If you want a practical, down to earth view on dealing with transformational challenges, you owe it to yourself and your clients / company to read this book. Adam Hartung’s “phoenix principle” concept crystallizes what companies and teams can do to make transformations happen. For a quick insight into the thinking, check out his blog at www.thephoenixprinciple.com.
Adam does a great job framing business transformation or changes within several actionable constructs like: success formulas, defend and extend management, and white space. These concepts are unique in my opinion as most other business transformation or change management books stay in the academic theory space. While the academics books fly at 100,000 feet, Adam’s contributions take you down below 50,000 feet. It gives you constructs to frame your own transformations.
- Success Formulas – What business patterns has your company or client developed to turn a profit? Do they work still? Are they cost challenged? Are they threatened by new market entrants with a technology disruption? What is your next success formula?
- Defend & Extend Management – This was my favorite concept. You know this one. You live it everyday. I’ll bet you have a manager or executive who is very happy with the current environment and may even be content. As content increases, appetite to change decreases because change represents a risk to their content. When this happens, you end up with a defend and extend management approach, where companies look to minimize risk to their current content in deference to growth. As opposed to conquering new challenges, individuals and teams (even companies) look to defend or preserve what they have today, in spite of it (it = sales, revenue, profit, etc.) declining on a periodic basis.
- White space – Where is your company innovating with permission to attack the sacred cows? As a related tangent to this discussion, check out my previous post regarding my concept of Sacred Cow Driven Change. For those companies that have a dependency on a stream of sales / revenue / profit, find the white space in your business, or area where you have no risk to the current stream of sales / revenue / profit and innovate, take risk, roll with the punches, try new ideas.
For the technologists out there, I suggest this book is to business transformation as the book Design Patterns by the Gang of Four was to object oriented software. This is a work that you can refer to for patterns to model your transformations from.
After finishing the book , you will still be left with the question of how to apply the concepts to your own scope of responsibility, just like most other concepts on business transformation. The magic with transformation is in the “how” not necessarily the “what”, although this contribution by Adam does a great job with framing the what.