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Lead the next disruption. Get The Critical Core. Here’s what Chris Gibbons, editor of Acumen, the GIBS journal, says about it.

With more than 30 years as one of South Africa’s leading business consultants, Tony Manning knows a thing or two about strategy. Amongst his key insights is the fact that there has been little truly new in management thinking or practice over the past 60 years, and that despite bookshop shelves groaning with texts that purport to tell you otherwise, there is no such thing as a quick fix or a silver bullet.

Instead, Manning, who is also a member of GIBS faculty, has brought his considerable experience to bear and sought answers to a series of fundamental questions which include: “Why do some companies, facing similar challenges to others, stand out from the crowd and consistently get superior results to others?” and “Why, with so much information and advice so easily, widely, and quickly available, is corporate performance so different from company to company, and so erratic within them?”

Pondering these brings him to one central question: “Are there must-do practices that make companies competitive, and if so, what are they?”

His conclusion, after extensive review of his own experience along with a mass of external evidence, is that there is “a small set of practices that show up repeatedly, meet a set of rigorous criteria, and are necessary in all companies, in all industries, across the world.” He calls these practices “the critical core” and they first made an appearance in his 2015 book, What’s Wrong With Management And How To Get It Right.

The Critical Core follows, after requests from his readers for a shorter version of the book, with “the ‘how-to’ material to be more accessible.” Shorter it is indeed, but nothing it contains leads me to change my opinion as I gave it when I reviewed What’s Wrong With Management for an earlier edition of Acumen: “Apply Manning’s eight practices to your business with rigour, and you will have to think as hard as you have ever thought about anything.” (Acumen 14, Q4, 2015, P.82) Take Manning’s lessons to heart – all of them, because none of them stands in isolation – and I would be greatly surprised if you didn’t find yourself playing in a very different league.

Chris Gibbons – Editor, Acumen, Gordon Institute of Business Science, August 2017 

Tony Manning, The Critical Core, Penguin Random House 2017

See also Tony Manning, What’s Wrong With Management And How To Get It Right, Penguin Random House 2015