Real people. Real teams. Real solutions. As we go about the work of producing each issue of the magazine, those are the touchstones that guide our thinking. In every issue, we're looking to combine those three elements in a package that is, well, "real" useful. The emphasis on what is real is no accident. So much of the current conversation about the new world of work is breathlessly overhyped: It floats above the ground of what is indisputably real. Reality, it turns out, is a place where all of us are working harder, thinking smarter, and wrestling more and more with ambiguity.
What do we mean by these three "reals"? First, we introduce you to real people who are inventing new business models, testing new approaches to leadership, and coming to terms with the new agenda of business. Second, we bring you real teams that are coming up with fresh ways to work together across all kinds of borders, that are finding better ways to run projects, and that are devising smarter ways to share information. And third, we present real solutions and hands-on techniques from the front lines of work that you can apply to your own career.
Real people. The opportunity to create is the opportunity to self-invent. And that opportunity comes with a warning: Success can be hazardous to your health. In our cover story, success & excess, Harriet Rubin takes a long, unflinching look at some of the darker emotions underlying the world of work. In three profiles of overachievers in New York and Texas - and in an accompanying interview with Hollywood's Francis Ford Coppola - Rubin explores the twin faces of success and excess.
Real teams. This issue offers two compelling examples of people acting together creatively and productively. Conspiracy of Change, by Pat Dillon, chronicles the heroic efforts of Alison Berkley and Carl Reese to kick-start Intuit into reinventing itself. How do you overthrow a successful company? The answer: You do it from within, and you do it as a team. At Intuit, this "conspiracy" has involved more than 70 people from various divisions and levels of the company.
Where else can you find high-performing teams? Try the NASCAR circuit. If you want to explore Life in the Fast Lane, read Chuck Salter's interview with Ray Evernham, the leader of the pit, whose Rainbow Warriors are the team behind Jeff Gordon, one of racing's top drivers. His lessons on teamwork, training, and performing under pressure are directly applicable to your life in the fast lane.
Real solutions. Real answers to real business questions are sprinkled liberally throughout this issue. For example, Have you been house-trained? In the Report from the Future section, you'll find the down-to-earth curriculum that David House has used to teach the basics of business to thousands of real people at Bay Networks.
Looking for new ways to motivate your employees? Check out the remarkable techniques developed by George Zimmer, CEO of the Men's Wearhouse, where they sell suits with soul. With more than 6,000 employees, more than 400 stores, and annual revenues of $630 million, that company has a lot to teach. If you think your career may be starting to stall, read Michael Kaplan's
Is Your Job Running Out of Gas? in the NetWork section. You'll find five signs that you may need to fill 'er up - and four tips for emergency roadside service.
And finally, in the real-solutions department, The Job Rating Game, by Michael Warshaw, offers you an entertaining, instructive look at the newest game show in business: You interview companies to pick the one that's right for you! You'll find lots of hands-on advice on how to read a company, how to visit a company, how to put a company through its paces - everything you need to know to be a winner in this increasingly popular game.
A version of this article appeared in the October 1998 issue of Fast Company magazine.