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June 07, 2004

Surviving Transformation: Lessons from GM's Surprising Turnaround

by Vincent P. Barabba

Surviving Transformation is an excellent study of the real issues associated with transforming organizations. Standing on the shoulders of his mentors—Russ Ackoff and Peter Drucker—Barabba takes us to new heights in understanding how to successfully lead business transformation.

“This book makes clear the successful journey to transformation does not start with the departure, it starts with the destination.” – Peter Drucker

“This book is about transformation. It tackles transformation from a unique angle. It is not about restructuring and performance evaluation or training programs: it demonstrates that by changing selectively how we do business—by changing our interactions with customers, by changing the way we formulate problems internally, and by changing the ways we imagine a future—we can make a difference.” –C.K. Prahalad, Foreword to Surviving Transformation

Surviving Transformation describes how General Motors reversed its dangerous decline and positioned itself for success in the 21st Century. The story tells how in the early 1990’s GM’s leaders made a series of operating and strategic decisions that brought the company back from the brink of bankruptcy and developed a portfolio of products and services to successfully compete with any car company in the world. The book identifies three business designs that served as guideposts at different points during the transformation. 1) Make and Sell: based on the ability to predict future sales the firm uses economies of scale to produce the right number of products to sell—at a profit. 2) Sense and Respond: accepting that future customer preferences cannot be predicted, the enterprise designs its production and delivery systems to be more adaptive allowing it to effectively respond to changes in customer and market preferences. 3) Anticipate and Lead: also accepts that the future cannot be predicted, but rather than designing adaptive systems, allocates resources to create the future that is best for the enterprise and the customer.

The author explains that one strategy is not necessarily better than another and provides examples that illustrate the circumstances within which either of three (or some combination) can be the basis of success. The objective is to understand the conditions within which the firm operates and determine the most appropriate mix of all three designs. This is one of those rare instances where the author was a participant in the process throughout the entire decade of transformation. Readers will come away from the book with insightful examples and powerful tools to rethink their enterprise strategies as they prepare for a world of complexity and continuous change.

To Pre-order this book, please click on the following link:
Surviving Transformation: Lessons from GM's Surprising Turnaround

Posted by ACASA on June 7, 2004 at 01:38 PM in Books | Permalink


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Posted by: Haley at May 6, 2005 3:01:35 AM

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