As Professional Business Consultants and Service Providers we always find that we return to a certain resources of knowledge and are happy to recommend these two others.  Our recommended reading list has served us well in the past and we are sure it will do so in the future, we will inevitably add to this list in the future.

If you wish to purchase any of the books, just click on the image which will take you to the relevant sites.



Title:  Contemporary Strategic Analysis

Author: Robert M Grant

Publisher: Blackwell Publishing

Summary: Robert Grant’s book covers many different approaches to business strategy analysis.   The book initially concentrates on the value proposition that businesses need to consider and any strategic implications in the external environment specifically concentrating on information technology.    In this book there many thought-provoking concepts and techniques that allow all those who need to develop a strategy to clearly think through both the internal and external implications that need to be considered when developing a strategy.   First focusing on why there is a need for a strategy and then what needs to change the pages of this book allow for some serious  contemplation as the profound affect of developing a strategy that is not suitable can cause significant disruption  for any business.  In a changing world he considers new and emerging economies  and what this means in respect to competition and opportunities for profit.   He specifically  exemplifies the need for any business to fully understand the role of its resources and two ensure that there is a clear understanding of the current and required future capabilities of the business when developing a winning strategy.



Title:  Beyond The Goal

Author: Eliyahu M Goldratt

Publisher: Gildan Audio

Summary:   After his bestselling book “The Goal” in which Eliyahu Goldratt to introduced the theory of constraints, which allowed the managers to better understand what the real constraints  are prior to  making any operational changes or investing significant amounts of money in performance improvement.

This  book “Beyond The Goal” could quite easily sit under operational improvements or performance measurements  or lean however we believe it is best suited under the heading strategy, because after reading or listening to this book we are confident that it will make any strategic manager consider their current strategy.    In this book or audio book Eliyahu Goldratt takes several of the worlds most successful innovations and clearly explains how they have been successful in spite of the fact that there was very little clear understanding as to the real value all-purpose that they had to offer.  Eliyahu Goldratt simply asks what is it “the constraint” that we are all trying to solve.  Whilst he clearly articulates that many products and services have been purchased by some of the most recognised businesses in the world, without a clear understanding or definition of the problem  businesses can add more complexity to their own operations and processes that negatively impact on the business strategy.  This thought-provoking discussion highlights some of the most basic assumptions  that most  managers continue to make which ultimately affect the performance of the business.


Performance Measurements & Control Systems


Title: Performance Measurements & Control Systems for Implementing Strategy  

Author: Robert Simons

Publisher: Prentice Hall

Summary: Robert Simons  approaches the difficult  subject  of  bridging the gap  between  understanding   ” what ” needs to be done and ” how” change  needs to be enacted whilst not detrimentally  impacting the business. Whilst  the idea  of seamless change may appeal Robert Simons demonstrates the need for caution  and clearly  with the use of models  and real-life case examples shows  some of the key errors that have been made  by businesses when trying to implement a strategic change  within a  business.  The emphasis  of ensuring  that the right people are held accountable  for implementing and measuring  how successful change  is enacted within the business  is apparent.  He ensures that the accountable managers  have considered what  the purpose  is of gathering information and data  prior to  trying to build any measurement system.    There is clear guidance as to the different types of performance  management information systems  and their relevance for the manager,  this includes  clear decision-making ,  early warning systems  and necessary evaluations.   fundamentally  this book will enable managers to  decide what, why, how, when, who  needs to be involved in building  the right type of performance measurement and control system .


Title: Cost & Affect

Author: Robert S Kaplan &  Robin Cooper  

Publisher: Harvard Business School Press

Summary:   this book uses real life case study examples of some of the world’s most well-known companies such as Siemens , Hewlett-Packard, AT & T,and Procter & Gamble to demonstrate how important it is that managers our focus on the right numbers when trying to determine where and what needs to be improved to have positive gains inefficiency and productivity.   all managers at some point in their  careers will have to negotiate or convince others to take a particular course of action. this book will also Look beyond the realms of the financial value  to include those tangibles that accountants may not recognise such as quality, service and relationship building.  the book also considers fundamental difference between price and cost using real case examples to show are more for less can actually mean more expense in the long run.   As you would expect with any book that focuses on the real value of the business it’s also allows managers to consider each operation and question whether each step within their process is actually adding value or just  costs, using activity based costing, performance improvements and lean methodology to highlight the differences between activity based costing (ABC) and activity based management (ABM); inevitably this should assist managers in ensuring that they are able to appreciate the benefits to different systems to enable them to control costs and improve performance within their areas of accountability.


Title: Performance Drivers: A Practical Guide to Using the Balanced Scorecard

Author: Nils-Göran Olve, Jan Roy and Magnus Wetter

Publisher: Wiley 

Summary: The Balanced Scorecard has certainly seen its fair share of press as managers have learnt that measuring the wrong things or the right things the wrong way can have negative effects on the business.  Thanks to Robert S Kaplan and David P Norton and their initial concept of the Balanced Scorecard, Nils-Göran Olve, Jan Roy and Magnus Wetter have developed this step by step guide to implementing this method of managing performance drivers that can be communicated throughout the organisation.  The book drawn on case studies from different industries such as ABB, Coca Cola, Electrolux, British Telecom, Nat West Bank, Skandia and Volvo.  The book describes in detail some of the most important issues an pit falls that could occur in the design and development of the Balance Scorecard System.  Fundamentally this book will assist Managers who are accountable for understanding the “WHAT” (strategy) and developing the “HOW”, whilst being able to communicate the performance drivers and their controls at all levels.

There is also a healthy discussion comparing the Balanced Scorecard with other systems like TQM (Total Quality Management), BPM (Business Process Management) and similar systems and how the Balanced Scorecard can be used to replace or complement and existing system.  As with any systems that has multiple stakeholders where one accountability finishes and another starts is given due consideration and to the cause and effect relationships of performance measurement systems.


Organisation Design and Development


Title: Requisite Organization: Total System for Effective Managerial Organization and Managerial Leadership for the 21st Century

Author: Elliott Jaques

Publisher: Gower Publishing Ltd

Summary:  Since the passing of Elliott Jaques, his work has started to become recognised as a complete system for designing and developing organisations.  Elliot justifies the need for a management accountability hierarchy (MAH), by breaking down the each role into 7 dimensions the piece by piece explains how each role can be categorised by a level of complexity.  Elliotts rules for confirming more management layers are required by distinguishing a significant difference between levels of complexity are made clear.

The book has several excellent examples grounded in research and Elliotts experience as a Psychoanalyst that clearly show the risks, issues and negative effects of having the wrong people in the wrong roles.  With roles being developed that show a clear difference in complexity, Elliott also shows the need for an organisation to manage it’s resources with a good understanding of it’s employees individual capability’s; which include Role Design and Development, Profiling and Selection, Management, Reward and Recognition and Talent Management.




Title: Organization Theory: Modern, Symbolic, and Postmodern Perspectives

Author: Mary Jo Hatch

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Summary:  Mary Jo Hatch’s Book starts her book by answering the “Why bother?” question.  Using some of the most organisational thinkers she shows how our understanding of organisations have changed significantly through the last century.  The key message in this book is don’t be tied to one perspective when considering an approach to designing, developing organisations.  Organization Theory clearly describes the impact the nature of organisations have on the success or failures to deliver on it’s strategy and goals.

Mary Jo Hatch’s book takes several key elements that effect organisations, (Social Structure, Culture, Physical Structure and Technology) and clearly shows how the importance for clearly defined relationships with the environment both internally and externally.  Given that a clear argument is made that change is continuous the book discusses several models that give managers a opportunity to reflect on the dynamics of organisational change.



Title: Organizational Behaviour

Author: Andrzej Huczynski & David Buchanan

Publisher: Prentice Hall

Summary:  Organizational Behaviour is packed with information that covers internal and external stakeholders of an organisation.  For the student, beginning manager through to the most experienced this book has plenty of theories, models, and frameworks to help the reader better understand the need to have real stakeholder management when running organisations.  The real attitudes and behaviours those of have spent anytime in industry will readily recognise are described in this book,  however the reasoning behind those emotions are explained, giving the reader opportunity to reflect and consider what they could do to better manage stakeholders in the future.

The book is broken down into sections that allow a recap of the recent chapters.  The reader is then challenged not to openly accept what they have read, but to critique or complement what the have read with their own experiences.  Additional exercises to allow the reader to confirm their understanding of the subject matter is available.

The Lean Business