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Kerry Plemmons has 30 years of entrepreneurial experience with success in launching and running small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. and Mexico, as well as another 11 years as an academic and consultant. He has consulted the senior executives at Kaiser Permanente, Crocs, Miller Coors, Intrado, and more. He is currently a professor at the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver. His passion is connecting innovation to leadership through experiential educational processes.

I recently sat down to read Professor Kerry Plemmons’ first crack at book writing, and to my dismay, the man can write, too.  For someone with a masters in journalism, I cringe a little when “non-writers” show me up—and I think I may have found another one.

Plemmons’ book, Juxtapositions: Comparing Mild to Wild Success—Irreverently is a speedy, entertaining and utterly candid look at the ins and outs of creating and leading highly passionate and productive teams in an era of unprecedented disillusionment and disengagement in the workplace.

Throughout, Plemmons juxtaposes the challenges of leading teams as a restaurant entrepreneur, with the fastidious and exemplary success of his time immersed in Starbucks’ “people first” culture. He goes on to chronicle the triumphs and tribulations of organizations ranging from Southwest Airlines to Blackberry.

Plemmons writes, “The juxtaposed organization [is] one that assumes motivation happens even when poor behavior is ignored. You can see organizations moving toward self-destruction when the rewards and recognition systems elevate idiots, ignore the creative purposeful people, and expect inspirational behavior from both.”

Plemmons outlines the new “PISAIR4” leadership model, which stands for: Purpose, Imagination, Strategy, Alignment, Implementation, Recognize, Reward, Repeat and Revolutionize.  His battle tested playbook is designed to cultivate innovation and engagement amongst today’s generationally diverse employees.

Building an effective and inspirational culture starts from the top.  And as is turns out, an authentic culture predicated on human trust and alignment is not only a prolific cost-cutting measure for organizations, but it separates mild from wild success as well.

“If you hire people with passion, energy, and self-discipline, you can burn all your motivational posters,” says Plemmons. “Value is created when people turn imagination into strategies that align with the core purpose, and then implement those strategies effectively.”

To order Juxtapositions, you can visit: