Many of us have probably experienced a strategic change-management initiative that has failed. This shouldn’t be surprising; a Harvard Business Review study found that the average failure rate for such initiatives exceeds 60%. In Ruthless Consistency, Michael Canic draws on his 20-plus years of experience as a strategy consultant to equip leaders with tools to turn strategic objectives into reality.

Each of the book’s five sections contains specific principles and strategies that senior finance professionals can apply to improve their organization’s change-management and strategic planning processes. Canic shares templates that can be used by management accounting and finance leaders to hone decision makers’ focus and cultivate a workplace environment that will boost the chances of successfully executing and managing desired changes.

In “The Reality,” Canic explains leaders must embrace three principles:

  1. What matters more than anything you do is everything you do;
  2. What you do isn’t as important as what your people experience; and
  3. You aren’t as committed as you need to be yet.

In “The Right Focus,” Canic stresses that organizations must stop stale, lackluster strategic planning and commit to implementing more vital methods of strategic management, which encompass both strategy and execution. He shares helpful templates to create a strategic management execution plan, resource matrix, measurement matrix, and master calendar. In “The Right Environment,” he explains that aligning every organizational touch point with your intentions is critical to create a good professional setting. There are alignment questionnaires for leaders and team members that will help managers determine whether an innovation-oriented environment has been created.

In “The Right Team,” Canic shares processes for recruiting the most talented individuals and selecting the best candidates. Finally, in “The Right Commitment,” he states that defeating complacency, overcoming distractions, and controlling ego are necessary to commit to greatness.

I highly recommend reading this book before embarking on your next strategic change initiative so that it will be more likely to beat the odds of failure. Achieving such success tends to garner positive attention from leadership and peers and inevitably provides a boost to your career.

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