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Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and Compelling, 1 Oct. 2008
This review is from: The Momentum Effect: The Secrets of Efficient Growth: How to Ignite Exceptional Growth (Financial Times Series) (Paperback)
This book is about how to create profitable growth and sustain that growth indefinitely. Achieving this state of indefinite profitable growth is called momentum. Momentum results from an intense customer focus that permeates the enterprise. Notions relating to customers - insights, value, equity, offering, satisfaction, retention, and engagement -- are given qualifying labels, explicit momentum oriented definitions, and represented as modules of a system of an iterative synergistic process. This process develops traction with customers and removes resistance to growth while focusing all the sources of energy of the firm on building and keeping the momentum going. This is a complete framework for what the title of the book claims - how to ignite exceptional growth. Each stage of the process is described along with related case studies that provide evidence of the effectiveness of the process.

Applying this momentum framework as an interpretive lens to businesses reveals compelling insights. One insight is that a business with a disciplined approach to providing compelling customer value and creating vibrant customer satisfaction actually does this at a lower cost than a business not so oriented. And, of course, the kicker is the phenomenal profitable growth and value that accrues to the firm practicing the principles of momentum. Another insight is the cumulative results that come about with such a tight-knit discipline. Over time, even small advantages in cost or growth factors in the business result in tremendous leads over competitors - like the miracle of compound interest - putting a firm into a whole new arena, i.e. leaving competitors trailing in their wake.

What is particularly good about this book is the thoroughness with which a very complex subject has been addressed. Each essential idea, such as `compelling equity' or `power offering,' is explicitly defined to bring home what it means specifically to this process. Frameworks and constructs explain how to pragmatically address the essential idea in each module of the overall process. For example, there is an Insight Discovery Matrix for flushing out Compelling Insights. There is the Customer Value Map and Wedge to define what the customer perceives as value. The frameworks bring effective guidance to what are otherwise too often unstructured activities. One particularly powerful framework is the Action Roadmap to Momentum that guides the mobilization of stakeholders, detects friction and insights, and converts customers. Disciplined use of this framework, even by the most successful firms, will prevent management from falling into the traps of hubris or complacency. Essential to effective management, possible performance metrics related to each of the essential ideas are provided as well.

What I think makes the momentum approach particularly effective is that the inherently messy process of exploration is given the structure needed to manage it but, at the same time, not destroy the messiness that is essential for creativity to thrive. A vital element of exploration is the technique of iteration. The power and value of iteration is often unrecognized and untapped by impatient management. Here it is a central theme to the whole approach.

An important contribution to the discussion of business models is noting the design and execution of the firm's offering as a business model in and of itself. Larréché identifies three renditions of an offering creation business model as it has evolved over time. First is the product-focused model: develop the product, make the product, and sell the product. Next is the value-delivery model: select the value proposition, create the value, and communicate the value. These first two models are linear models. The third model, the momentum model is an iterative, interactive, and integrative model that brings the design and execution of offerings into one symbiotic relationship.

The employee momentum, the internal momentum that complements the external momentum, is addressed with the same model and principles as the one that addresses the customer. The leadership to build momentum and create synergy between customer momentum and employee momentum is also addressed. Both the employee momentum and momentum leadership are part of the overall momentum puzzle to be solved.

A lot is packed into this book. It may require some study to capture its full value. It is a valuable contribution to the art and science of management.
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