A debut book precisely defines a business improvement model.
Duryea, who spent three decades as an innovation specialist and worked on over 60 enhancement projects, clearly lays out a plan for implementing a strategy for business improvement. The author is nothing if not direct; he states that the common thread in every improvement project failure is “that leadership did not implement a project that empowered the organization’s most basic goal. The most basic goal is the organization’s core business model.” He goes on to discuss this model in detail but first defines “The Law of Business Reality—Organizations serve customers in a profitable way or cease to exist.” This description is typical of Duryea’s exceedingly lucid prose, one of the assets of the book. Equally strong is the volume’s tight organization into three parts with chapters that treat discrete aspects of a business improvement model, building one upon the other. Part 1 addresses three basics: the business reality law and core model as well as “influencers” of the model. Part 2 concerns business processes, smartly divided into two sets—one comprises courses generally applied to all businesses, and the other is industry-specific. Of particular interest in Part 2 are three industry examples: professional services, financial services, and manufacturing. Processes for these industries are described in text and illustrated in a useful chart that identifies similarities and differences. Part 3 discusses how processes are enabled within businesses. Describing implementation, this last part includes a discussion of internal and external resources and their applications as well as a particularly engaging commentary on technology enablement. Here, the author makes a key point: While technology is critically important, it “is not a core business model. More specific technology cannot fix a broken core business model or replace the need for a core business model.” At the close of each chapter of this impressive book, Duryea adds another step to his business improvement model so that, by the end of the work, it comprises a complete 15-step program—a nice technique.
Succinct and skillfully written; an eye-opener for business leaders.