The Great Transition

THE GREAT TRANSITION, or something akin to it, has been underway in some companies for a decade or more. Most of the concepts in Martin’s book are not entirely new. He has, however, provided the worthy service of gathering together a large number of good management principles, along with appropriate case studies, in one comprehensive book.

In addition to TQM, or the Japanese “Kaizen,” the book gives extensive explanations of such ideas as value streams, core competencies, just-in-time, strategic visioning, corporate learning styles, enterprise engineering, and scores of other recent management buzz words. More than one hundred “basic concepts” are listed in a glossary.

Martin diagrams how these methods can combine to totally remake a company, from top to bottom. The strategies recommended are not cosmetic—they are major surgery. Their use can be painful, but the consequences of failing to be familiar with and use these ideas are even more dire, according to the examples of companies that no longer exist or plummeted in market share.

This is not another slim, easy-to-read, corporate cheerleading manual; it is more like a hefty graduate-level text. Some of the graphic illustrations take considerable time to understand. The numerous case study examples are more accessible, and they provide much of the book’s informative value. The names of the corporations in the studies, however, are not included in the index, making them difficult to relocate if readers remember an example and want to read about it again.

Managers who have been regularly attending seminars and reading business books may not need this one, but for anyone who has been out of the loop, THE GREAT TRANSITION provides a valuable update and overview.