Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Featured Author: Fletcher Groves

Fletcher Groves is the author of the non-fiction business book, The Pipeline: A Picture of Homebuilding Production, published by Virtualbookworm.com.

About the book:

The Pipeline creates a visual image of homebuilding production from a systems standpoint, connecting the underlying production principles and disciplines to the measures that operating performance and economic outcomes hold in common, and making the compelling argument for the velocity side of ROA as the path to sustainable competitive separation.  

Interview with Fletcher Groves:

Fletcher, how long have you been writing, and how did you start? 

I have written almost my entire business career, but this is the first book I have ever published.

Why did you decide to write The Pipeline? 

It started out as a narrative for a specific client, which I recommended crafting as a dialog on homebuilding production, rather than a more straight-forward narrative.  The client eventually opted for the straight narrative, but allowed me to retain the IP for The Pipeline as a business book in a dialog/story format.

What will others learn from reading your book? 

Literally, there has never been this in-depth a study of production principles for this industry vertical. Pascal Dennis, who wrote the foreword for The Pipeline, remarked that – from a production management standpoint – the homebuilding industry is currently where the automobile industry was a hundred years ago.

A lot of this material will be completely new to executives in this industry.

What do you like best about writing? 

I like it as a means of transferring knowledge, and a creative expression.

What’s your least favorite thing?

There is nothing I dislike about it.

How did you come up with the title of your book? 

The image I was trying to create about a production system was simply a pipeline;  therefore, the title.

Do you have another job outside of writing? 

Yes, absolutely. I am a senior consultant with the management consulting firm SAI Consulting, Inc

What books have you read more than once or want to read again?

I have an extensive business library, and I have repeatedly referred to portions of those books; the only books I have completely read more than once were novels like Wind from the Carolinas, A Land Remembered, and then a number of books designed for daily reading.

Who are your favorite authors? 

In the preface, I list the authors who influenced my thinking. From a business book standpoint, from the standpoint of using dialog to get business points across, the most influential author for me has been Eli Goldratt (The Goal, Critical Chain, etc.).

What do you do to market your book? 

I have used SAI’s Escape from Averageness weblog to post excerpts, going back to well before the book was published. Those posts are almost always used as updates on five or six industry-specific LinkedIn groups.

This is a non-fiction book, so there aren't characters per se. But are you like anyone in the book?

The character known as the intrepid, results-based consultant (always identified by the full description of the position, and never as anyone else) is my pseudonym, patterned after the personality of our oldest daughter, Henley. Using a pseudonym in this book allowed me to be in the story, but not have it be about me.

All of these characters I have encountered on different consulting engagements; some of them are typical. In the way she presents, argues, and explains – everything but gender – the intrepid, results-based consultant is very close to who I am.

How do you handle criticism of your work?


Where’s home for you?  

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. A case of working where you live, not living where you work.

Is there anything in particular that you do to help the writing flow? 

Principles are immutable, but virtually all of this book comes from actual experiences with clients in business.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? 

Play golf.

About the author:

Fletcher Groves, III has more than 30 years’ experience in commercial banking, in residential real estate sales, development, and construction, and in management consulting. He has owned and managed his own development and award-winning homebuilding companies, as well as worked for Arthur Rutenberg Homes.

For the most part, Fletch focuses his efforts in the homebuilding industry on the velocity side of ROA, on efforts to obtain measurable improvements in operating performance and business outcomes for builder clients, centered on business process management, but including issues related to strategic planning, organizational structure, financial management, executive vetting, productivity, production systems, process workflow, and performance measurement and compensation.

He is responsible for strategic partner relationships with iGrafx (division of Corel that provides a complete suite of process applications) and LEAN Pathways.  He is an author, blogger, content expert and frequent speaker at IBS and other homebuilding conferences.  He has been instrumental in the production of Reference Point®, SAI’s periodical survey of contemporary management issues, conducted among C-level executives within the homebuilding industry.

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