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Plan D

By Mike Maddock

*A Book Review*

by Michael C. Gray

© 2024 by Michael C. Gray

Our economy depends on Disruptors, leaders who make existing ways of doing things obsolete, and often create new industries, while destroying or re-creating others. "At the heart of capitalism is creative destruction." - Joseph A. Schumpeter.

In the late 1990s, Apple rebranded itself with a "Think Different" advertisement, which began "Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits, The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in square holes. The ones who see things differently." It ended with "Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are those who do."

In Plan D, author Mike Maddock profiles disruptors and the creative process in organizations

There are two types of creativity. One is to improve something that already exists. The second is to replace something that exists by solving a problem. Disruptors are great at understanding customer frustrations and problems, and then solving them.

Nearly every business should plan on being transformed within five years. We're seeing this now with the challenge of emerging artificial intelligence applications. Since 2000, 52% of the companies in the Fortune 500 have either gone bankrupt, been acquired, or have ceased to exist. Yale professor Richard Foster projected that in four years, 75% of the companies on the Fortune 500 list will be companies nobody knows about now.

According to Maddock, organizations need teams of two types of leaders: Idea Monkeys and Ringleaders. Idea Monkeys are the creative types for generating ideas, which is rather free-form. Ringleaders are the management types, who plan and execute with precision. When companies become big enough to have publicly-traded stock, the shareholders and board of directors tend to insist on having a ringleader in charge, which can crush innovation.

The classic example is Walt and Roy Disney. Walt generated ideas for projects, with little concern for the investment required. Roy was the financial and managerial person who tried to keep a leash on Walt's impulses. Roy placated the bankers and raised the money while Walt created projects. The Disney creative team analogized them to Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket.

In our time of rapid change, every organization needs a Plan D. An organization that doesn't pursue disruption will find it's replaced by one that does. Get and study a copy of Plan D to do it better.

Buy it on Amazon: Plan D: Lessons from the World's Most Successful Disruptors.

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