Review by Imran Ahmad Rana
on the website of the Quality & Productivity Society of Pakistan (

We are in an age of enormous change in business and industry. While there are significant changes in the United States and in Europe, the most dramatic changes are happening in Asia, particularly in China and India . These changes impact the whole world. Change can be a source of opportunity for a business to grow. It can also threaten an organization’s survival if organizational response is smaller than challenge. Recently published Pakistan edition of the Deming and Nikkei Quality Control Literature Prize winning book “Breakthrough Management” can help organizations prepare for future. This sixth edition of the book is a summation of expert thinking on breakthrough management as of early 2006. It is a major revision and update, not simply an English translation of Shoji Shiba’s 2003 work, included here are new concepts and more case studies of change, examples from countries other than Japan , and details of how to practice the relevant individual skills.

Authors Shoji Shiba and David C. Walden have done an excellent job of compiling their global research in Breakthrough Management and presenting contemporary information that can help small, medium and large enterprises of every sector to assess, plan and respond to global challenges with same intensity as required by pressing factors like rapid or dramatic price decreases, dramatic market changes, or societal incidents. Or it may occur because of a clear insight or understanding that a value shift has happened, which could be a result of above three factors. The structure of the book makes it easy to find the information needed to prepare for a specific business breakthrough challenges in Pakistan . Today need for breakthrough often arises because of business globalization. Thus, this book includes many examples of companies that are struggling with and dealing with the effects of globalization. The book is for English-language readers not only in North America and Western Europe but in all countries where there is rapid business change and development, as in Eastern Europe and South Asia. Case studies are included from countries in Asia, Europe, and North America. Target readers are people in companies that are trying to move into new business areas for whatever reason or that must compete on a large geographic scale—nationally or internationally. Most specifically, book has been written for official leaders of companies as well as for change leaders within companies or other organizations who are trying for change and/or have the freedom to change. The methods described apply to all types of activities—product or service, nonprofit or for-profit, charitable, religious, manufacturing, health care, and so forth.

Part one of the book explains; Transformation requires vision that is usually not required of or does not come naturally to many traditional leaders. Thus, leaders of transformation have been called “visionary leaders.” The case studies elaborate the works of visionary leaders and later are drawn eight principles of visionary leadership—eight patterns of behavior or action that have been generally witnessed in the visionary leader leaders to go in future successfully.

Then part two describes principles for leading organizational transformation. Chapters in this part have been slanted somewhat toward internal issues and internal structures of the change, which are stated in terms of eight principles for visionary leadership. It has been discussed that for many businesses breakthrough is required because of market issues—for instance, because of a mature or saturated market for the business’s products or services. In this part of the book, things slanted somewhat toward issues of markets. This delves on models for breakthrough that reveal how a new idea moves from the leader’s head to an entrepreneurial group within the company and eventually into the market at large.

Part three describes individual leadership skills—perceiving symptoms of change and developing concepts for the future and acquiring techniques that are crucial to the application of Principles discussed above.

Then are discussed two illuminating case studies to explore stages and cycles of breakthrough. A section of the book looks at obstacles and infrastructure issues that often face the innovative leader. And last section considers community and social values as integral elements in breakthrough management.

A note about case studies: While most of the cases describe quite recent activities of various organizations, some are about activities that took place a decade or two ago, and authors mention in passing some even older examples. Many leadership lessons do not become obsolete even when the details of a particular business situation are no longer relevant. A company manufacturing personal computers today and facing the potential for their replacement by a newer technology (perhaps something more integrated with cell phones or DVD players) might do well to study the example of a minicomputer company that closed its eyes to the then future potential of personal computers. As the saying goes, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”