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How to stay on course and achieve extraordinary performance in a sea of change

In today's change-or-die business environment, companies that achieve the highest levels of performance are "robust organizations"--those that adapt quickly and without losing their strategic direction. Distilling decades of research conducted by Rand, one of the nation's most respected business think tanks, The of High Performance explores the strategies to truly manage change. Using examples, author Paul C. Light extracts powerful lessons for managers and executives, and he provides readers with:

  • Never-before-published research by Rand on the shared traits of the highest-performing companies
  • Cutting-edge techniques for improving performance across an organization
  • Valuable insights into the five major attributes of agility, alignment, metrics, incentives, and impact
  • Case studies and vignettes drawn from the experiences of industry leaders in every sector


"Important reading for anyone interested in managing organizational change." -- Robert B. Reich, Brandeis University, and former Secretary of Labor, January 19, 2004

"This is a serious addition to the literature with novel and potentially exciting insights." -- John S. Reed, former chairman, Citigroup 

The " is the best of the best. This one is worth reading and referencing. -- John Fayed, CEO and Publisher, Business Book Reviews

From the Author

I wrote The of High Performance to help today’s organizations deal with the increasing uncertainty that surrounds them. Organizations must do more than just plan on uncertainty, however. They must also be alert to changing circumstances, agile in hedging against surprises and exploiting opportunities, adaptive in addressing new markets, and aligned around a clear mission to excel. In a word, they must become more robust—able to take a punch from a range of futures, but also able to shape the future that they want.

Drawing upon hundreds of reports, in-depth interviews with more than 100 senior researchers, and an internet survey, I start The of High Performance by summarizing the four problems that plague organizations as they struggle to confront uncertainty: ignorance of important information about the future, inflexibility in responding to surprises and unexpected events, indifference toward changing circumstances and markets, and inconsistency in the commitment to high performance. These four vulnerabilities would be difficult to manage under low uncertainty, but, as The argues, organizations face increasing uncertainty as the revolutions in living things, materials and manufacturing, information, global commerce, and strategies multiply. Organizations can either deal with the uncertainty by getting robust, or perish.

The rest of The provides detailed advice on what matters most to high performance, how organizations can strengthen their ability to manage uncertainty, and what they can do to actually implement successful change.

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