Growing a Business in Times of Change

In times of rapid change, real strategy isn’t about defining the answer.  It’s about creating the conditions to focus, inspire and unleash the collective talent of an organization.

In 2007, three companies were the movers and shakers of the mobile phone business: Nokia, Motorola, and RIM Blackberry. These three manufacturers set the pace for the industry, defined the modes of competition, and were the basis for nearly every other manufacturer’s decision making. By 2010, that list had changed to Apple, Google Android and Samsung. That’s a massive shift. And it happened in 900 days.

The world is changing faster than ever. And that makes life extremely difficult for anyone trying to grow a business. If you focus too much on the big picture, you run the danger of missing your numbers this quarter. Just ask Pepsi. If you focus too much on the here and now, you might just become irrelevant. Just ask Blockbuster. And if you focus on your competitors, you might just join them at the poorhouse. In the midst of all this turmoil, what’s a self-respecting business manager to do?

A generation ago, the answer was to hire a team of crack management consultants to help come up with a competitive strategy. Most of their methods now seem a little out of date. And some of their advice can be downright dangerous. That’s because the definition of strategy has evolved. It’s no longer about analyzing all of the data and telling your troops where to march. The data you need is often incomplete or out of date. Today, strategy is about creating the conditions that will focus, inspire and unleash the collective talent of your team.

Unleash is a playbook for today’s game of growth. Over the last twenty years, we’ve worked with some of the world’s most admired companies to help them create new businesses and reinvent existing ones. We love these companies. And we hate most business books. Too often, they’re a bunch of theoretical stuff that has never been put to the test in the real world. Business books suck. This is not one of those books.

Unleash identifies the five key talents that any business unit needs to master to succeed in times of change: Action, Focus, Imagination, Intuition and Courage. These talents are obvious. How to unleash them isn’t. In this book, we give you practical advice for what leaders can do right now to develop these talents. Unleash is filled with compelling stories and real world examples of what works and what doesn’t. And we’re completely candid about the limitations of this approach. The world is changing and you need to change with it. The answer lies inside the team you have now. It’s just waiting to be unleashed.