By SimonCocking, review of Powered By Change (April 2018) by Jonathan MacDonald. Available to buy here.

When the winds of change blow, some build a wall and others build a windmill

In a business environment where change is the only constant, the stark reality is that it has never been harder to see what’s happening around us, interpret information efficiently or develop successful strategies. This is down to both the increasing speed of change and the prevalent mindset about change, where change is seen as the enemy. Powered by Change presents a radical new methodology for using change as a fuelling mechanism to generate outstanding business success: the Windmill Theory.

Power your business

The Windmill Theory enables leaders and organisations to think and act in a way that capitalises on a constantly changing environment. Constructed of four blades working in perpetual harmony with one another, it creates an empowered business that turns the winds of change into business success. Filled with examples and stories from around the world, from global corporates to start-up ventures, Powered by Change delivers some astonishing insights and clear, actionable steps to achieve the ultimate competitive advantage.

This book captures how many big companies were presented with interesting, innovative products, but were unable to see their potential nor visualise how the future might look different to how things had been. In this way existing business power houses have been pushed aside by newer, hungrier companies who were more in touch with people’s needs. As you might imagine this book and it’s windmill theory is offering a panacea to existing companies looking to become the latest case study in failure in these rapidly changing times. The book reads well, and there are some interesting examples, including the Holacracy story (p202) which sounds like a complete disaster for all those who integrated it into their working systems.

The book has a good foreword from IKEA’s CEO, who have managed to stay relevant to date. Though perhaps the world might also reach a point, say it quietly in many houses, that we don’t actually need the joy of building it ourselves and watching it wear out relatively quickly. The author’s experience of the music industry is one of the more interesting elements where he brings ample personal experience into the examples he discusses. Time and time again though you continue to wonder how large organisations can successfully manage change. MacDonald has an excellent client list, so they value what he has to say, but on watching Facebook’s latest struggles, and the dystopic scenarios played out in the movie ‘The Circle’ you do wonder if large organisations are perhaps the problem themselves?


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