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Michael Hammer, author of Reengineering the Corporation, the defining business book of the 1990s, has uncovered the secrets of today’s best companies. He has worked long and hard to identify how these companies consistently out-execute their competitors, and he reveals what he has learned in The Agenda.
This breakthrough book spells out an action plan for business people in the twenty-first century. Some of Hammer's recommendations include:
•Make life easy for your customers. Your customers’ biggest gripe is not that your products are bad, but that it is too tough to order, receive, and pay for them. In short, you need to take a hard look at how you operate from your customers’ point of view and redesign how you work to save them time, money, and frustration. In other words, run your business for their convenience, not yours.
• Become a process fanatic. Peemingly mild and unassuming, process is a revolutionary way of thinking about work in customer terms. It blows away overhead and cost, confusion and delay. It is the discipline that makes outstanding performance a matter of design rather than luck. Process is the way to make both customers and shareholders happy and to keep them that way on a sustained basis.
• Measure like you mean it. Most business measurements are worthless. They tell you what happened in the past (sort of), but offer few if any clues about how to make things better in the future. To come up with useful measurements, you need to create a model of your business that ties overall goals to the things you actually control. You need to measure these (and only these) things carefully and base your actions on what you learn. Measure to improve, not just to measure.
• Don’t just talk teamwork, live it. You expect teamwork and cooperation from the front lines, and you need to demand the same from yourself and your colleagues. The days of the proudly independent business manager running a sharply defined unit are over.
• Link companies together through the Internet. Break down the walls that separate you from other companies, walls that create huge amounts of inefficiency and overhead. Change your distribution channel from a series of resellers into a community that works together to serve the final customer. Redesign your operations in tandem with those of your suppliers and customers. Stop seeing yourself as a self-contained unit that creates a product on its own, and get used to the idea of virtually integrating with others.
Hammer backs up his recommendations with solid examples of what worked, and what hasn't, in the "real world" of business.
The Agenda is an invaluable book for today's business students, who are tomorrow's business leaders.
“A recipe for winning in today’s fast-moving, hypercompetitive world.” —Dave Pottruck, president and co-CEO, The Charles Schwab Corporation
“I’ve long admired Michael Hammer’s insights into what’s wrong with businesses and his prescription for improvement. Dr. Hammer is absolutely on the mark about how growth has to be created, not just harvested, and that makes management among the most difficult, risky, and precarious of human endeavors. Today with dot-coms turning to dot-bombs and even long-established businesses being upset by upstarts, The Agenda provides a series of valuable lessons for anyone seeking success in the consumer-dominated economy. Read this book—and hope your competitors do not.” —Joseph Nacchio, chairman and CEO, Qwest Communications