B.I. Book Club

In hindsight, reading the book “Confronting Reality” while on vacation may not have been such a great idea. The title, of course, seemed incredibly relevant, especially when the flap promised to show me “how to connect the big picture of the new era of business with the nitty-gritty of what to do about it.” But the ... ahem ... reality of the book thrust me right off the beach and back into work mode thinking.
I had to continuously flip back and forth, for example, between the contents of the book and the page that listed all of its publication information to remind myself that it had been written in 2004. You see, the authors — Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan — predict many of the economic hurdles that our industry faces today, and they hit most of them right on the head.
“Everyone senses that business conditions are different from those of a few years ago,” they explain, “yet few grasp just how fundamental the changes are and how swiftly they are overtaking businesses of all kinds. The business environment has changed by an order of magnitude.”
One of the most significant takeaways for me, however simple as it might be was the how they defined the title. They write that, “to confront reality is to recognize the world as it is, not as you wish it to be, and to have the courage to do what must be done, not what you’d like to do.”
But they don’t just define it and leave it. They outline how you can analyze how to adapt and/or create a successful business model by looking at your external realities, your internal activities, your financial targets and iterating them until you produce a tested, actionable model.
They provide real-world examples of how companies and their leadership have succeeded and failed by adhering to or ignoring the process. They provide insight into the five common threads that make the efforts successful. They also teach you how to look around corners and make the right changes at the right times.
The authors say that some companies try to fend off disruptive forces of change by denouncing or ignoring them. But in this new environment, confronting reality —head-on—must be a leadership priority of the highest order.
This is a book worth reading and paying attention to. It’s serious about the new realities our economy is faced with today, and it makes a solid effort toward helping you overcome them.

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