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“Fit to Compete – Why Honest Conversations about Your Company’s Capabilities Are the Key to a Winning Strategy” – by Michael Beer – a Harvard Business Review Press Book

a HBR Press book review by

Another strategy receipt book? Not quite – the author is addressing a rather lateral topic on the hot strategy area. Organisational change towards agility and responsiveness is by far more read about than implemented. However, Michael Beer plans to change the order – by writing a book that is set to change the rules. “Fit to Compete” will transform the way the leaders should steer their businesses if they want to go for improved results.

Interestingly enough, “Fit to Compete” became extremely topical 9 months after its publication. With the dramatic economic impact of the coronavirus, the organisations are navigating uncharted waters. Almost no company operates now under normal conditions. That’s why I strongly believe that Beer’s honest conversations approach (and his other dozen recommendations) are now needed more than ever. Companies struggle to survive and mange their cash flows. This is the moment when unleashing the wild ideas and energy of your employees and collaborators looks more appropriate than ever. No leader or smart board of directors can manage such an economic reality in an conventional way. Employees need to be mobilized at their best if they are to contribute to the companies survival. And of course, the crisis offers s natural opportunity for fast and agile organisational changes…

Therefore, the moment for “Fit to Compete” is now, not later. My favorite book chapter remains “Fit to Trust – Overcoming Hierarchy”. Too many companies are still slowed down by the bureaucracy’s written or informal red tape. Why not bypassing this with an active open door policy? Even with the majority of your workforce in home office, it could be quite refreshing and engaging. Imagine having intense and often communications with your front line players, who are incredibly stressed by the customer’s demands. Imagine even rolling your sleeves and leading by example – and imagine how encouraging can such a positive attitude be perceived.

All in all, Michael Beer’s “Fit to Compete” is a very topical book, worth at least a quick read. So feel free to give this Harvard Business Review Press a go.

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