About The Authors


Sumantra Ghoshal holds the Robert.P.Bauman chair in Strategic Leadership at the London Business School and is the co-author of “Managing Across Borders: The Transnational Solution”.

Gita Piramal is the author of Best – selling books: “Business Maharajas” and “Business Legends”.

Christopher.A.Bartlett is a Daewoo Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School.

Though Bartlett has not directly contributed to the contents of the books, however Ghoshal felt that whatever he has conceived to be the contents of the books, it has come from mixed understanding of Bartlett’s and Ghoshal. Therefore, Ghoshal and Piramal added Bartlett’s name as a co-author of the book

General Overview:

This book again comes as a clincher from the master: Sumantra Ghoshal. This is a very comprehensively written book with lucid words and is laced with real life examples from Indian companies like Reliance, Infosys, Wipro, HLL, etc. and exemplary countries around the world like GE, 3M, and ABB etc. However the relevancy of this book increases as it is written in the Indian context. This book primarily deals with a disease, which has gripped almost all the Indian corporate managers & managers around the world. This disease which authors term as “Satisfactory Underperformance”, is a state in which Managers, though they achieve profits, forego their competitive edge which has brought them into this profit seeking position, due to complacency or a false belief that as they are successful, they are doing the right thing for the organization, whatever may be they are doing. Also, organizations, which are, not doing well, get contended with the status quo and believe that they are doing nothing wrong, and will supply innumerable examples to support it!

Authors put this book as not a ‘self help’ or ‘how to…’ book that you come across on airports, but it is about teaching of managers by managers!

This is not supposed be a chef competition! What authors are implying here is that to change. hiring new people. building competencies etc… . learning to cook “Sweet” (at which GE is a master!) is what managers like to do. Even successful companies can improve radically… Chapter 2 “Learning to cook Sweet and Sour” Radical improvement can be achieved by learning to cook “Sweet” and “Sour”. authors actually lay the foundation of the book. The authors introduce the concept of “Satisfactory Underperformance (SUP)” by taking the example of a real company and fictitiously they call it “semco”. Authors then provide a little solace when they say that radical performance improvement is possible! They say that not having a charismatic leader. PART 1: THE CHALLENGE OF RADICAL PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT Chapter 1 “Radical performance improvement is possible. a company must learn to take hard stands (cooking “Sour”) such as restructuring of organization and cutting down on size (exactly what Bharat oxygen company did and succeeded!). industries unattractiveness does not become a bar into achieving a radical change. Let’s take a brief look at each chapter. which is a journey of a company from being successful to falling into crisis. Also.Chapter-Wise Summary: This Book is divided into 4 parts and 14 chapters. Through this example they define SUP as seven-step process. which is growth and expansion.” In this chapter. shrinking of industry.

By taking a example of Bajaj Auto Ltd. exploration and commitment: four phases of transformation to achieve radical performance… PART 2: SHAPING AND MANAGING THE FUTURE Chapter 4 “The Three stages of Competition” This chapter starts of with the famous incident of reliance petrochemicals becoming no. authors provide a example where a Indian company was able to learn both of the arts. But it was the leadership of Vijay Jindal and Subash Chandra that helped company celebrate success through its market capitalization in 1998 hitting 390000 Crore. The competition for markets is explained through the reliance’s example of snatching the market away from his competitors. it emerged as a winner in the market! In the end. virtuous and vicious spiral of growth is explained.1 Crores! It s the leader that authors believe that sees the company through the denial. Indian companies will need to think about strategy and competition at three different levels. or the leader who is leading who is leading the company into the transition is not efficient. Chapter 3 “Into the valley of death” According to authors. . competition for competencies and competition for dreams. resistance. That is. And lastly. after huge lay-offs. the dream concept is elucidated. expansions. Authors talk about three different competitions namely competition for markets. Competencies are again explained by the analysis of reliance’s financial engine. company may cease to exist! Citing an example of Subash Chandra’s Zee Telefilms. of key people who left the organization during the transformation which the company went through in the 1990’s. the journey of a company towards transformation passes through valley of death.. restructuring. authors discuss the no. with a net profit of 61. and due to implementation of which. if transformational change not managed properly. from the journey of reliance to fame. 1 by taking over from IPCL to emphasize the fact that to become competitive.

Infosys. is the crux of this chapter. Authors have provided a useful “blueprint for managing acquisitions” with guidelines about how to move in the pre – merger scenario and how to react post – merger. its organizing principles and its people processes”. They go on to add that correct nature of the external environment depends not only on the nature of synergies within the portfolio. Through example of TI cycles. People’s processes are concerned about HR strategies of companies with example of reliance. but also on the nature of the company itself and on the quality of its management. The organizing principle takes the example of HDFC bank. shared beliefs and leadership values is implemented successfully. reliance and Bajaj auto Ltd. Initiative and Leadership vs. where integration at different levels like people. Electrolux focused on “value capture” and Laxmi Niwas Mittal’s Ispat Group’s successful tryst with acquiring “Imexsa”. Culture. CEO. . which chose rightly among the three choices: Autonomy vs. Synergy. companies need to create alignment among three key elements: value creation logic. how all the three principles should be employed is explained… Chapter 6 “Managing acquisitive expansion” The chapter lays emphasis on growth through expansion of business through acquisitions. management processes. How Leif Johansson.Chapter 5 “Aligning for Growth” According to authors “For managing sustainable growth.. The value creation logic is explained through innovative model of 3M and Rohinton Aga’s “Thermax”. Infosys and HLL. Control vs. Chapter 7 “Diversification and Diversifact” Diversification is achieved through enhancing of management capability. feel the authors. This theory is supported by citing the case of “managing Diversity at WIPRO”.

it’s a life time process”. confidence. collaboration. they can groom managers for tomorrow and company need not hire mangers laterally. Chapter 10 “The Company as a university” “Learning never ends. The authors believe that by creating a learning culture in the organization and prompting managers and employee to further their scope of knowledge.Parekh. While the environment of most Indian companies is compared to weather of downtown Calcutta during July (against productivity). as the authors recommend! Example of HDFC is given in this chapter. The author cites examples of Infosys. as the authors call it. which has a campus in electronic city for managers and also.T. it should be changed to Fontainebleau weather in spring (conducive to high productivity). . authors present a view that other Indian companies can overcome the “liability of being Indian” and become a truly global company and at the same time build new competencies and prepare for the future… PART 3: REVITALIZING PEOPLE. which is quite relevant here as H. TCS and Infosys. exactly incorporated what authors wanted to convey. Yashua Maruta of Kao Corporation and GE’s Jack Welch who successfully implemented this philosophy. Revitalizing people. ORGANIZATION AND RELATIONSHIPS Chapter 9 “Changing the smell of the place” This chapter is all about changing the perception of the people towards their work & work environment in order to increase their and organizations productivity. This adage is the basis of this chapter.Chapter 8 “Going Global” This chapter addresses the issue of Indian companies becoming global and the possible hurdles in achieving it. By taking the case of Ranbaxy. the chairman of the company. initiative and persistence. commitment. involves changes in mindsets along with inculcating qualities like learning.

such as suppliers and customers etc. Authors believe that if one makes a Shared Destiny relationship with the customer. and Kajaria’s Hastings Jute Mills! . General Motors practiced) and Shared Destiny relationship (which Kajaria brother’s Hastings Jute Mills employed). What happened in ABB and various programs started by Shiv Nadar’s HCL. Today. So. authors synchronize with views of Jack Welch that a large organization should behave like a small company. which cultivated entrepreneurs which helped HCL grow real fast are given as examples here. Decentralization and division of decision-making power is the key today. are the changing roles of manager is the organizations these days. Companies believe in adding value to their employees and the role of a manager at the top level position is not only a strategist but a coach and a faculty also. Authors believe that if you groom entrepreneurs within the organization.Chapter 11 “Building an entrepreneurial organization” To move swiftly. a mentor or a coach. if it wants to grow and prosper. Chairman. suppliers and the distributors. a facilitator. it would help both: the organization and the employees. Chapter 13 “Building shared destiny relationships” The authors in this chapter have presented a classification of relationships that a company might develop with other key partners.: Power – based relationship (which Jose Ignacio Lopez. The entrepreneurship process given in this chapter helps in comprehending dynamics of the point being made! Chapter 12 “New management roles and tasks” A manager as faculties. example of ABB is given to make this point more comprehensive. it can progress & succeed just like Brij Mohan Munjal’s Hero Honda.

authors believe that Indian manager should think beyond Strategy.T. Azim Premji is their original ideas. Structure and Systems (Western Model) to Purpose. Authors believe that the reason behind success of managers like Narayna Murthy and H. authors offer advice for leaders across Indian corporate world: “throw out the old paradigm of management and jump to new one!” While concluding. Leader must not imitate other successful leaders and devise his own formula of success… .Parekh.PART 4: TRANSFORMING THE CORPORATE PHILOSOPHY Chapter 14 “A new manifesto for leadership” In the ultimate chapter of the book. Process and People (Indian Model). as strong value system and a unique Corporate Philosophy.

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