Christensen (The Innovator’s Dilemma) analyzes the strategies that allow corporations to successfully grow new businesses and outpace the other players in the marketplace. Christensen’s earlier book examined how focusing on profits can destroy even well-run corporations, while this book focuses on companies expanding by being “disruptors” who are able to outpace their entrenched competition. The authors (Christensen is a professor at Harvard Business School and Raynor, a director at Deloitte Research) examine the nine business decisions integral to growth, including product development, organizational structure, financing and key customer base. They cite such companies as IBM, AT&T, Sony, Microsoft and others to illustrate their points. Generally, the writing is clear and specific. For example, in discussing whether a company has the resources necessary for growth, the authors say, “In order to be confident that managers have developed the skills required to succeed at a new assignment, one should examine the sorts of problems they have wrestled with in the past. It is not as important that managers have succeeded with the problem as it is for them to have wrestled with it and developed the skills and intuition for how to meet the challenge successfully the next time around”; they then provide a real-life example of a software company. Similar important strategies give readers insights that they can use in their own workplaces. People looking for quick fixes may find the charts, diagrams and extensive footnotes daunting, but readers familiar with more technical business management tomes will find this one both stimulating and beneficial.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Why the President Should Read This Book
It’s not that great to write a book about a dilemma if you never provide the solution. What is the solution? In a nutshell, it involves innovating against yourself, reinventing yourself, and continually putting yourself out of business. This is how businesses survive, and how society rids itself of under-performing businesses that use up valuable resources while providing little in value. Unfortunately, government doesn’t get the same signals businesses do, and so public entities tend to linger around for a long time after their utility is exhausted, assuming they had some utility in the first place (i.e. Department of Education). Perhaps a President with a thorough understanding of this book would be more inclined to let the private sector do most things, and the government take care of only those few things it has to, thus allocating resources to where they can be best utilized, and raising the standard of living for all of us.