Friday, December 16, 2011

Beyond Performance: How Great Organizations Build Ultimate Competitive Advantage By Colin Price, Scott Keller

Beyond Performance: How Great Organizations Build Ultimate Competitive Advantage

Beyond Performance: How Great Organizations Build Ultimate Competitive Advantage
By Colin Price, Scott Keller

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Average customer review:
(11 customer reviews)

Product Description

The secret of achieving and sustaining organizational excellence revealed

In an ever-changing world where only a third of excellent organizations stay that way over the long term, and where even fewer are able to implement successful change programs, leaders are in need of big ideas and new tools to thrive. In Beyond Performance, McKinsey & Company's Scott Keller and Colin Price give you everything you need to build an organization that can execute in the short run and has the vitality to prosper over the long term.

Drawing on the most exhaustive research effort of its kind on organizational effectiveness and change management, Keller and Price put hard science behind their big idea: that the health of an organization is equally as important as its performance. In the book's foreword, management guru Gary Hamel refers to this notion as "a new manifesto for thinking about organizations."

  • The authors illustrate why copying management best practices from other companies is more dangerous than helpful
  • Clearly explains how to determine the mutually reinforcing combination of management practices that best fits your organization's context
  • Provides practical tools to achieve superior levels of performance and health through a staged change process: aspire, assess, architect, act, and advance. Among these are new techniques for dealing with those aspects of human behavior that are seemingly irrational (and therefore confound even the smartest leaders), yet entirely predictable

Ultimately, building a healthy organization is an intangible asset that competitors copy at their peril and that enables you to skillfully adapt to and shape your environment faster than others—giving you the ultimate competitive advantage.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #31488 in eBooks
  • Published on: 2011-06-01
  • Released on: 2011-06-01
  • Format: Kindle eBook
  • Number of items: 1
Editorial Reviews

'a robust tool of measurement...thorough and clear' CPO Agenda

"Beyond Performance is a gem – it is evidence-based, emotionally compelling, and relentlessly useful. If you want to create a team or organization that enjoys sustained financial performance—and where people love to work—this delightful book is for you."
Robert Sutton, Stanford Professor and author of Good Boss, Bad Boss

From the Inside Flap
The greatest invention of all time isn't the wheel, it's organization. By working together effectively, people can achieve feats far beyond anything they could accomplish individually. At a time of unprecedented economic, political, and social change, organizations need more than ever to operate at peak levels of performance. In order to do so, they need leaders who understand both how to achieve organizational excellence and how to sustain it.

Evidence shows that only a third of organizations that achieve excellence are able to maintain it over decades. Even fewer manage to implement successful transformation programs. These statistics have devastating implications. In business, most of today's companies will falter within twenty years. In government, the majority of reform programs will fail. So will most efforts to create broader social change.

This book is written for those who intend to beat these odds. Based on one of the most extensive research efforts ever undertaken in the field of management, Beyond Performance shows how leaders can deliver performance today while also ensuring that their organizations stay fitfor the future.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful.
5Insightful, Profound Lessons
By John Chancellor
The pace of change in all aspects of our lives is increasing faster than ever. In order to just stay even, businesses, governments and non-profits must become more agile, more adaptable - in short they must accomplish one of the more difficult feats for large organizations - change.

Most change initiatives do not achieve the lofty goals they set out to accomplish. According to the authors, "When change programs fail, it's more often than not down to unproductive management behavior, unhelpful employee attitudes, or both."

But as Scott Keller and Colin Price, the authors, point out, it is not just change in operational efficiency which matters. Change focused on some narrow segment of performance only works in the short term and generally at a very high cost in terms of employee morale.

The authors based on very extensive research carried out over a multi-year period have developed a blue print for change that really works. There is equal emphasis on operational performance and the soft-side of business or what they call health. According to their research, "roughly 50 percent of performance variation between companies is accounted for by differences in organizational health."

In Part I of the book the authors advance the overall premise of the book. That sustained excellence is achieved by paying close attention to performance and health. When seeking to bring about change in any organization, you must focus on both performance and health. The authors have identified five questions which must be answered to bring about desired change.

They have grouped the questions under the following headings:
Aspire: Where do we want to go?
Assess: How ready are we to go there?
Architect: What do we need to do to get there?
Act: How do we manage the journey?
Advance: How do we keep moving forward?

They then break this down further by asking more detailed questions under the same heading for performance and for health.

Part II of the book deals with the five frames in much greater detail. They give examples of each frame in action, showing how various companies put these concepts into action.

Part III of the book ties all the information together.

The book is well written and full of very helpful examples of real life companies. There is plenty of research to back up the concepts they advance.

It is most applicable to larger organizations. While it is easy to understand the theory, I suspect that most companies would do well to seek assistance in trying to implement the study and measurement of the health of their organization. But based on the case studies in the book, the cost of such help is insignificant in relation to the payback.

The information in this book is very compelling. Many books have proclaimed the old command and control management is outdated. But this book takes the soft skills of management - the health of organizations - and shows clearly how it affects the bottom line.

A very important book which should be read and studied and the concepts implemented if you want your organization to be on the leading edge.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
5How to achieve and then sustain both outstanding leadership and management throughout the given enterprise
By Robert Morris

Scott Keller and Colin Price acknowledge that although there is a "multitude" of books about business leadership and management already in print (actually, Amazon now offers 16,075 titles), they believe that "no other work offers what we are trying to provide. Our approach combines two views. The first view is of a `stable equilibrium' state of organizational excellence in which high performance can be sustained; the second is of the dynamics of the transition required to reach that combining static and dynamic views of organizations, we aim to arrive at a fuller understanding of their fundamental nature. To that end, we aim to shift the `installed base' of management thinking'...Our central message is focusing on organizational health - which we define as the ability of your organization to align, execute, and renew itself faster that your competitors can - is just important as focusing on the traditional drivers of business performance."

With all that clarified up front, Keller and Price then carefully guide their reader through a five-stage process (appropriately identified as the "5 As") for developing capabilities beyond their current potentialities for performance in order to achieve and then sustain "ultimate competitive advantage." Frankly, I am astonished by the fact that so many C-level executives still do not fully understand that their organization's #1 competitor tomorrow will be what it offers today. Today's performance is measured in terms of specific results. By nature, results occur at the conclusion of a process of effort. The challenge is to become so "healthy" as an organization that the capabilities are there to align, execute, and renew faster than the competition so that the organization can sustain exceptional performance over time.

Keller and Price identify and then discuss what they characterize as the "Nine Elements of Organizational Health." Let's take a brief look at the first five practices that underpin organizational health:

1. Direction: Shared vision, strategic clarity, and employee involvement/engagement
Question: What is the ultimate destination

2. Leadership: Authoritative, consultative, supportive, and challenging
Question: Who will take us there?

3. Culture and climate: Open and trusting, internally competitive, operationally disciplined, and creative and entrepreneurial
Question: Do we really believe in the power of first-person plural pronouns?

4. Accountability: Role clarity, performance contracts, consequence management, and personal ownership
Question: Do we have almost total buy-in on who we are, what we do, how we do it, and why?

5. Coordination and control: People performance review, operational management, and financial management
Question: Do we do what is most important, constantly improve what we do, and measure it?

The other four elements are Capabilities, Motivation, External Orientation, and Innovation and learning. Keller and Price rigorously examine within five frames (i.e. the "5 As"): Aspire ("Where do we want to go?"), Assess, ("How ready are we to go there?") Architect ("What do we need to do to get there?"), Act ("How do we manage the journey?), and Advance (""How do we keep moving forward?"). In Part II, Keller and Price devote a separate chapter to each and then in Part III, help their reader to pull it all together. More specifically, they examine the senior leader's role, how the five separate but interconnected frames can help to make an organization even "healthier," and finally, which specific challenges their reader will probably encounter and how the information, insights, and counsel in the book can help the reader to respond effectively to those challenges.

Some readers will accept Keller and Price's challenge to prepare for the future, others won't. Some will then succeed, others won't. If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the road to failure in business is paved with "nice tries." I agree with the Jedi Master, Yoda: "Do or do not. There is no try."

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
5a way through to sustainable performance
By Sharon Toye
Organisations are complex, messy and challenging at the best of times. Whether you are inside or outside an organisation trying to change them for the better can sometimes feel like looking for the holy grail. With Beyond Performance there is a clear line of sight and a deceptively simple but powerful 'how to' offered to the reader. The power of this approach is the focus that it has on underpinning performance enhancement for long term sustainable success by also focusing on health.


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