The Reinventors: How Extraordinary Companies Pursue Radical Continuous Change Hardcover – May 10 2012
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""The Reinventors "is an extremely timely, practical, and interesting book. Everyone needs to be able to reinvent and constantly change, yet we aren't taught how. This book will show you the way."---PETER SIMS, bestselling author of"
""The Reinventors "rocks! Jennings has done it again and delivers a crisp step-by-step set of instructions for embracing constant radical change and achieving nonstop growth. If you're ready, this is your blueprint for success."
---GUY KAWASAKI, New York Times-bestselling author of"
"Open this book to any page and you'll learn something: it's a fascinating, accessible, and practical way of rethinking your company and gaining edge in today's hyper-competitive marketplace. Plus, it's a blast to read. The guy can write and he clearly cares about helping you achieve greater success."
---STAN SLAP, New York Times-bestselling author of"
"This is a fast-paced, well-written book on the overriding importance of change, innovation, evolution, and maybe even revolution as key requirements for long-term success in any organization. Turmoil is good; comfortable stasis is fatal. Jennings nails it."
---BOB LUTZ, former vice chairman of General Motors
"If you're uncomfortable with the thought of becoming obsolete, read this book! "The Rein-ventors "delivers novel ways to pivot, spin, and solve your way into the future. This is classic Jason Jennings."
---TIM SANDERS, founder of Net Minds
"Jennings is clearly becoming "the "successor to Peter Drucker. Once again, he's done a mas-terful job of researching the world for proven insights on how to reinvent a business and drive sustainable, profitable growth. His ideas are simultaneously practical, unexpected, and powerful. Use them every day to succeed."
---DAN COUGHLIN, author of the forthcoming"
About the Author
Jason Jennings has spent more than twenty years teaching businesspeople how to build great organizations. He gives more than sixty keynote speeches every year and is the author of two previous business bestsellers: Less Is More and It's Not the Big That Eat the Small, It's the Fast that Eat the Slow. He lives near San Francisco.
Top Customer Reviews
Here are several of the several dozen passages that caught my eye. These can be found in Chapters 1-3:
o Tired old excuses for little or no growth
o The defining characteristics of a culture of change & growth
o "Letting go" of what doesn't work and/or isn't appropriate
o The major "reinvention killers"
o Determining the WTGBRFDT ("What's the good business reason for doing this?")
o Selecting the appropriate destination (i.e. ultimate objective)
o Becoming an intense, focused, purposeful listener
I also appreciate Jennings' provision of an end-of-chapter "Action Plan" section that highlights key points and suggests specific action steps.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Ten years ago I was serving as an outside consultant for a senior-level executive team in a Fortune 200 company. The person in charge of the group talked about reinvention ad nauseam. He would say to his employees, "You need to reinvent yourself. You need to reinvent the way you do employee performance reviews, the way we serve our customers, the way we look as a business, and the way you dress to work." He would pound on his desk, and whenever employees heard the word reinvention their eyes would start to roll. He was so obsessed with reinvention that he practically reinvented his organization to death. He wanted his company to reinvent everything about itself even when it didn't make sense to do so. As a result, I developed an adverse feeling toward the word reinvention.
Then I read this magnificent book, The Reinventors, by Jason Jennings. At the foundation of this book are two tremendously important insights:
First, you should always be willing to reinvent every aspect of yourself, your team, and your organization. Nothing should be sacrosanct. You should be willing to consider for reinvention your values, your mission, your vision, your strategy, your tactics, your products and services, your approach to clients and the marketplace and every other aspect of who you are as an individual, a team, and an organization.
Second, you should never reinvent anything about yourself or your organization unless it makes sense to do so. You should never reinvent some aspect of yourself or your organization just for the sake of reinventing it.
The magic of The Reinventors is found in these two critically important concepts. The greatest companies in the world are willing to constantly reinvent themselves, but they only do so when the reinvention makes sense.
Rarely has a business book ever been more timely than this one. Due largely to the world's dramatic increase in internet activity and the management of data, more people are connected in more ways around the world than ever before to an exponential degree. Change has always been constant, but now there is a constant rate of highly accelerated change. This means every month provides new world opportunities for every enterprise from small to large.
Consequently the ideas in The Reinventors have tremendous practical value right now. Here are some of my favorite ideas from the book:
Build a culture of change and growth. To me, a culture is how people consistently behave. Consequently, if you build an environment where people consistently look to change and grow in meaningful ways, you proactively prepare yourself to deal with changes in the marketplace. Rather than being forced to change, this type of culture is always ready to change when the changes make sense.
One of my favorite stories in the book is in the introduction. Jennings talks about going back to his hometown where he grew up. He finds almost of the businesses he once admired have shut down. In asking long-time residents what had happened, he found the common denominator of failure was an unwillingness to change as the market changed. This is a story so many of us can relate to and makes a powerful point: we can never assume that what worked in the past will work in the future.
Another great example of this in the book is the story of Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home on pages 60-67. It's a great story of how a very traditional business reinvented itself in a declining market and dramatically increased its sustainable, profitable growth.
Kiss a lot of frogs. This is the title of Chapter Four and it makes so many good points about the importance of trying a lot of small ideas to see which ones work and which ones don't. In this chapter, Jennings uses the famous example of the reinvention of Starbucks to highlight the importance of testing lots and lots of small ideas in order to find the necessary insights to reignite a big brand name. Jennings wrote on page 90, "A culture of small bets is a learning culture in which people discover the right paths to new destinations." I think that idea applies to every type of organization.
Who stays, who leads, who goes. This is the title of Chapter Five and it explores the importance of having the right people in place in order to effectively reinvent an organization on a consistent basis.
Forever frugal. On page 153, Jennings wrote, "The lesson is clear: Having too much money or too many resources can actually get in the way of successful reinvention." His point is a powerful one. It's not that having money stashed away is a bad thing. The problem occurs when people think they can throw money at a problem in order to make it go away. That kind of undisciplined approach is what creates even bigger problems. Regardless of your resources, the key is to approach reinvention with a very tight handle on your spending. Invest in small ways, but learn from every action you take.
Ask WTGBRFSTM: What's the Good Business Reason for Spending This Money? This is my favorite question in the book. It is one of the reasons why Jennings has convinced me to be a believer in reinvention. It gets to the very heart of never reinventing just for the sake of reinventing. I encourage you to ask yourself this question every time you are considering to reinvent yourself or your organization.
I encourage you to study The Reinventors very closely. This is a book for the ages, but particularly for this age.
Company after company has floundered/failed because it didn't change - eg. Kodak, Sony, Blockbuster. This change must come from the top. 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' is bad advice. Yet, 85-95% of new products fizzle - thus, change is hardly without significant risk. Suggests making lots of small bets (not what Apple did), and not relying on big mergers or risky new investments. Yet, Jennings also tells us that Coke and Yahoo were too timid - passing up opportunities to acquire Pepsi and Google, repectively. (Mergers and acquisitions are especially problematic because they increase complexity due to incompatible systems.)
Interesting and seemingly compelling. Until the reader reflects on the advice given in some other books - Jim Collin's 'Great by Choice' recommends small, incremental goals while others recommend big, audacious goals. The authors almost always violate basic principles of statistical analysis, and so does Jennings - his material is mostly anecdotal!
A major problem is that not all important determinants of organizational performance can be objectively measured - eg. employee morale, organizational leadership, strategy, competitors actions (or lack thereof), etc. Instead, the subjective impressions that are used are strongly influenced by the company's current financial success - creating spurious correlations and invalid conclusions.
Additional significant problems include determining cause vs. effect in correlation data (helped through longitudinal studies - unfortunately these are infrequent), forgetting that the real importance of measured factors may be overstated through correlation with non-measured factors, the "delusion of connecting the winning dots" (studying only successful firms will not identify how they differ from the unsuccessful), and forgetting that useful performance measures identify relative (not just absolute) performance.
Global competition, increasing financial market demands, and much more rapid technological change create enormous pressures to identify the "secrets" of business excellence. This demand has created bookshelves and magazines full of case studies, some seemingly quite thorough and sophisticated. Unfortunately, lack of statistical rigor frequently reduces their value to that of bedtime stories. There is no substitute for good strategy and execution, and in my opinion those lessons are best learned from studying the work of Jack Welch, Larry Bossidy, and Lou Gerstner.
This book is especially timely as all businesses, from the largest corporations to the smallest of local merchants really need to keep their eye on the bouncing ball. Business is changing at all levels with the internet, Facebook and all the other means of instant communication. Every business owner, or prospective entrepreneur needs this book and they need it today.
Thank you, Jason, for your best ever.
The challenge is to reinvent yourself, your people, company and customers. You may encounter some pushback but, after all, it's a necessary act of self-preservation.
Jason Jennings is, again, spot on. This book should be required reading for all entrepreneurs.
I particularly like The Reinventors for the soundness of its immediately actionable continuous change methodologies. Jason thoroughly examines all aspects of successful change management; leadership, organization/people, and action. Furthermore, his ‘Action Plans’ at the conclusion of each chapter help the reader focus on the important change principles and can be used to guide action plan development.
Underlying each of Jason’s continuous change principles is a focus on organizational alignment and accountability, the hallmark principles on which StrategyDriven is focused. Vivid, real-world examples serve to bring the principles conveyed to life; making them easy to relate to and helping the reader envision how he or she might take action to reinvent their organization.
The Reinventors‘s immediately implementable, real-world change methods that reinforce organizational alignment and accountability makes it a StrategyDriven recommended read.
All the Best,
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