For a list of reasons with which we are all too familiar, established enterprises struggle to embrace disruptive innovations, even when it is in their best interests to do so. It’s time to stop explaining why they don’t and start explaining how they can. That is the purpose of Zone to Win.

The prescription is simple: enterprises struggle because they are internally conflicted. To resolve these conflicts they must segment the enterprise into distinct management zones, each with its own methods and metrics.

Three of these zones will be quite familiar to most managers:

  • The Performance Zone, home to the people who make what you sell and sell what you make, its critical metrics being bookings and revenues.
  • The Productivity Zone, home to all the various cost center functions that enable the performance zone to perform, its critical metrics being efficiency, effectiveness, and regulatory compliance.
  • The Incubation Zone, home to experiments in disruptive innovation that are deliberately sequestered from the prior two zones, its critical metric being viable options to catch the next big wave.

Now as long as it is not yet time to catch the next wave (or to keep the next wave from catching you), these three zones interoperate reasonably well. But when it does come time, none of them has the wherewithal to respond, and they all fall into squabbling with one another and pointing fingers. It is here that the CEO must step in and drive the temporary (two to three years) implementation of a fourth zone.

The Transformation Zone is home to any initiative that will fundamentally change the structure of the enterprise, ultimately resulting in a newly configured performance zone. Its demands are deeply disruptive to the functioning of all the other zones. Transformational initiatives can only succeed, therefore, by virtue of relentless, unremitting prioritization led and supervised by the CEO and enforced with strict discipline for the duration of the transformational period.

Zone to Win outlines precisely what those demands are and describes explicitly how to get transformations done. In addition, it presents two case studies, one from Salesforce, the other from Microsoft, in how these methods are being employed successfully today. In short, it arms executive teams with the tools they need to organize to compete in an age of disruption.