Accelerating Performance: How Organisations Can Mobilise, Execute, and Transform with Agility
“The data sets you free……People bring a lot of intellect and common sense to management, but common sense isn’t always enough.”
Price & Toye
What do Apple, MasterCard, Starbucks, Biogen and Tata have in common?
They are among an elite group of 23 companies who have bucked trends and built momentum much more quickly than their competitors. And these super accelerators can be found in every industry – not just in technology as you might expect. If you had invested in these organisations seven years ago, your return would be three times greater than the also rans.
The authors Price and Toye crunched data and looked at the stock market performance of companies in the FT Global 500 to find these organisations. After combining it with research from 3,000 teams and their own management consultant experience they created a META tool to help companies increase their own metabolic rate:
- Mobilise – Inspire aligned action based on a compelling purpose and a simple set of strategic priorities. The customer needs to be at the centre of all decision making – research among FT Global 500 companies found that the further someone is from the customer the more likely they are to have a distorted view of the company’s position. In super accelerator companies the customer is king
- Execute – Fully harness and streamline resources to consistently deliver excellence in the core business. Jack Welch of General Electric would come up with a list of top priorities, and then narrow it down to one priority and then focus on that for five years. At the end of the five years, a new list would be drawn up instead of turning to number two on the list
- Transform – Experiment and innovate to create new growth engines and to reinvent existing businesses ahead of the market. You will need to break with tradition and internal fiefdoms and not tolerate mediocrity. According to Bain Capital, always question the first names put forward to drive change initiatives – the best people will be the busiest and most protected by their managers, not the people with time on their hands
- Agility – Spot opportunities and threats; adapt and pivot at a faster pace than competitors to create competitive advantage. Walmart is trying to develop agility to keep it from being ’Amazoned’ – it has been successful in developing great supply chain capabilities and buying an online retailer to compete more effectively in the market
As well as the META approach, the book contains detailed advice about how to analyse your own organisation’s financial performance, how to make change happen and how to accelerate with agility instead of being dragged down.
They advocate that leaders are going to need four important capabilities:
- Ripple intelligence – the ability to keep abreast of multiple, interdependent changes in the world, industry, and own organisation
- Resource fluidity – the skill of being able to constantly adjust the allocation of talent, resources, and ideas to the most important challenges
- Dissolving paradox – seeing past simplistic choices and recasting difficult decisions in ways that result in “win–win” outcomes
- Liquid leadership – being able to mobilise action and share information in the quickest and most appropriate way
As the authors acknowledge, the META approach can become a contact sport – it may well require investment, internal fights and hard choices. Success at it won’t come for free, but it could have a big payoff.
About the authors
Colin Price is a management consultant partner with experience from Heidrick & Struggles, McKinseys and Price Waterhouse. Price has advised many of the world’s largest companies and is the co-author of several books including Beyond Performance. He is an associate fellow of Said Business School at Oxford University and a visiting professor at Imperial College London.
Sharon Toye founded Co Company which specialised in organisational change and leadership development and holds an MBA and MScs in organisational psychology and integrative psychotherapy. She is a qualified psychotherapist and master certified coach, working with teams to accelerate performance. She is a partner in Heidrick & Struggle’s London office and previously worked for Accenture and National Power.
“It is absolutely true that ′the soft stuff is the hard stuff′ and that most HR departments need less PowerPoint and more Excel. Accelerating Performance offers a sharp analysis of how successful companies ′crack the code′ to build a winning culture and drive sustainable growth and do it faster than their competitors.” Jim Smith, president and CEO, Thomson Reuters
“In a continually disrupted marketplace, companies live and die by their ability to accelerate their performance. The genius of this book is its rigorous analysis of the blockers to acceleration and how to remove them and its insights into the agility required to transform a business. It is eye–opening stuff.” Mark Wilson, group CEO, Aviva
“Delivering sustainable, standout performance is the holy grail for business leaders. Colin and Sharon present a compelling agenda to help leaders increase the metabolic rate in their business, thereby creating the conditions for long–term success. Boards and CEOs should take note and take action.” David Roberts, chairman, Nationwide Building Society
Author: Colin Price & Sharon Toye