Sandra W. Evans’ Thinkivity offers a “prescription” for corporate change that can enable businesses to weather the ups and downs of a volatile economic climate by becoming more responsive to their customers. Taking into account the inherent paradox of the need for businesses to exploit new opportunities while overcoming employees’ resistance to change, Evans demonstrates how involving employees in the change process allows for the flowering of the creative thinking so necessary for business growth.
Based on the belief that the best strategy for attracting and retaining customers is one that is customer-centric and customer-driven, Evans’ model focuses on change from the customer’s perspective and shows how identifying the “who, what, when, where, why, and how” of each business interaction can maximize revenues by maximizing customer satisfaction. The author emphasizes the role of creative thinking at each level of business activity and highlights the three differentiation factors—brand recognition, superior products and services, and relevance—that are essential to business success.
Recognizing that proven business techniques and strategies must be coupled with visionary leadership, Evans removes the fear factor from “what-if” thinking, allowing for the development of visionary skills that can reveal new business opportunities that might, without them, go unnoticed. But in her otherwise valuable discussion of the challenges and opportunities inherent in the rise of globalism and the outsourcing of work, one of the author’s statements is questionable: she recommends “developing a network of partners in each country to overcome the regulatory requirements and to understand the local norms.” While developing an understanding of “local norms” is commendable and necessary, the implication that a corporation has a right to “overcome the regulatory requirements” of another country calls forth questions of ethics that cannot be ignored.
Evans take a holistic approach to the health of the twenty-first century business; keeping both short- and long-term views in mind, she examines the causes of inefficiency and lack of responsiveness to customers and offers more than a pill to relieve and mask symptoms—instead, her step-by-step methodology, replete with charts and case studies, roots out the deeper causes of a corporation’s problems, providing a “prescription” that can bring new health and vitality to both the business and the world in which it operates.
Sandra W. Evans, MBA, has over twenty-five years of experience in all facets of corporate, financial, and operations management, as well as extensive experience in corporate strategic and productivity planning for both for-profit and non-profit organizations including American Express, First Data Corp., Standard and Poor’s (a division of the McGraw-Hill Companies), the New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation, and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.
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