In his debut, business psychologist Chitta says that change can be a competitive advantage for the nimble-minded.
This nonfiction book focuses on helping people and organizations harness the power of change. The author says that we all live in a “VUCA” world, in which “volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity” are part of global transformation. How do leaders navigate such an environment? Chitta sums it up with one word: agility. Businesses that go from “fragile to agile,” he says, can seize growth opportunities that often come with market upheaval. However, his model is more robust than conventional change management; instead of simply minimizing disruption, Chitta suggests removing fragility by building an organization’s capacity for change. His holistic, purpose-driven approach taps four dimensions of human performance: behavioral, rational, emotional and spiritual. Its goal is to foster a culture that prizes curiosity, experimentation and active learning. He underscores the importance of change with brief case studies, many featuring high-profile corporations: The evolution of Netflix from a DVD-by-mail service to a streaming-media provider acutely illustrates how a change-agile mindset can mean the difference between survival and extinction; one of Netflix’s rivals, Blockbuster Entertainment, failed to adapt and went bankrupt. The case studies bring a real-world feel to a book that’s otherwise heavy with abstract ideas. The prose is stiff and verbose (“Our experience suggests that many more employees are naturally open to being agents of change than are change resisters if they are treated with the respect they deserve”), but the book’s explanatory diagrams make the concepts easier to grasp. Indeed, the book contains many stimulating, forward-thinking ideas, which can be overwhelming at times. Fortunately, the sections are methodically organized, smoothly transitioning from theory to practical tips. Chitta also makes it a point to include examples from emerging markets, such as China, Singapore and the Middle East, which are expected to be major contributors to future global economic growth; there, change agility may yield its greatest rewards. To thrive in these dynamic, risk-laden markets, Chitta, says, mastering change isn’t merely a virtue—it’s a necessity.
A mind-stretching book for business leaders who are tired of being victims of uncertainty.