ABOUT THE BOOK
The response to the first and second prints have been overwhelming, which has made this third print necessary in a short period of one year. I am thankful to all the managers, executives and CEOs who have taken time to comment, recommend and pass on this book to their colleagues.
Primarily, they are the target audience of this book and their engagement has been extraordinary as seen from the numerous emails and positive comments that I have received for this book, as well as the brisk dispersion of this material. This certainly makes the effort to write, revise, edit, proof and revise this book worthwhile.
Many of the readers have commented on extraordinary pressures faced by the executives and CEOs, and why new business models discussed in this book are so important to them.
Executives, CEOs and boards carry an extraordinary amount of burden in today’s society. There is no doubt that they are the primary producers of wealth in the society, via the companies they lead and products those companies create.
Not many other forms of organisations create or commercialise products and services to any great extent. Yet, the CEOs carry a huge burden.
First, there is pressure to do more with less. The constant market clamor for enhanced profitability, for increased revenue and for less cost, can get overwhelming in today’s economic climate.
Not just the boards, but also other key shareholders and pressure groups can create an environment where CEOs and key executives simply must produce more results with less and less resources. New technologies and techniques, new way of doing things, and new business models are the only savior in this environment.
While most executives adopt this change with the proper diligence, rarely do these new business models and techniques emerge from the Ivy league, or other traditional sources of knowledge. Most CEOs have to search around and find their own sources for these new business models and techniques.
Second, as the traditional command and control organisations of the past have broken down, leadership of generation “Why” has become an intense challenge. With the current eroding organisational loyalty, a culture of job-hopping and attitude of cynicism, leadership challenges facing today’s CEOs are far more intense than faced by any generation in the past.
While the socio-cultural causes and effects of these changes are beyond the scope of this book, the challenges they bring to today’s CEOs are worth noting here because of their impact on the growing pressure on CEOs’ top executives.
Third, the intense scrutiny from the pressure groups, NGOs, environmental lobbyists and other such sundry groups has created an atmosphere where the “business of business” is becoming increasingly difficult. While serving a useful function in many instances, it is easily possible to go overboard with all this activity so that the playing field is tilted in favour of businesses in countries where such activity is not permitted or possible.
The CEOs and executives have to live with - and work amongst - all this intense activity and operate successful businesses under the very vocal scrutiny of self-appointed guardians of societal well-being.
Finally, the CEOs face a unique situation where the buck stops with them, but they rarely get told the pure, unadulterated truth. I do not want to say that everyone lies to their boss, but the reality is that in most instances, almost all the internal and external messengers know that their own career progression and economic well-being is attached to the message they bring to the person at the helm.
Under such circumstances, it is quite easy to temper the message and carry only the good news, lest the message harms the messenger. Most companies survive a long time while operating in this mode. However, if a company fails to face unpleasant reality in good time, it is quite easy to fall behind in the marketplace and gradually lose privileged market positions.
When supply chain management became popular, it was seen as a new way of doing business because it helped break down the barriers between various silos within the business. The extraordinary success of the discipline of supply chain management is attested by the fact that today more than 90 percent of the business schools, even the Ivy League institutions, offer a course in supply chain management or one of its related disciplines.
The most progressive executives and CEOs are looking beyond breaking the internal barriers now. They are seeking to work seamlessly with teams of internal and external personnel in order to rapidly create products and services, and then profitably deliver them to appreciative customers. The teams could come from multiple companies – large or small – and work together for a short or a long time for their intended purpose.
The feedback to this book has consistently emphasized this aspect of the content, where readers have created new business models and used them to increase profitability, turnaround stressful situations, and salvaged businesses.
While most consultants, especially from larger top-tier companies, are reluctant to put their best ideas out because they like to make once and sell multiple times, I face no such pressure.
Firstly, my own time is limited and there is no way I can work on all the projects that can use my ideas expressed in this book and in my other books.
Secondly, the CEOs who use these ideas can still find a way of harnessing them with my assistance, if they choose to do so.
Finally, an idea is only as good as it proves to be in practice. After all, when Booz Allen and Hamilton created the original idea of supply chain management they put it in the public domain leading to a vast revolution in how companies do business today.
This is my hope - that you will use what is usable for you in this book, and share with me how you used it. This is also important because we are all learning from one another and constantly improving this material, and noting what other users can learn from your experiences. To share, to comment, to commend, to discuss, or to ask, send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. While you already know this, in today’s world there is no such thing as one-way communication. That has been my primary learning from the feedback I got so far from this book. I am looking forward to more of the same.
Some executives who received a copy of the book have inquired how they can contribute. In my view, there is no better way than paying forward - share the ideas, the content, web-links, even the book with your own business network of executives who can benefit from these concepts.
There is no doubt that on this round planet, what goes around comes around. You will not only enrich your own business network, but also yourself in this process. After all, in this modern inter-connected economy, your network is your net worth.
To your continued success,