I want to make you uncomfortable. I want to bring you face-to-face with what you
haven’t done but need to do for your organization to win. I want to provoke a smoldering
discontent for the way things are and a fierce resolve to change them.
If you’re a leader who has had enough of strategic plans that go off the rails,
change initiatives that flounder, or chronic underperformance, then this book is for you.
This book is also for you if you’re a leader or aspiring leader who is both ambitious and
committed to fulfilling your ambitions.
I wrote Ruthless Consistency with middle market companies in mind. My
experience and expertise as a strategy + execution consultant is rooted almost entirely in
this segment, a segment largely ignored in the business literature yet that accounts for
one-third of the private sector economy. These aren’t the big behemoths or sexy startups,
yet many of these fly-under-the-radar companies are some of the best companies you’ve
never heard of. And while Ruthless Consistency was written with an eye to the mid-
market, many of the principles and practices apply to organizations of any size, including
those outside of business, such as in education and the not-for-profit world.
Part I: The Reality, sets the stage. It makes the case for three principles that you
must understand and embrace to maximize your chances for success.
Part II: The Right Focus, is where the applied journey begins. Simply put, without
focus, your organization can’t win. In this section, my intent is to have you reject
strategic planning and embrace strategic management, a comprehensive and far more
robust approach to developing and sustaining focus.
In Part III: The Right Environment, I detail a model that shows how every
organizational touchpoint must be consistent with winning. Practices and processes are
provided to help manage those touchpoints.
In Part IV: The Right Team, I outline successful approaches to the two processes
fundamental to building the right team: recruitment and selection.
You might question why the Right Environment comes before the Right Team.
After all, once you’re clear on what, why, and how your organization must achieve,
shouldn’t you put the right team in place to achieve it? If you were starting from scratch
or had a new position to fill, then yes. But most organizations already have a team in
place, and, typically, leaders believe they have the right team. The truth is, you won’t
fully know if you have the right team until you’ve created the right environment. Once
you have, many team members will thrive, and engagement and performance will soar.
However, it will also expose those who aren’t willing or able to meet what’s expected of
them. In any event, don’t think of these two parts of the book as strictly sequential.
Creating the right environment and building the right team are both ongoing and iterative
Part V: The Right Commitment, shines the spotlight on you. Knowing what you
need to do is one thing; having the will to do it is another. The chapters in this section
identify the enemies of commitment, along with practical and proven ways to overcome
Expect this book to challenge your thinking and challenge your assumptions.
Expect to have your level of commitment challenged. And expect to be equipped with models, methods, practices, and processes—all based on real-world experience—that will help you transform ambition into strategy, and strategy into reality.
Don’t just read this book. Reflect on how it relates to your experience. And
preflect on how you can and will apply it, and what is likely to result. Make notes,
highlight, discuss with others, exchange stories … don’t just read this book.
Why go down this path with me? Because for the past 20+ years I’ve helped
hundreds of CEOs and executives across North America make strategy happen. The
principles and practices of Ruthless Consistency have been forged by hammering away at
real-world challenges, across a wide range of contexts.
Imagine that you and I are handcuffed together in the desert, dying of thirst. Off
in the distance is an oasis. Each of us has to walk so that both of us can get there. If you
stop walking, I won’t be able to drag you there. If I stop walking, you won’t be able to
drag me there. I can’t promise you that we’ll make it to the oasis. But I can promise you
that I won’t be the one to stop.
Take your first step. Turn the page.
Excerpted from Ruthless Consistency (2020, McGraw–Hill Education)
According to Harvard Business Review, “most studies still show a 60-70% failure rate for organizational change projects―a statistic that has stayed constant from the 1970s to the present.” In Ruthless Consistency, drawing on his 20+ years of experience as a strategy + execution consultant specializing in midsize companies, Michael Canic helps committed leaders drive the odds in their favor.