Reinventing the Organization: A book review by Bob Morris

Reinventing the Organization: How Companies Can Deliver Radically Greater Value in Fast-Changing Markets
Arthur Yeung and Dave Ulrich
Harvard Business Review Press (September 2019)

How your organization can achieve and then sustain a decisive competitive advantage

For C-level executives in almost any organization, whatever its size and nature may be, Arthur Yeung and Dave Ulrich provide in this volume an abundance of valuable information, insights, and counsel that will prepare them to help their organization achieve four separate but interdependent objectives:

1. Deliver innovative products and services to customers
2. Create market value for investors
3. Increase employee commitment and productivity
4. Provide value also to the larger environment as a caring and generous citizen

These are among the passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Yeung and Ulrich’s scope.

o The Supercell Organization (Pages 5-8)
o Moving Toward a New Organizational Model (11-13)
o A Six-Part Framework for Reinventing the Organization (13-17)
o The Impact of the Environment on the Future of Work (30-40)
o Strategy Is about Choice (42-49)

o Effectively Use Different Options to Exercise a Growth Pathway: Buy, Build, or Borrow (54-58)
o Table 3-4: Principles and practices of strategic agility of Alibaba (60-61)
o The Organization as a Set of Ecosystem Capabilities (71-75)
o How to Define, Assess, and Implement Critical Ecosystem Capabilities (78-88)
o A Primer on Market-to-Market Organizational Design Logic and Language (95-98)

o How to Manage the Market-Oriented Ecosystem Platform (102-106)
o How to Manage the Market-Oriented Ecosystem Business Teams or Cells (106-110)
o Three Archetypes of Market-Oriented Ecosystems (114-125)
o How to Define the Right Culture (140-1450
o Managerial Implications (148-153)

o How Positive Conversations Create Accountability (156-158)
o Concrete Examples of Idea Generation from Several Firms (170-179)
o Competence, Commitment, and Contribution (189-191)
o Styles of Market-Oriented Ecosystem Leadership (244-252)
o Serious Questions to Ask Yourself and Your Team When You Embark on Reinvention (261-265)

Yeung and Ulrich make brilliant use of several reader-friendly devices, notably “Managerial Implications” of major dimensions of reinvention that include collaboration, culture, environment, idea generation, information sharing, performance accountability, strategic ability, structural design, and talent. Also, several dozen “Figures” and “Tables” that consolidate important data clusters. I also appreciate the extensively annotated foot notes (Pages 281-299).  These and other devices will facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of key material later.

No brief commentary such as mine could possibly do full justice to the scope and depth of Arthur Yeung and Dave Ulrich’s brilliant explanation of how companies can deliver radically greater value in fast-changing markets. However, I hope I have at least indicated why I think so highly of their work.

Also, I presume to add two points if my own. First, there are no value creation or enterprise reinvention  issues. Rather, ultimately, there are only business issues. Also, it is very important to think in terms of enterprise architecture as your organization’s primary strategy when reinventing how to accelerate personal growth and professional development.



Posted in

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.