Book Review



And The Strategic Imperative

Shaping the Future
by William P. Belgard and
Steven R. Rayner
Published by AMACOM
Price: U.S. $27.95
Pages: 224

"Megadigm is a fundamental and pervasive shift that alters how managers must lead. The idea is to create products that meet the subconscious wants and needs-fulfilling qualities that please the customer in ways he never before imagined."

've been reading a book singularly appropriate to CHANGE and to the Company behind this house organ. Shaping the Future, by William P. Belgard and Steven R. Rayner, presents a dynamic process for creating and achieving a company’s strategic vision through the magic of change. For a change initiative to succeed, the company has above all else to determine its strategic imperative. Shaping the Future offers a step-by-step process for determining the company’s strategic imperative — “the focal point and originator of every element in the company’s transformation — and laying the background for a future that will flow from it.”

What gives the book a special significance is that the authors depart from classic theories of change to profound insights into


Turning “an epidemic of change-aversion” into the “pro-change flu” — and propagating a culture that not only expects change, but accepts and embraces it.


Instilling a belief in achieving the goals that must be achieved — regardless of technical or organisational barriers.


Creating a “fellowship of change agents” who learn by doing, constantly upgrading their skills and methods in real interaction with the clients they serve.

These are accompanied by equally deep changes in the basic philosophies and practices of companies all over the world. The authors call this new reality the emerging “megadigm”, a powerful force or forces from rapid technological and societal change to customers’ ever-growing demand for value.

Unfortunately, in the case of several companies, the number of change initiatives are so many that they dilute and blur the company’s focus with the result that many initiatives remain unimplemented. On the other hand, the authors give several examples of companies that have gained by simple and even obvious changes — as successfully achieved by Boeing (the aircraft with millions of spare parts) from a stationary build set-up to a moving assembly line, which was a breakthrough in aircraft manufacturing. In fact, it turned out to be the world’s longest moving assembly line!

Megadigm is a fundamental and pervasive shift that alters how managers must lead. The idea is to create products that meet the subconscious wants and needs-fulfilling qualities that please the customer in ways he never before imagined. “Indeed, megadigm is an advance upon Six Sigma in its goal of profoundly affecting the customer in the next quality battleground. It resurrects the entrepreneurial spirit by a culture of continuous change and change for the better.”

The emphasis throughout the book is on fellowship. The tendency in fellowship is one of two extremes — you either do it going through each phase of the change effort or you depend on external consultants to help you do it. The authors prefer the middle ground — training employees in tools and techniques for supporting the change, thus creating a fellowship of internal change agents with the range to spread the message among fellowship employees in which managers share knowledge and information about individual change efforts with other managers and workers. Under ideal circumstances each employee would come to believe that change is growth and when the company grows, the country grows with it.

The entrepreneur’s spirit itself is fired by values — values such as telling the truth, being fair in all business dealings, respecting the individual in each worker, encouraging and feeding the worker’s curiosity. As David Saggs, who transformed the Harley Owner’s Group (then the Harley Davidson Ecostar Company), puts it: “It was an easy transition to Harley Davidson because the foundation of values were so consistent with what I believe. My job is to reinforce the values every day.” The process of practising these values ensures that everyone in the company has the obligation to provide inputs which give him a share of belonging.

The ultimate is to bring about a culture which links the spirit of the entrepreneur with the tenacity of disciplined execution. This may lead managers to shed many of their deeply inclined bureaucratic habits through a process of “unlearning”. Change not only calls for hard work, willingness to take risks and disciplined execution, it also requires leaders who are willing to overcome their own personal fears and unlearn past habits in order to shape their organisation’s future. The authors end on a note of optimism: “The future in your industry will be decided by someone — why not by you? Why be satisfied with reacting to what others have done, when you have set the agenda that they will follow? The future will happen, but will it happen to you or because of you? Ultimately the choice is yours.”

B.K. Karanjia


The most destructive habit - Worry

The greatest joy - Giving

The greatest loss - Loss of self-respect

The most satisfying work - Helping others

The ugliest personality trait - Selfishness

The most endangered species - Dedicated leaders

Our greatest natural resource - Our youth

The greatest “shot in the arm” - Encouragement

The greatest problem to overcome - Fear

The most effective sleeping pill - Peace of mind

The most crippling failure/disease - Excuses

The world’s most incredible computer - The brain


The worst thing to be without - Hope

The deadliest weapon - The tongue

The two most power-filled words - “I can”

The most powerful force in life - Love

The greatest asset - Faith

The most worthless emotion -

The most beautiful attire - A smile

The most prized possession - Integrity

The most contagious spirit - Enthusiasm

The most powerful channel of communication - Prayer

The greatest gift - You!


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