In the spotlight: Geoff Tuff and Steven Goldbach, Principals, Deloitte Consulting

Most companies today claim they’ve embarked on a transformation to ensure their long-term survival in an era of disruption. But in their day-to-day practices, many of their leaders and employees blindly follow the same practices they always have—or worse, they follow them knowing they have no value. Why the disconnect?

Leading strategy and innovation consultants Geoff Tuff and Steven Goldbach set out to find answers. Leaning on their cumulative five decades consulting to some of the world’s most successful companies and supplemented by a recent survey of over 300 organizations, they reveal a surprise: Persistently following best practices is unlikely to lead to long-term success, and makes it harder to win with customers.

Overturning conventional wisdom, DETONATE: Why—And How—Corporations Must Blow Up Best Practices (And Bring a Beginner’s Mind) to Survive (Wiley, May 2018), by Tuff and Goldbach, is an urgent clarion call to companies to detonate their old ways of operating so they can reinvent their internal processes and topple disruptive competition.

Detonate coverUntil now, the relatively slow speed of marketplace evolution has allowed wasteful habits to continue without consequence. But given the rapid technology revolution and evolving business environment, companies can no longer rely on playbooks of yesteryear—or even yesterday.

Anchored in philosophy and work approach rather than processes and playbooks, four principles in this book will help you adopt a Detonate mindset:

  • Focus your activities on understanding and driving human behavior.
  • Bring a “beginner’s mind” to all that you do.
  • Embrace impermanence.
  • Build minimally viable moves to test and learn.

Practical, optimistic and empowering, “DETONATE” will light a match of inspiration under CEOs, senior management, entrepreneurs and employees seeking to understand the whys and wherefores of their daily work routines. Once they start detonating, they can free their organization from old-school practices and will reinvigorate its long-term health with next-generation thinking.

The authors dig into seven specific “normal operating procedures” that businesses should discontinue and replace with new practices.

  1. Financial forecasting and budgeting too often optimizes for a spreadsheet outcome rather than a desired business outcome.
  2. The underlying purpose of strategic planning gets lost as the process becomes templatized and routinized around an annual calendar.
  3. Syndicated data gives us insights that are readily available to our competitors and fools us into thinking we have an advantage.
  4. Traditional insight generation relies too much on information that is prone to self-reporting bias.
  5. Most risk management systems—and in particular stage-gate systems—have lost sight of their purpose in favor of process adherence.
  6. Somehow along the way some notions about not just risk tolerance but celebrating failure have taken root.
  7. Org charts and career paths have created the perception of permanence—one of the critical enablers of best-practice orthodoxy.

Geoff TuffGeoff Tuff is a principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP and a senior leader of the organization’s innovation and applied design practices. His work centers around helping clients transform their businesses to grow and compete in nontraditional ways. Over the course of his career, Tuff has worked in virtually every industry and, valued for his integrative approach to solving problems, he uses that breadth of experience to bring novel insights about how things might operate to clients stuck in industry conventional wisdom.

Steven GoldbachSteven Goldbach is a principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP and serves as the organization’s chief strategy officer. He is also a member of the Deloitte U.S. executive leadership team. He helps executives and their teams transform their organizations by making challenging and pragmatic strategy choices in the face of uncertainty, and combine rigor and creativity to create their own future. He serves clients in many industries, including consumer products, telecommunications, media and healthcare.

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