Ready? The 3Rs of Preparing your Organization for the future

The premise of Ready? The 3Rs of Preparing your Organization for the Future relies on one essential question posed to 156 CEOS and senior business leaders: what are your businesses’ challenges and opportunities for the future, and are you ready to face them?

Ready? paints an urgent situation for future of business leadership, and asserts that traditional strategies will not stand up to the new business world. “The world is changing, and the demands of leaders are changing with it,” the authors write. “The men and women who sit at the top of organizational structures now and in the future will need different sills and abilities to those who have led companies—albeit successfully—in the past.”

The four main sections of the book circle around the point that relevant business in this day and age requires drastic change. The authors begin by warning against falling into a “short-term trap” and failing to build long-term views of a sustainable business plan, urging that “preparing an organization for the future, while delivering immediate results, is one of the biggest, most important, and most difficult leadership tasks that any executive will undertake.”

From there the authors elaborate on the first ‘R’: rethinking your playing field. It is here that many business leaders in the region might want to take notes, as the authors present compelling arguments for different market strategies different regions, from high-growth markets in Asia and Africa to developed economies in the west. The chapter also devotes a large section to new consumer behavior and what businesses can do to evolve.

The next few Rs, “Redefine your ambition” and “reshape how you work” reflect a similar urgency to alter business strategy in the face of new challenges. While “Rethink” looks outward to shifting markets, consumers, and competition, “Redefine” and “Reshape” hone in on what happens in the office of successful businesses. “Redefine” looks at the importance of building a company vision, while “reshape” instructs readers on shifting from transactional to creative relationships.  

Reminscient of a university text book in its layout, Ready? includes organized charts and recaps at the end of each chapter, a convenient summary tool for an otherwise densely informative book. Sidebars along the text provide ample real world examples of business strategy gone right—or wrong.

Peppered throughout the book are CEO anecdotes about what worked for their business and why. Here lies the true strength of Ready? as the book features a wealth of “front line” sources, from Unilever CEO Paul Polman to GE France President and CEO Clara Gaymard and Mars CEO Paul Michaels. From a range of different industries and regions springs a spectrum of business strategies and advice.

At the same time, the authors’ own backgrounds are certainly apparent in the book’s focus. Thomas W. Malnight is a professor of strategy at the International Institute for Management Development, and Tracey S. Keys is a director and founder of Strategy Dynamics Global SA. The third author, Kees van def Graaf, spent 30 years with the book’s most heavily featured company, Unilever, at one point serving on the company’s Board and Executive Committee. With decades of experience as business consultants, teachers, and executives shared between them, each author’s voice contributes to a holistic portrait of business management in the modern world.

Speaking about the book, Professor Malnight said, “delivering today while gearing up for the future is one of the biggest challenges facing leaders globally. There is no single answer or approach, but preparing for the future requires taking actions starting today. We hope this book will provide insight and challenge as you prepare your organization, and yourself, for the future.”

This book is ideal for anyone from senior management in an established company to the budding entrepreneur looking to create a sustainable business plan. As the authors note, “organizational success cannot happen without the personal success of the leader.” As such, Ready? speaks to simple yet critical strategies for leading a company through the dramatic challenges of global 21st century business.

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