Book Review: Ready? The 3Rs of preparing your organisation for the future

29 Jul 2013

The 3Rs of preparing your organisation for the futureThe 3Rs of preparing your organisation for the future by Thomas W. Malnight, Tracey S. Keys and Kees van der Graaf

This is a significant new book on how leaders can balance short and long term pressures and bridge the gap in managing the imperatives of delivering results today whilst preparing your organisation for the future.

Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever provides an inspiring forward. Some of what he has to say includes the message: “Real transformational change will come from businesses, individuals, communities and institutions acting together. It’s a challenge not just for all organisations, but for each of us as leaders. The focus can and should be a real force for good. As leaders we need to promote the message – and so does the next generation of leaders. They too need to be inspired and involved in the journey.”

The 3 Rs is about prioritising the long term sustainability of organisations, systems, services and the society we live in and moving from having mission and vision statements in a brochure or on a website to being purpose-led and vision-led. It requires leaders, managers, boards who understand that they owe their their primary responsibility to the long term interest of their organisation and the society we live in.

Effective use of strategy, plans and budgets will enable leaders and managers to create an agenda that reflects the challenges of delivering today while preparing for the future. The book looks at Identifying and focusing on “sprints” – the biggest issues and activities which you spent time on today; and “marathons” – looking back to today from you strategic vision, what are the areas you must transform in your organisation? These are the marathons that create the basis for action. Then, how do you shift the focus to achieve a balanced agenda of sprints and marathons. Bridging the gap is about understanding the causes of the short term versus the long term issues for your organisation and analysing the trends that are re shaping the future.

Relationships are central to future success. Reshaping the way you interact with people both inside and outside of your organisation requires a move away from a transactional mindset of independent control to one of interdependent influence. The shift to a mindset of interdependence is a major imperative across a range of relationships, including new and different relationships you may not have considered before. An element of this is letting go of the view that your organisation is at the centre of value creation – your consumers are.

Boards are identified as needing to be very different. The authors articulate the need for boards to move to a “missionary” focus.  Rather than filling the board with directors who can read balance sheets or assess risk registers, what boards need is a group of people with a deep understanding of the business, relevant experience, and a willingness to challenge and influence the CEO and the executive.

A powerful, practical and insightful read that is guaranteed to inspire and educate. I hope that you find an opportunity to read this book.

Jean Fagan

Paperback ISBN: 978 2 9700847 3 0.
Available from (click here)