Despite their espoused commitment to putting the customer first, most traditional companies operate quite differently: they tend to be competition centric. They pay a huge amount of attention to financial results, especially earnings per share, and dance to the quarter-by- quarter short-term rhythm set by the capital market.
Most traditional companies spend enormous amounts of money and effort in recruiting, developing, and retaining talent, and yet still encounter huge difficulty in finding the right people and deploying them in the right jobs. Take recruiting for example, where many companies lack specific standards, and even if there are standards, they will easily give way to the pressing business urgency.
In most companies founded pre-digital, data is scattered and fragmented within different silos, layers, and business units producing significant latency of weeks and months. People seeking a full picture of what is really happening in any day-to-day operation must spend intensive efforts involving many people, and suffer long wait times, in order to dig beneath the results on the surface.
Most companies began before Amazon built their success on one brilliant innovation they made a long time ago. After that super-lucky and destiny-defining moment, many shied away from ground-breaking inventions, and seemed complacent with minor improvements afterwards, here and there, year after year, and sometimes limited to only the packaging.
Another systematic flaw with legacy management systems: decision- making happens at what feels like a glacial pace, with a “one-size-fits-all” approach applied to almost all matters requiring a yes or no. All kinds of frustrations litter a typically lengthy approval process composed of numerous executives and committees and decision are further stalled by all kinds of politics, backstabbing, gaming-the-system, and the routine charades of maximizing requests on resources, and minimizing commitments on results. All of us are probably familiar with this from our own experiences.
As they get bigger, most legacy companies find they have long lost the initial speed, agility, and vitality commonly found in start-ups. They have become rigid, slow, and risk-averse; complacency and bureaucracy have crept in. Some could sustain for a while, some would gradually fall into oblivion or irrelevance, some would become the prey for aggressive acquirers, and only a few could continuously refresh themselves.
“As a result of a highly successful advisory and consulting career, Ram Charan has studied innumerable companies and their management systems. The Amazon Management System challenges readers and their organizations to understand and then implement the management system that shortly will be demanded by their customers.” – Larry Bossidy, former CEO of Honeywell and coauthor of Execution, which spent more than 150 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.
“Amazon is secretive, but it is not a black box. The management secrets of this supremely successful company are here, revealed by Ram Charan and Julia Yang. You can’t afford not to read this fascinating book.” – Geoff Colvin, bestselling author and Senior Editor-at-Large, Fortune
“Ram does it again. He distills the maximum brilliance from a very complex company into the minimum number of pages, leaving the reader smarter and better prepared.” – Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., President & CEO, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
“Most of us watch in awe as Amazon dominates the competition with nonstop rapid-fire disruption. But they are no outlier. Anyone can replicate their success by learning Amazon’s management system as revealed in this short but powerful book.” – Charlene Li, bestselling author of The Disruption Mindset and Senior Fellow at Altimeter, a Prophet company
“Amazon’s incredible success is a premier case study of organization reinvention. Ram and Julia discover and define six building blocks of Amazon’s success that can be adapted to any organization. Their easy to read ideas and simple to do actions template are the playbook for anyone wanting to create a more effective organization.” – Dave Ulrich, Rensis Likert Professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan coauthor of Reinventing the Organization
“No company should try to be like Amazon. But every company can learn from Amazon. Ram Charan and Julia Yang reveal how you can adapt elements from Amazon into your own 21st-century management system to become stronger, smarter, faster, and more successful.” – Thomas A. Stewart, Executive Director, National Center for the Middle Market and co-author of Woo, Wow, and Win:
Service Design, Strategy, and the Art of Customer Delight
“As I was reading this short, to-the-point book, I paused and reflected about our own management system and determined what I needed to change. Whether it’s data, machine learning; cash flow, hiring or customer obsession, Amazon is the leader to learn from and this book is the guide.” – Michael J. Graff, Chairman, CEO and President, American Air Liquide
“[Ram] has the rare ability to distill meaningful from meaningless and transfer it in a quiet, effective way without destroying confidences.” -Jack Welch, former Chairman of GE
“[Ram is my] secret weapon.” -Ivan Seidenberg, former CEO of Verizon
“[Ram]’s like your conscience,” -John Reed, former CEO of Citicorp
“The most influential consultant alive.” -Fortune Magazine
Ram Charan’s 27 books have sold over three million copies and include the New York Times bestseller Execution. He is a world-renowned advisor to CEOs, business unit managers, and boards of directors who value his practical solutions to complex business problems. Dr. Charan earned MBA and doctorate degrees from Harvard Business School, where he graduated with high distinction and taught as a faculty member. A noted expert and award-winning teacher of business strategy, execution, building a high-performance organization, 21st century leadership, corporate boards and succession, he has worked with leaders of some of the world’s most successful companies, including Bank of America, Verizon, Coca-Cola, 3M, GE, Merck, Amgen, Novartis, Aditya Birla Group, and Tata Group.
Julia Yang is a trusted advisor to entrepreneurs, founders, CEOs and executives. She was previously a consultant at McKinsey and a private equity investor at Bain Capital and earned her MBA from Harvard Business School. She serves on the faculty of the joint MIT-Tsinghua MBA program.