Monday 27 January 2020

a company prepared to change will last the pace longer

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

By

Jason

Jennings

People generally don't like change, but Jason Jennings says that at least for companies, a lack of radical and constant reinvention spells their death knell.

In his engaging book, Jennings spells out why change and growth within companies large and small is essential if they're to remain viable enterprises in the longer term.

Using interviews with leaders of a number of US firms, he ponders why some firms make it and others don't.

He suggests that there are "two mammoth problems with large consequences" for owners and leaders of corporations of any size and that both underscore the need for constant reinvention.

Opportunity

The first is that unless a business is growing, employees will find a reason to leave and pursue other opportunities.

Second, unless a company is undergoing radical change, it will never be able to stay ahead of its customers' constantly changing wants and needs.

Jennings warns that once growth starts to decline it's tough to reignite the spark.

Excuses abound -- the state of the economy, slow growth is outside the company's control, and more.

He says that building a culture of change is vital. So too is letting go -- being able to ditch old products, old services and reinventing how a business does things.

He cites a quote from Howard Stringer, the chairman (and former CEO) of Sony.

Mentality

"Great companies [inevitably] develop a rowboat mentality," he says, commenting that they are "always looking behind to past successes". He adds that Sony is "working hard to avoid living in our past".

But no mention, despite the book having been released this year, of Sony's continuing struggling fortunes.

Earlier this year it posted a record (and its fourth) straight annual loss.

But to focus on such omissions would be unfair to Jennings.

He has delivered a book of common (and not so common) sense that eschews the often bombastic tone taken by other such efforts.

Sensible arguments which are peppered with insightful anecdotes from company leaders have served up an enjoyable and worthy read.

Available with free P&P on www.kennys.ie or by calling 091 709350

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