“If you only have time to read one book on management this year, choose this one.”
Rusty Tunnard, Professor of International Business, The Fletcher School, Tufts University
“An important book…refreshingly easy to read and understand.”
Tim Jones, formerly CEO of Lloyds Register
“This thoughtful book…should be read by anyone embarking on a transformational leadership journey.”
Christopher Rodrigues, Chairman British Council
“A manual for executives to understand the contrasting forces driving change…”
Sangeet Choudary, author of Platform Scale and co-author of Platform Revolution
“Writing as original and stimulating as any to be found in business literature.”
Vaughan Evans, author of Key Strategy Tools
“Guillebaud understands how and why fundamental transformation is happening and what to do about it.”
Theodore Taptiklis, author of Unmanaging
“A stimulating and enjoyable read for any executive wanting to confront disruption challenges seriously.”
Nick Fell, Marketing Director SAB Miller
“Sobering but important food for thought for all companies!”
Julian Drinkall, CEO of Alpha Plus
“Chatty book blends deep analysis with personal anecdotes, so makes this vast topic easily digestible.”
Francois Heriard-Dubreuil, Chairman of Remy Cointreau and Fondation INSEAD
“A call to arms, which, while never underplaying the tough realities of making organisations better, is fundamentally optimistic.”
Stephen Warrington, formerly partner at McKinsey & Co and Strategy Director at Barclays
“Don’t just read his book…do what he says; you’ll be the better for it.”
Flip Flippen, Founder and Chairman of Flippen Group
“Leaders should read his advice on how to energize their businesses”
Sir Ian Cheshire, Chairman Debenhams, formerly CEO of Kingfisher
“Invaluable insight for getting to grips with dealing with big companies! …Read it, you will enjoy it!”
Rich Coles, Founder and CEO of trafficRich
Synopsis of the main messages of the book
Disruptive forces are already fundamentally changing the traditional landscape of business and the process will accelerate rapidly.
- Digital disruptors, both established and new, are a breed of competitors that will threaten your established business model and value networks with suppliers and customers, perhaps fatally.
- Big Data, the algorithms for exploiting them, artificial intelligence and robots will revolutionize the way you do business and the model of the enterprise.
- New generational tribes of consumers (millennials and post-millennials) think and behave fundamentally differently to what you are used to and the way they interact with technology means a fundamental reappraisal of your approach to customers.
- Your business model, including IT infrastructure and systems, will no longer be fit for purpose in an increasingly “platformed” world.
- The traditional organizational model you are using has reached its “sell-by date,” and if you are to compete you must radically change it.
Denial of the scope, scale and reach of these disruptive changes is widespread; denial is the default setting of most executives within established enterprises.
- Denial is a natural response to threats of fundamental change, given how the brain works and the nature of established behaviours at work.
- Inbreeding at the top of organizations is widespread and there is little enrichment of the gene pool from outside; so this reinforces denial.
- Executives find themselves trapped by the realities of the shareholder capital model; they are in a “stuckness predicament,” unable to react to disruptive change.
Established enterprises in traditional industries can survive if they accept reality and take remedial action; but it will not be easy – if they do nothing, they will fail.
- Moving from a state of denial to acceptance is a vital first step; this means taking positive steps to gain understanding of the threats and opportunities, and acquiring a determination to “get cracking.”
- Whatever else you do, you will need to take action to move progressively toward a business model with “platform” features, making the best of your legacy and making your business model compatible with platforms.
- Some enterprises could envisage a big move like Dell has done; this usually means escaping the constraints of the public enterprise by going private with a private equity partner with deep pockets.
- You can and must adopt a “disrupt yourself” posture; there are lots of things you can do to encourage disruptive innovation and change your company from within.
- You need to take steps to become a Digital Age Disruptive organization, fit to inspire the new generations and to deal with the realities of the disruptive world.
- A new style of leadership will be critical for survival; acknowledging that this will be different and looking in non traditional places for these leaders will be vital.
I very much hope that I have kick-started a conversation on this vital topic. I believe that encouraging enterprises to wake up to the reality of what is about to hit them is a great issue of our time. Established companies – with their histories, their workforces, their brands, their products and services, their capabilities of all kinds – can and surely must be able to co-exist after the Fourth Industrial Revolution with the new Digital Age corporations. But there is no divine right that they will do so. Many, perhaps most, will not make the transition to sustainable survival.
In fact, a comparison of the constituent companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, FTSE 100, CAC40, Nikkei 225 or other leading indexes on other exchanges today with 10 or 15 years ago already makes sober reading. Darwinism is in action and is accelerating! As Stephen Warrington points out in the foreword to this book, the subject matter is critical. “It is for those on whom the lion’s share of our economy and prosperity depends; those who lead, or aspire to lead, the organizations, large and small, that provide most of our products and services, and employ most of our people. Many of these organizations are at risk of becoming moribund.”