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This book will help directors in large organisations looking to adapt more quickly to changing market conditions. - Director Magazine, March 2008


Successful companies often become victims of their own success: when their business matures, they find it impossible to renew themselves. To regain and maintain growth they need to learn to thrive on change and disruption. Fast Strategy analyses the risks successful companies face, and presents the three essential capabilities they need in order to regain and maintain continued growth: strategic sensitivity (both the sharpness of perception and the intensity of awareness and attention), resource fluidity (the internal capability to reconfigure business systems and redeploy resources rapidly) and collective commitment (the ability of the top team to make bold decisions fast, without being bogged in win-lose politics at the top). Fast Strategy is based on interviews with 150 executives from leading global companies such as Cisco, HP, IBM, Intel, Nokia, and SAP. Measures, tools and leadership behaviours implemented by these companies as they rekindled growth are detailed in a way that can serve as examples and be readily put in practice.Co-authored by a former Nokia top executive and a senior academic, Fast Strategy combines experience and theory for your company to stay ahead of the competition.

More information on Fast Strategy and the area of strategic agility can be found on the authors' website: www.strategicagility.com/

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Superb, Needed by the 90% of Leaders Who Don't Read 26. August 2008
Von Robert David STEELE Vivas - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Minus one star for publisher being lazy about using Amazon tools to help readers see the table of contents and otherwise "look inside the book," and for lack of deeper reference to externalities that deeply impact on emerging business models, including natural capitalism, moral capitalism, and transcendent capitalism.

I found the content engrossing, while on every page I realized that with every word, the authors are describing precisely what 90% of the "successful" leaders refuse to do--and especially those in the secret intelligence community that I know so well.

The authors blend deep strategic experience with Nokia and at INSEAD among many other qualifications, and I recommend this book be read together with two others that I recently reviewed:

The New Age of Innovation: Driving Cocreated Value Through Global Networks
Execution Premium

Book's bottom line: leaders must create and nurture counterintuitive blending--sustained constant blending, of the following:
+ Strategic sensitivity
+ Collective commitment
+ Resource fluidity
+ Management depoliticization

They summarize the challenge early on: "interdependent opportunities in the world of convergence and fuzzy enterprise boundaries and of rapid emergent systemic change in environment."

Before summarizing the really compelling points made by the authors, I want to skip ahead to their appendices and list the thirteen toxicities that define most successful businesses today, as well as government agencies and most especially secret government agencies that are, in the words of one Defense Intelligence Senior Leader (DISL) cited in Still Broken: A Recruit's Inside Account of Intelligence Failures, from Baghdad to the Pentagon: "institutionalized lunacy."

The thirteen toxicities (buy the book for these pages alone):
- Tunnel vision
- Tyranny of core business
- Strategic myopia
- Dominance mindset
- Snap judgment and intellectual laziness
- Imprisoned resources
- Business system rigidity
- Ties that bind
- Management mediocrity and competence gaps
- Management divergence
- Heady charm of fame and power (or in secret world, lack of accountability for failing to deliver anything truly valuable)
- Expert management (making operational decisions instead of strategic)
- Emotional apathy

In the book in you are looking at it in a bookstore, pages 124-126 are a priceless inventory of the drivers, consequences, and toxicities that undermine strategic sensibility, collective commitment, and resource flexibility. Any CEO or Board of Directors can use these three pages alone to fail just about any company, right now, across the board.

Now here are the gems I pulled from this worthy offering:

+ Casting a wide net (as I suggested to AGSI in 1994)
+ Multiple levels of analysis (see image--threat and opportunity change depending on the level of analysis)
+ Including understanding of one's creeping and binding "lock ins"

+ Keep the top level meetings focused on strategy
+ Create culture of holistic accountability instead of silos
+ Make time for full information sharing and interaction
+ Treat personal objectives and concerns as critical inputs
+ Have a FAIR process that allows for needed UNEQUAL resource allocation

+ Some resources are more fluid (money, brand) than others (key people, fixed inputs, special relationships with clients)
+ Challenge is cognitive and political rather than procedural or financial
+ Generative growth (on the edges) is key--one reason I hate tethered devices like the X-Box or the iPhone
+ Must MAXIMIZE knowledge SHARING with OUTSIDE parties
+ Experiment

+ "Most top teams are, for natural reasons, collections of independent individuals with strong opinions rather than inspiring and innovative teams." Page 79 citing Teams At the Top. In my own experience and that of Ben Gilad, author of Business Blindspots (order from UK Infonortics), the INFORMATION reaching most managers is biased, late, incomplete, filtered, and poorly focused--thus making opinions even more dangerous.
+ Authors feel strongly that teams need to be organized for mutual interdependencies, with incentives to match.
+ "Cognitive diversity is a key precondition to high-quality internal dialogs."
+ Use young rising leaders as a shadow management team focused on the future
+ Have an OPEN strategy process
+ Leaders must learn to ASK and ADAPT rather than to DECIDE and TELL.

Other key points that grabbed me and are memorable:
+ Strategy now is continuous
+ Strategy now is less about foresight (still important), more about insight across every domain
+ Agility is the key ingredient, means being able to think and act differently (so much for most leadership teams)
+ Emotions matter--people not products innovate, learn to use this

I put the book down (at the beach, in Rohoboth) with three ideas bringing this encounter to a close:

1) Mature *successful* businesses die of strategic paralysis and the thirteen toxins

2) Three core values the authors use to conclude are

+ Dedication to EVERY client

+ Innovation that matters to both the company and the world

+ Trust and personal responsibility in ALL relationships.

3) Strike three for the US Intelligence Community and the US Government.

Here are some other books I consider to be, as with this one and the ones cited above, worthy of top minds seriously interested in doing the right thing for country, company, and customers:
Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace Battle for the Soul of Capitalism]]
One from Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (Wharton School Publishing Paperbacks)
Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution
The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
THE SMART NATION ACT: Public Intelligence in the Public Interest

I had something to do with the last two and hope I can be forgiven for including them--it is not possible to perform as a smart company in the context of a dumb nation, nor is it possible to co-create value without recognizing that the gold standard now consists of meeting individual needs without social or environmental costs being externalized.

Excellent book. Buy it--this review is a taste, not the meal.
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How to become and then remain a strategically agile company 7. Mai 2008
Von Robert Morris - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
In their Introduction, Yves Doz and Mikko Kosonen assert that strategically agile companies "not only learn to make fast turns and transform themselves without losing momentum but their CEOs and top teams also have higher ambitions: to make their companies permanently, regularly, able to take advantage of change and disruption. They want their organizations to learn to thrive on continuous waves of change, not to periodically and painfully adjust to change, in an alternation of periods of stability and moments of upheaval. Put differently, they want [everyone in] their companies [at all levels and in all areas] to learn a new competitive game: the fast strategy game - a game where nothing can be taken for granted, where no competitive advantage edge may last, where innovation and the constant development of new capabilities are the only sources of advantage."

Doz and Kosonen respond to critically important questions such as these:

What separates winners from losers in this "game"?
How differently are the winners led?
How are they organized?
How do they make decisions?

Answers to these and other questions are revealed during their rigorous examination of exemplary organizations that are most exposed to the challenges of speed and complexity such as Accenture, Canon, Cisco, HP, IBM, Intel, Nokia, and SAP. The lessons to be learned from them can be of substantial to all other organizations (regardless of their size and nature) that are currently struggling to formulate and then execute strategies that will enable them to achieve and then - a key word -- sustain decisive competitive advantage. Doz and Kosonen ask their readers to view this process as a "journey" from where their organizations are now to where they hope their change initiatives will take them. Of course, there will be significant barriers along the way, many of them cultural, the result of what James O'Toole so aptly characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom." It is imperative that those who chart the course of this journey also keep in mind what Peter Drucker observed in 1963: "There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all."

For me, some of the most valuable material is provided in Part 3 (Chapters 7-12) as Doz and Kosonen focus on an especially formidable challenge that many of their readers either face now or will soon encounter: Not just to survive and redirect a core business once, but to "weave strategic agility" into your organizational fabric."Tables 7.1, 7.2, and 7.3 (Pages 124-126) illustrate the erosion of strategic sensitity(e.g. tunnel vision creates strategic myopia), collective commitment (e.g.silos and bunkers compete for resources), and resource fluidity (e.g. disconnected autonomies that hoard resources) Each of these illustrations has the same format: Driver > Consequence > Toxic Side-Effect. How to avoid or replenish these patterns of erosion? Throughout Part 3, Doz and Kosonen recommend and then explain a number of different strategies and tactics. They have no illusions whatsoever about the difficulties, implications, and possible consequences inherent to regaining strageic agility, once lost. "It is a systemic capability - where many forces have to play in unison - so it can hardly be rebuilt one component at a time. [Meeting the challenge] calls for more difficult ytop management skills and more demanding behaviors. It cannot be delegated by the CEO, but yet needfs to involve all key corporate functions in well-coordinated action...[Moreover], there is not a simple, single recommendation for rebuilding strategic agility - which action sequence to consider, which oath to take are contingent on where a company starts from: sustained momentum or stagnation and inertia."

The remarks with which Doz and Kosonen conclude the final chapter also provide an appropriate conclusion to this review: "Do not evaluate the underlying drivers of strategic agility by their immediate operational value. [In that event], you could discover that you have lost strategic agility when you need it most. Keep on the strategic agility journey, keep the quest going, even when the immediate pay-offs are perhaps disappointing. You will be rewarded."

Bon voyage!

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out Corporate Agility co-authored by Charles Grantham, Jim Ware, and Cory Williamson as well as Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat and Competing in a Flat World co-authored by Victor Fung, William Fung, and Yoram (Jerry) Wind. Also Roger Martin's The Opposable Mind, Gary Hamel's The Future of Management, Henry Chesbrough's Open Business Models, Richard Ogle's Smart World, Frans Johansson's The Medici Effect, James Kilts's Doing What Matters, Dean Spitzer's Transforming Performance Measurement, and Enterprise Architecture As Strategy co-authored by Jeanne W. Ross, Peter Weill, and David Robertson.
1 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Fast Strategy - all straight lines 29. Mai 2009
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
A great read. Well thought out and researched. Nice clear structure & I would love to say intuitive, but Doz & Kosonen are quite original in their work.Think about any industry using their "Curse of success" framework and you will have a challenge.
1 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Fast Strategy 10. März 2010
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Book is difficult to read. I am finding good food for thought but I am spending alot of time re-reading to get authors points
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