Book Review: 'The Reinventors: How Extraordinary Companies Pursue Radical Continuous Change' by Jason Jennings
The Reinventors: How Extraordinary Companies Pursue Radical Continuous Change Jason Jennings Portfolio/The Penguin Grtoup (2012)
Jennings’ latest book is also his best…thus far, 10 May 2012
In fact, companies do not “pursue radical continuous change,” extraordinary executives do. As Jason Jennings brilliantly explains in his latest book, companies need “reinventors” at all levels and in all areas, active and productive people who constantly improve what is done and how it is done, thereby sustaining what should be an un-ending process of organizational improvement. They are best viewed as results-driven innovators who make certain they and their organization are continually providing something of value to someone willing to pay them enough to make it worthwhile.” Jennings stresses “radical” improvement but I am certain he agrees that sometimes a minor adjustment can have a major impact.
Here are several of the several dozen passages that caught my eye. These can be found in Chapters 1-3
o Tired old excuses for little or no growth o The defining characteristics of a culture of change & growth o “Letting go” of what doesn’t work and/or isn’t appropriate (i.e. “If it’s DOA, bury it.”) o The major “reinvention killers” o Determining the WTGBRFDT (“What’s the good business reason for doing this?” o Selecting the appropriate destination (i.e. ultimate objective) o Becoming an intense, focused, purposeful listener
I also appreciate Jennings’ provision of an end-of-chapter “Action Plan” section that highlights key points and suggests specific action steps. For example, a plan to get and then keep everyone “on the same page” (Chapter 6); a plan to become and remain “forever frugal,” especially if resources are abundant (Chapter 7); a plan to systematize everything in order to correctly evaluate all options such conflicting perspectives, rightsizing rather than expanding or downsizing, answer questions, solve problems, prioritize opportunities (Chapter 8). No action plan to avoid procrastination (as opposed to prudent caution) is provided at the conclusion of Chapter 9. My guess (only a guess) with regard to Jennings’ reason for this is that he assumes that the reader, having reached this final chapter, should be able to formulate such a plan.
Having read all of Jennings’ previously published books, I conclude with three brief observations. First, in all of those books as in this one, they examine organizational transformation achieved by leaders (including but not limited to those at the C-level) who embrace and execute constant change and reinvention. Also, I think this is his most important, indeed most valuable book…thus far. Why? Because I think the information, insights, and wisdom he provides will have wider and deeper impact than any provided earlier.
Finally, I think Jason Jennings serves as a role model for the qualities of great leader that he envisions. His own thinking has obviously proceeded through a “crucible” of constant change and reinvention. As in the past, he generously shares what he has learned and we who read this book are his grateful beneficiaries.
Editor's note: This review was written by Robert Morris and has been published with his permission.Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.