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Reorganize for Resilience: Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business Hardcover – January 19, 2010
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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 customersnot 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 baddriving 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-centricityand jump-start a virtuous cycle of profits, growth, and competitive advantage.
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Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Most of the book is devoted to the problem on how to create a customer oriented company. The topic nor new or inventive. Does not touch much the problem of resilience. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Mikolaj Pindelski
Harvard business administration professor Ranjay Gulati offers a road map for firms that are struggling in lackluster, confusing economic times. Read morePublished on August 28, 2012 by Rolf Dobelli
This if a fast read, idea-packed and timely in this wobbly economy. Perhaps the most efficient way to optimize a business or other organization is to encourage employees to use... Read morePublished on July 25, 2010 by Kare Anderson
This is an excellent book that lays out the often difficult steps that are required of businesses that want to embark on the journey to being customer-focused. Prof. Read morePublished on April 26, 2010 by David Mangen
I was first drawn to Ranjay's ideas on how to create a more fluid and customer-focused organization through his HBR article called "Silo Busting". Read morePublished on April 3, 2010 by Stephen Hurley
For any business looking to discover the secrets for long-term success, Ranjay Gulati has devised a great blueprint; the key strategies revolve around creating a customer centric... Read morePublished on March 3, 2010 by Larry Underwood
Gulati synthesizes research and experience into a thoughtful client centric management framework for any organization - large or small - to consume. Read morePublished on January 6, 2010 by C. F. Burrows