed Dave and Myra to find out more about their new book and their lives as published authors.
Thank you for this interview, David and Myra. Can you tell us a little about yourselves?
We have been corporate consultants for more than 20 years, working with CEOs and other executives in developing effective leaders, conducting research, and facilitating culture change. We both have 13 years of experience at Fortune 500 companies in Human Resources and Communications.
Do you write full-time?
No, writing is very much a part of our consulting activities, but personal writing is a sideline.
At what point in your life did you make up your mind you were going to become published authors?
When we found a story worth telling.
Was there anyone in your life that you can give credit to helping pave the way?
The millions of employees we’ve talked to who were looking for “something better.”
Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
It is two stories. The first is that of Jack Rooney, the feisty CEO of U.S. Cellular, who has defied all odds and executed his dream of running a company with thousands of employees who care about its success as much as he does; who share a common goal (almost unheard of in corporate America); and who are willing to sacrifice their own comforts and rewards to protect what they have built together.
What was the inspiration behind your book? Why did you feel a need to write it?
We wrote The Pursuit of Something Better out of the conviction that after four decades of looking, there really is a better way to achieve results than the traditional business model. Many have tried to find it, with little success. We occasionally sighted that rare organization or that unusual leader who understood that most of the employees in their organizations were alienated from their enterprises, and that there was tremendous untapped commitment and creativity being left on the table. We found just enough of them to keep us on the search.
Then we met Jack Rooney and had the wonderful opportunity to engage with him in a real change process. He understood that engaging his employees meant he had to deal with their hearts as well as their minds and bodies. The results he achieved in three organizations, but predominantly in U.S. Cellular, is an incredible story that should be known throughout the corporate world.
What kind of research did you have to conduct to write your book?
We have consulted for corporations, government and non-profits for 30 years. In that time, we have surveyed more than a million and a half employees. We have had one-on-one interviews with thousands of leaders. At U.S. Cellular, we have had the opportunity in conducting an annual culture survey since 2000, to track the change process from beginning to end.
What message are you trying to convey with this book?
In all those interviews and surveys, the evidence was always overwhelming that on some basic level, all employees (regardless of their level) are looking for the same things at work: respect and dignity; evidence that they are valued as individuals, not just arms or backs or brains; the conviction that they are engaged in an endeavor that has a higher purpose than enriching others; and the desire to work in an ethical organization. That has never changed. In most organizations, those desires are buried deep under the surface. With the right kind of leadership, any company can tap into this great resource for the benefit of its customers and shareholders.
Do you ever get writer’s block and what do you do when that happens?
Walk in the garden.
Do you have a website?
Yes, we do; a modest one: www.eslerkruger.com
What’s next for you?
Continuing our fascinating work and perhaps another book when we retire.
Thank you for this interview, David and Myra. Do you have any final words you’d like to share with my readers?