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Reorganize for Resilience: Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business Hardcover


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Reorganize for Resilience: Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business + Designing the Customer-Centric Organization: A Guide to Strategy, Structure, and Process + Customer Centricity: Focus on the Right Customers for Strategic Advantage (Wharton Executive Essentials)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Press (January 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422117219
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422117217
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #506,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

A Proven Path to Growth That Rallies the Firm Around Customer Objectives

Most companies say they’re “customer-focused”—yet consistently fail to deliver solutions to the problems their customers care about most. That’s because the divisional silos most firms are organized around make it impossible for them to adapt quickly to changing customer needs. In an era of raging commoditization and eroding profit margins, survival depends on staying one step ahead of your customers—not just giving customers what they say they want, but also anticipating what they’ll want in the future, even if they can’t articulate it yet, and finding innovative ways to deliver it.

In Reorganize for Resilience, strategy and organizational behavior expert Ranjay Gulati reveals how resilient companies prosper both in good times and bad—driving growth and increasing profitability by immersing themselves in the lives of their customers. Instead of pushing their own offerings on customers, these firms work from the outside-in: identifying current and potential customer problems and then providing seamless, integrated products and services that address them.

Based on more than a decade of research in a variety of industries, this implementation-focused guide shows how resilient companies do it: how they break down internal barriers that impede action, build bridges across divisions, and create a network of collaborators. Using examples from companies including Cisco Systems, La Farge, Starbucks, Best Buy, and Jones Lang LaSalle, Gulati describes the five key levers that together help create a resilient organization:

• Coordination: Connect, eradicate, or restructure silos to enable swift responses
• Cooperation: Align all employees around the shared goals of customer solutions
• Clout: Redistribute power to “bridge builders” and customer champions
• Capability: Develop employees’ skills at tackling changing customer needs
• Connection: Blend your offerings with partners to provide unique customer solutions

Authoritative and practical, Reorganize for Resilience will finally help you “walk the walk” of customer-centricity—and jump-start a virtuous cycle of profits, growth, and competitive advantage.

About the Author

Ranjay Gulati is the Jaime and Josefina Chua Tiampo Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School.

More About the Author

Professor Gulati is an expert on leadership, strategy, and organizational issues in firms and the Jaime and Josefina Chua Tiampo Professor at the Harvard Business School. His recent work explores leadership and strategic challenges for building high growth organizations in turbulent markets. Some of his prior work has focused on the enablers and implications of within-firm and inter-firm collaboration. He has looked at both when and how firms should leverage greater connectivity within and across their boundaries to enhance performance.

In his most recent book, Reorganize for Resilience, strategy and organizational behavior Gulati reveals how "resilient" companies--those that prosper both in good times and bad--are driving growth and increasing profitability by immersing themselves in the lives of their customers. Instead of pushing their own offerings on customers, these firms work from the outside-in: identifying current and potential customer problems and then providing seamless, integrated products and services that address them.

Based on more than a decade of research in a variety of industries, this implementation-focused guide shows how resilient companies do it: how they break down internal barriers that impede action, build bridges across divisions, and create a network of collaborators. Using examples from companies including Cisco Systems, La Farge, Starbucks, Best Buy, and Jones Lang LaSalle, Gulati outlines five key levers that together help create a resilient organization.

* Coordination: connect, eradicate, or restructure silos to enable swift responses
* Cooperation: align all employees around the shared goals of customer solutions
* Clout: redistribute power to "bridge builders" and customer champions
* Capability: develop employees' skills at tackling changing customer needs
* Connection: blend your offerings with partners to provide unique customer solutions

Authoritative and practical, Reorganize for Resilience will finally help you "walk the walk" of customer-centricity--and jumpstart a virtuous cycle of profits, growth, and competitive advantage. Videos on Gulati's book can be found at: http://www.reorganizeforresilience.com/videos.html.

His previous book, Managing Network Resources: Alliances, Affiliations, and other Relational Assets (Oxford University Press, 2007), examines the implications of firms' growing portfolio of inter-firm connections. He demonstrates how firms increasingly are scaling back what they consider to be their core activities, and at the same time expanding their array of offerings to customers by entering into a web of collaborations. He has also co-edited two books that focus on the dynamics of competition in emerging technology-intensive industries.

He was ranked as one of the top ten most cited scholars in Economics and Business over a decade by ISI-Incite. The Economist, Financial Times, and the Economist Intelligence Unit have listed him as among the top handful of business school scholars whose work is most relevant to management practice. He advises and speaks to corporations large and small around the globe. Some of his representative speaking and consulting clients include: GE, SAP, Novartis, Bank of China, Sanofi Aventis, Caterpillar, Allergan, Metlife, Target, Hitachi, Novartis, Honda, Qualcomm, Aetna, Future Brands, Ford, Seyfarth Shaw, LaFarge, McGraw-Hill, Rockwell Collins, Merck, General Mills, Abbott Laboratories, Baxter, Credit Suisse, and Microsoft. Professor Gulati is a frequent guest on CNBC and has been a panelist on several of their series on topics that include: the Business of Innovation, Collaboration, and Leadership Vision.

Customer Reviews

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This book is great for anyone who has a customer.
Thomas B. West
The core message of this book is that only those firms attain resilience that are truly able to place their customers at the center of their enterprise.
social capitalist
This, by the is very difficult to do when your offerings are technology driven.
Stephen Hurley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By social capitalist on February 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In his timely book, Gulati provides CEOS and managers with a wakeup call and a practical tool kit they can use to re-organize their firms to thrive in increasingly turbulent economic conditions. The issues discussed in this book are of importance for small, large and even non-profits. Gulati has done an excellent job of writing in a very readable style that I believe will benefit many firms that are seeking ways to survive and thrive.

The core message of this book is that only those firms attain resilience that are truly able to place their customers at the center of their enterprise. However, implementing this strategy is not easy for most firms. Gulati notes that many of the firms which believe that they are customer centric by virtue of going through the motions of traditional market research may actually be deluding themselves. Even when they do solicit ideas from their customers, they do so through the lens of their products as their focus remains on how the customer experiences their products. Further, most firms get caught up in their day to day operations and processes and forget to keep the customer at the center of their enterprise. Unfortunately, customers "become after thoughts" because firms become distracted and blinded by the rigidity of their internal architecture.

Based on qualitative and quantitative research, Gulati explains that while many firms get locked in self-erected silos and thick internal walls, some firms thrive while embracing brutal competition and demanding customer. What distinguishes these firms?

To answer this critical question, Gulati distills lessons from a broad array of firms.
Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Barry Linetsky on May 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Harvard Professor Gulati has written an important book for senior executives seeking to transform their organizations towards a more customer-centric model.

The book is deeply researched and Prof. Gulati has provided a framework and examples of how others have managed the long-road from internal-focused management practices to customer-centric ones. Five levers are defined in the model, each starting with the letter C, that, when pursued in order over an extended period of time ( 3 to 5+ years), can guide corporate transition. The five levers are: Coordination, Cooperation, Clout, Capabilities, and Connections. Implemented together they equal Customer Centricity.

Because there is no single path to overcome and redefine entrenched cultural resistance to the creation of a resilient organization, the reader has to consider the examples given and determine how and if they may be beneficial in the context of their own organization. Because of the abstract nature of considering concrete examples and transposing them to the reader's own context, I found this book very difficult to get through, even though it's just over 200 pages long.

This book is best suited for senior executives who are actively committed to a market-focused business strategy and are actively engaged in the long-term effort to align structure, processes, procedures, and cultural elements to enhance business vitality and resilience. If that's the position you are in, this book is likely an invaluable resource to shape the journey.

If you don't need that much detail, seek out his HBR articles.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Thomas B. West on March 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is great for anyone who has a customer. Gulati provides a useful construct - an outside-in approach -- for considering whether your offering actually delivers something customers want. There are useful questions and read-able examples to draw from. Great book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert E Grant on February 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Gulati's approach to customer centricity is practical and seemingly obvious, yet so elusive to the vast majority of companies today. So few senior leadership teams recognize the daily importance of looking at their organizations from the perspective of their customers rather than relying on internal mechanisms geared toward assessing market segment rather than customer need. Gulati effectively uses outside-in organizational architectures as catalysts for true value creation and defines that value as that which the customer is willing to pay for over a simple incremental improvement that commands no value definition. As organizations grow and mature, they increasingly tend toward inside-out frameworks and hierarchies (product and geographies), which can result in loss of strategic focus around the customer, product incrementalism, and thus, loss of comparative edge in the market place and finally commoditization. Gulati's book illustrates this dilemma and provides pragmatic and insightful advice to readers to avoid these pitfalls by reorganizing resources around the customer to achieve breakout success despite exogenous factors or general market uncertainty.

My management team has applied these principles to our markets with resounding success despite a challenging economic environment. The greatest strength of this book is that it serves as a powerful reminder for whom we are truly working: the customer.

Robert Grant
Allergan Medical
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