Book Reviews, Business Guides

Five Good Question: Suzanne Heywood – ReOrg

Suzanne Heywood is a Managing Director of EXOR.  Suzanne grew up sailing around the world on the Schooner Wavewalker (she is currently writing another book, “Wavewalker” about this experience which included getting shipwrecked in the Indian Ocean).  After university she started her professional career in the UK Government at the Treasury and then went on to become a Senior Partner at the management consultancy firm McKinsey.  Suzanne is also a board member of CNH Industrial and The Economist and Deputy Chairman of the Royal Opera House.  She has a MA from Oxford University and PhD from Cambridge University.  Suzanne is an expert in organizational design and for many years led work on this topic for McKinsey globally.

Suzanne Heywood – ReOrg

Suzanne’s Book Recommendation:

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip Heath, Dan Heath

Audio Podcast:

Five Good Questions:

  1. What are the keys to effective communications with employees during a reorg?
  2. Walk us through what a successful reorg looks like.
  3. What’s the 20-30-50 rule of thumb?
  4. What are the biggest mistakes made during a reorg? Why do reorganisations fail?
  5. If you have to let someone go, what are some creative ways to do so in a classy and humane way?

Suzanne Heywood: ReOrg – Description

Suzanne Heywood - ReOrg

ReOrg: How to Get It Right by Suzanne Heywood

A Practical Guide in Five Steps

Most executives will lead or be a part of a reorganization effort (a reorg) at some point in their careers. And with good reason—reorgs are one of the best ways for companies to unlock latent value, especially in a changing business environment.

But everyone hates them.

No other management practice creates more anxiety and fear among employees or does more to distract them from their day-to-day jobs. As a result, reorgs can be incredibly expensive in terms of senior-management time and attention, and most of them fail on multiple dimensions. It’s no wonder companies treat a reorg as a mysterious process and outsource it to people who don’t understand the business. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Stephen Heidari-Robinson and Suzanne Heywood, former leaders in McKinsey’s Organization Practice, present a practical guide for successfully planning and implementing a reorg in five steps—demystifying and accelerating the process at the same time. Based on their twenty-five years of combined experience managing reorgs and on McKinsey research with over 2,500 executives involved in them, the authors distill what they and their McKinsey colleagues have been practicing as an “art” into a “science” that executives can replicate—in companies or business units large or small.

It isn’t rocket science and it isn’t bogged down by a lot of organizational theory: the five steps give people a simple, logical process to follow, making it easier for everyone—both the leaders and the employees who ultimately determine a reorg’s success or failure—to commit themselves to and succeed in the new organization. A Practical Guide in Five Steps

Most executives will lead or be a part of a reorganization effort (a reorg) at some point in their careers. And with good reason—reorgs are one of the best ways for companies to unlock latent value, especially in a changing business environment.

But everyone hates them.

No other management practice creates more anxiety and fear among employees or does more to distract them from their day-to-day jobs. As a result, reorgs can be incredibly expensive in terms of senior-management time and attention, and most of them fail on multiple dimensions. It’s no wonder companies treat a reorg as a mysterious process and outsource it to people who don’t understand the business. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Stephen Heidari-Robinson and Suzanne Heywood, former leaders in McKinsey’s Organization Practice, present a practical guide for successfully planning and implementing a reorg in five steps—demystifying and accelerating the process at the same time. Based on their twenty-five years of combined experience managing reorgs and on McKinsey research with over 2,500 executives involved in them, the authors distill what they and their McKinsey colleagues have been practicing as an “art” into a “science” that executives can replicate—in companies or business units large or small.

It isn’t rocket science and it isn’t bogged down by a lot of organizational theory: the five steps give people a simple, logical process to follow, making it easier for everyone—both the leaders and the employees who ultimately determine a reorg’s success or failure—to commit themselves to and succeed in the new organization.

Suzanne Heywood: ReOrg – Review

“Anyone contemplating a reorganisation would do well to read this book…” — Financial Times

ADVANCE PRAISE for ReOrg:

Dominic Barton, Global Managing Director, McKinsey & Company – ReOrg focuses on business results, not buzzwords. It’s the book that I’ll be recommending to clients and colleagues.”

Lord John Browne of Madingley, former CEO, BP; Executive Chairman, L1 Energy – How you deliver a reorganization is as important as what design you develop. Heidari-Robinson and Heywood capture that simply and effectively here. This is an invaluable book for anyone leading a reorganization.”

Lady Barbara Judge, CBE, Chairman, Institute of Directors; former Chairman, United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority; and former Commissioner, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission – “An extremely useful and practical book. It will be an invaluable guide for executives at any level who are considering doing a reorganization of part or all of their company.”

Sir Andrew Witty, CEO, GlaxoSmithKline – “Modern business demands extraordinary nimbleness and the willingness to change in order to compete and keep up. The inevitable reorganizations need to be done right the first time, every time. ReOrg is an ideal thought provoker.”

Sir Suma Chakrabarti, President, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development – “This book will be invaluable for managers in both the public and private sectors faced with the challenge of leading a reorganization. It lays out clearly how managers can make a reorganization happen in a way that achieves the organization’s objectives while also remaining conscious of the cost (both actual and human) of the change and seeking to minimize it.”

Ana Botín, Executive Chairman, Santander – “Reorganizations are inevitable in any business. Heidari-Robinson and Heywood are frank about the challenges and offer practical solutions. I highly recommend this book to business leaders thinking of reorganizing their companies.”