Imagine it Forward by Beth Comstock

My fourth book review Imagine it Forward comes after a long break. The author Beth Comstock has used a storytelling approach to share her experience and learnings while she built an illustrious three-decade career in GE. The timing of this read couldn’t have been better as the author delves into managing and mastering change in the face of uncertainty. While most of us survived, succeeded, and managed last two years of COVID, this book is a relevant read for leaders who believe in ‘Change’ and becoming ‘Change-makers’.

About the book, there are five sections covering different chapters. The first section covers ‘Self-Permission’, where the author insists the readers to start change within, leaders should learn to give themselves permission to push outside expectations and limitations. The second section ‘Discovery’ urges readers to adopt the spirit of inquiry and curiosity, unearthing ideas that can make change possible. As we move along, the third section ‘Agitated Inquiry’ is all about confronting and getting good at conflicts, challenging the status-quo. The fourth section ‘Storycraft’ is communicating the change to a larger audience in the organisation in a way they understand and accept the change. The final section ‘Creating a new OS’ is putting change into action. This involves sharing a new mind-set, spreading ideas bottom-up and outside-in, finding dedicated agents of change and much more. The book is loaded with illustrations, case studies which will keep the read interesting. At certain intervals, you will find black page-breakers filled with quotes relevant to the sections/chapters.

After reading the book, deriving from each section, five quotes clearly stand out –

    1. Change is a messy, collaborative, inspiring, difficult, and ongoing process – like everything meaningful that leads to human progress: Whether it is a new job, new role in the current organisation, as leaders, before we embrace change, we must prepare ourselves well.
    2. Bring in a spark, an outsider who challenges the team to think differently. Be the spark! – My inference here is that leaders should work with a diverse team, hire talent that think differently and can bring in the change they are looking for
    3. Learn to listen and trust your doubts. And don’t be afraid to express them to others – This applies to every team member. When we stay quiet, we create an invisible wall between growth and success. It is important that we keep speaking about it.
    4. In change, people must find their own path. You can’t mandate how that happens. But you can create the right conditions – Leaders to have to empower, not impose; enable, not dictate.
    5. The pace of change is never going to be slower than it is today – In my view, this is not limiting to adapting to new technologies and digital transformation only. Leaders must take a holistic view considering changing behaviors of talent, stakeholders, and society at large.

Without divulging further, I recommend professionals – managers and above to buy a copy and read the book.

I would rate 8/10 for this book.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Ajit Pai
The author is a Vice President at MSL office in Bangalore. The views shared are personal.

1 Comment on "Imagine it Forward by Beth Comstock"

  1. Kevin Coutinho | August 25, 2022 at 9:15 PM | Reply

    A book review coming from a person who has grown in leaps and bounds in the PR industry needs no validation. Will definitely buy this book. Great review Ajith.

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