Leap Howard Yu

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I didn’t want to skip a thought. I really appreciated the depth of the case studies as they provided me with so many examples; from different periods of time, different geographic locations and different industries in different environments. I appreciated the skill with which Mr Yu crafted his perspective, based on in-depth research, and linked it to the case studies. He created tension in some places and then released it, by detailing what today’s leaders need to do in order not to sink into obscurity. The read was challenging and inspiring.

He outlines how, “These principles both explain and predict how companies can prosper when labour, information and money move easily, cheaply and almost instantaneously.” and argues, “ The only way to prosper under these conditions over long periods is to leap.”

Leaping requires we move out of our comfort zones, it requires that we get our heads around the fact that what we will be doing in the future is going to look very different to what we are doing now, and that leaders of organisations have very specific, very active roles in driving this change. “They have to personally intervene at critical junctures, wielding the power to overcome specific barriers.” It requires leaders to do, not just think.

Mr Hu is clear that this is the way to stay ahead of copycats, to “forge ahead’ rather than ‘refining what has already been.” We must ‘leverage the seismic shifts”

There are some hard truths for the reader to swallow, including detailed accounts of where world-class businesses have tripped and fallen, eg: assuming the present health of your company will continue indefinitely, or, that what made us successful in our early days will guide us to create the capabilities we will need going forward.

He also quotes research from experts such as Professor Amar Bhide, ‘Most of the startups failed, as expected, but an overwhelming 93% of those that succeed had to abandon their original strategies because they were proven unviable. …successful startups almost always have to do something different than what they promised their investors.”

So we need to learn from failures and recognise the importance of doing something different, significantly different, from where we start (or where we are right now) is it is more than likely going to be the key to our future success

In the end, I did feel upbeat and that I can do this, I can leap! No wait, let me rephrase that; to succeed for any length of time, in a turbulent business environment, I WILL HAVE to leap. And it’s my ’role, the leadership role, to make it happen.

With thanks to Perseus Books, the author and NetGalley for my free copy to review.