The Road to Reinvention: A book review by Bob Morris

Road to ReinventionThe Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation
Josh Linkner
Jossey-Bass/A Wiley Brand (2014)

If you don’t constantly challenge your status quo, you can be certain that someone else will.

In a previous book, Disciplined Dreaming, Josh Linkner offered “a proven system to drive breakthrough creativity,” one that requires highly-developed mental and emotional discipline. He introduces a methodology, a five-step process, that he calls “Disciplined Dreaming.” He interviewed more than 200 people whose creativity has driven their success. What he learned is shared in that book. For example:

o Define a “creativity challenge” (e.g. answering an important question, solving a serious problem or taking full advantage of a major opportunity)
o Prepare (mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and environmentally) for the process by which to create or reveal a correct answer or effective solution
o Discover various “avenues” by which to reach that answer or solution
o Ignite forces (i.e. “juices”) with various techniques to generate an abundance of creative ideas
o Launch the process by which to realize (literally, to make a reality of) each of the best ideas within a framework provided in Chapter Ten.

What we have in his latest book, The Road to Reinvention, is a wealth of information, insights, and counsel about how reinvention can help individuals as well as organizations to “drive disruption and accelerate transformation.” That is, take what “disciplined dreaming” creates to the next stage: actualization. It is imperative to understand that reinvention is a never-ending process, not an ultimate destination. Linkner’s primary objective is to help as many people as possible to master the skills needed when embarked on that challenging, sometimes perilous process.

The tools needed for transformation include these:

o Rapid Reinvention: Identify and eliminate whatever blocks or delays progress  (Pages 25-26)
o What If…: Free the imagination so that it can pose possibilities, options, alternatives, etc. (48)
o Make what you now offer obsolete: Replace whatever it is with whatever is much better (69-72)
o Fire the Cannon: Select internal and external targets to attack (91)
o Creating Excellence, Step by Step: Remember, improvement is an on-going process (108-109
o Becoming a Firebrand: Market as if your “life” depended on it…because it does (129-130)
o Hot Seat: Linkner offers brilliant advice on how to obtain direct, BS-free feedback (149-150)
o Disrupting a New Customer Segment: How to prepare to compete in a new market (169-170)
o Six Habits for Reinvention: To be developed by everyone involved (193-194)
o More, Less, Stop: More of what? Less of what? and What to stop thinking and doing? (222)

In Leading Change, James O’Toole suggests that the strongest resistance to change tends to be the result of what he so aptly characterizes as “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom.” When challenging the status quo, never underestimate the determination of those who created it and now defend it. Those who read this book will be much better prepared to avoid or overcome cultural resistance. That said, whatever status quo they then establish can best be sustained only if they are committed to on-going reinvention of what they do and how they do it. As Richard Hawkins correctly reminds us, “Yesterday’s dangerous idea is today’s orthodoxy and tomorrow’s cliché.”

Josh Linkner is a five star, world-class pragmatist with an imagination on steroids who is driven to understand what works, what doesn’t, and why, then share what he has learned with as many people as he can. In my opinion, this is his best work…thus far. I am eager to see where his insatiable curiosity and disciplined dreaming take him next. Meanwhile, I highly recommend his blog at which you can sign up for a free subscription to his weekly E-letter.

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