About Mike Finley
Winner of the 1995 Global Business Book Award for "Best Management Book, 1995, The Americas," Mike is one of Minnesota's best-known business writers, with a powerful background in newspapering, magazines, and books. For six years he wrote a popular business column in the Saint Paul Pioneer Press, "On the Edge." He has appeared numerous times on such programs as Good Morning America, Money Line, Power Lunch and National Public Radio.
Mike's concept with
Centenary Press is that it's time for new forms for organizations to express
themselves. Why? Because the old ways -- lavish coffee-table books,
documentaries, and oral history projects --
are too expensive. So he has pioneered in a more efficient, more cost-effective,
turnkey way of getting at a company's traditions and values. Instead of
taking 18 months and interviewing 100 people, he tries to identify a small
handful of sources that can best tell the company story, and he focuses on them.
Instead of creating books that include every possible fact from a company's history, Mike focuses on the key personalities, struggles, and themes that shape an organization and make it fit for long life. He is a student of change and survival, and he looks for lessons that apply beyond organizational boundaries.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to something as individual as the life of a great team. Mike relies on over a score of different models, choosing the one that best fits your company.
The custom product he
creates for you will be like no other in the world. It may be a book, or a
booklet, an on-line museum, even a low-cost CD-ROM based document. But when it
is done it will bear the human stamp of your organization's triumphs and
In years past, it was a common thing for a business facing a major anniversary -- its 25th, 50th, or 100th -- to celebrate with a book about itself.
Today this idea gives most companies pause. The beautiful 4-color, coffee-table type books that many companies produced have become prohibitively expensive. A Fortune 500 corporation or regional bank could easily spend $200,000 on such a project.
Why create an anniversary document? Because a good story is good for the team. It's something to rally around, and unite behind. It reminds people of the vision. It urges them to even greater accomplishments.
Because it's good for business. It's hard to get people's attention. A major anniversary, and what that says about the company's values and leadership, is reason for old customers to stick around and new ones to climb aboard.
And because you only go around once. You donít have to be sentimental to know that 100, or 75, or even 25 years is a great milestone for an organization. Let his slip by, and you have to wait a long time for the next one!
Yes. Instead of doing a long, hardcover, 4-color, book, try one of a spectrum of more affordable options:
∑ a shorter book, like 72-96 pages
∑ use of spot color, or black and white
∑ soft cover instead of hard
∑ non-book forms, like a Web museum, an advertorial or add-on to a business or trade magazine, a pocket-sized book, a pamphlet, an art poster, or a feature article.
Most companies discover that what their public and internal stakeholders really want is less an academic history book than a way to commemorate the human achievement of surviving so long.
Which is where I come in. I am a writer who specializes in narratives -- stories of courage, shrewdness, patience, and the ability to suffer that are the hallmarks of long-lived organizations.
And I have pioneered the more economical formats described above. What big fancy companies charge $125,000 to do, I can do for a small fraction of that. And because of my skill and sensitivity, I can achieve an even greater emotional impact on your customers and community.