Summary of Lead and Disrupt

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Lead and Disrupt book summary
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Rating 

8 Overall

9 Applicability

8 Innovation

8 Style

Recommendation

Stanford professor Charles A. O’Reilly III and Harvard professor Michael L. Tushman convincingly argue that the traditional or established “exploit” business model and a new “explore” business model require different kinds of management. Further, they teach, “ambidextrous leaders” should be able to support both facets of a company at the same time. They offer detailed practical examples from the corporate world, informative war stories from Amazon, IBM, and others to illustrate and underline their theoretical points. O’Reilly and Tushman provide a template for how to survive in a fast-changing business sector. They touch on companies like Blockbuster and Kodak, which are now synonymous with failure to react to disruptive change. If your company might be at risk of joining that list or wants to get out in front with exploratory innovation, getAbstract recommends taking the professors’ class.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why mature businesses often don’t adjust to new technologies and markets;
  • What successful companies demonstrate about being the cause of disruptive change, not its victim; and
  • Why companies need “ambidextrous leaders” who can manage both “exploiting” established businesses and “exploring” new ventures for the good of the overall firm.  
 

About the Authors

Charles A. O’Reilly III is the Frank E. Buck Professor of Management at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Michael L. Tushman is the Paul R. Lawrence MBA Class of 1942 Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.

 

Summary

Faster Change and Quicker Failure

Change is getting faster in the business world. Starting in 1935, a company might stay on the S&P 500 for 90 years, but in 2016 the stock market index replaced – on average – one company every two weeks, so the trend toward replacement is accelerating. Business leaders of previous generations had the luxury of time. They could respond incrementally to changing markets and technology. Today, leaders who are lauded as market giants in year one can be in serious trouble by year five or sooner.

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