1st Edition

The Game Changer
How Leading Organisations in Business and Sport Changed the Rules of the Game

ISBN 9781138362727
Published November 28, 2018 by Routledge
490 Pages 184 B/W Illustrations

USD $44.95

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Book Description

The Game Changer powerfully demonstrates how some organisations in business and sport have done more than raise their performance; they have also changed the rules of the game or the game itself within their industry. It gives examples of the strategies and governance programmes that have emerged to accomplish this, and the challenges of executing them.

This book brings to life strategic management in business, sport and not-for-profit organisations. It explores many of the theories taught on MBA and other professional programmes through case studies from the worlds of sport and business, written by authors who have played a part in the change. Alistair Gray has spent much of his career in senior roles in these sectors and brings a unique insight to the field, as well as providing the reader with tools and techniques for improvement in governance and performance.

The Game Changer is essential reading for both professionals looking for methods to improve their own performance and to embed strong principles of governance, and business students looking for real-life lessons from practice.

Table of Contents

Foreword - by Sir Tom Farmer KBE, Founder of Kwik Fit


Our Authors


1 Introduction: The Grand Strategist and The Focus Framework

Changing the Game in Business

2 NCR Manufacturing – Challenging Michael Porter’s Generic Strategy Theories

3 Scenario Thinking – The Answer to Future Uncertainty

4 New Age of Strategic Management

5 Power of Purpose (by Fiona Gifford)

6 Innovation Management and MTBD>MTBS

7 Strategic Benchmarking

8 Braveheart 2 - Future Lessons from Yesterday’s Leaders

9 Clusters are Cool!

10 Making Mergers Work - Mixing Spirits

11 Managing in (and out of) Recession

12 Adelon Ireland - The Road to a Strategic Site (by James Bowen)

Changing the Game in Sport

13 Ambition as a Driving Force for Performance (by Brian MacNeice)

14 Sustaining Sports in the Future

15 Cathy’s Pillars and the reform of The Football Association (in England)

16 Good Governance does not Win Gold Medals

17 Performance Strategies for National Football Associations

18 Performance Sport - The Winning Formula

19 Good to Great - Inside the Black Box

20 The New Zealand All Blacks - The Ultimate High Performing Sporting Organisation (by John Bull)

21 All you need is Love



Bibliography: 50 Books that have influenced me

NCR- Source of Entrepreneurs

Postscript - My Personal Renaissance - 'You've got to find what you Love’

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Alistair Gray is the founder and Managing Director of Renaissance & Co, UK, and one of Europe’s leading strategic management consultants. He is also a lecturer on strategic management on the MBA programme at Strathclyde Business School, UK. A director of a number of companies, he has held a range of board positions in business and sport.




"Alistair Gray has a lifetime of experience in business and sport and this book provides an insight into the strategic management, innovation and drivers needed to change the game"

Baroness Sue Campbell CBE, Director of Women’s Football at The FA. and Chair of UK Sport (2003 – 2013) and Youth Sport Trust (2005 – 2017)

"The Game Changer is a source of useful learning for MBA students and young executives. Alistair delivers a unique perspective on many aspects of strategic management supported by real-life case studies from business and sport. I have taken benefit from Alistair and his approach to accelerate the University's strategy."

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice Chancellor, University of Strathclyde

"It is one thing to write about strategy and how it should be done. It is a completely different thing to write about strategy and to have actually done it. Alistair Gray provides the latter in his book. It is a tremendous read packed with insight into how to deliver meaningful strategic change."

Harry Sminea, Professor of Strategic Management, Strathclyde Business School, University of Strathclyde

"Top business frequently turns to sport for strategies to improve performance. Alistair Gray benefits from his unique combination of a successful voluntary leader in sport and respected consultant to leading businesses and sports around the world. The articles and case studies in the book deliver real insight into how to succeed."

Martin Gilbert, CEO Standard Life Aberdeen PLC

"Altogether, a really useful book whose articles and case studies will be invaluable for anyone facing the prospect of competing in the challenging global markets of the 21st century."

Sir Tom Farmer KBE, Founder of KwikFit

"The Game Changer is a demonstration and evolution of the importance of out-of-the-box thinking in providing winning performance. It emphasises the benefits of embracing change in mindset and strategic perspective."

Sir Bill Gammell FRSE, Founder and former Chair and CEO of Cairn Energy PLC; Chair of Winning Scotland Foundation

"This is a very enlightening and well-researched read from a wise sage who knows from first hand experience more than a bit about what provides the zeitgeist in business".

Andy Nash, Portfolio Chair and former Director of Taunton Cider PLC

"For many years I have appreciated Alistair’s unique insight across business, elite sport and other sectors. The Game Changer captures that and will be stimulating for executives in business and sport at any stage in their career from MBA classes to the Board Room.’

Charles Berry, Chairman of The Weir Group PLC

"The creation of Scotland Food & Drink was the ultimate game changer for the food & drink industry in Scotland. Alistair led us through the journey that initially created an industry strategy group. He further guided us through a process that included industry leadership, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and Highland & Islands Enterprise to create Scotland Food & Drink. We began the journey with the complexity of the cluster strategy and concluded with a pragmatic approach to deliver the platform for Scotland Food & Drink. In doing so, we created a collaborative model, with strong strategic direction that has now transformed the value and reputation of Scotland’s food and drink industry."

David Kilshaw, Former Chair of Scotland Food & Drink

"The Game Changer is easy to read and follow and challenges the reader to think differently, with clarity. Full of examples and strategic models, it provides an excellent framework to develop winning strategies and improve performance in business and sport."

Sir Ian McGeechan OBE, Head Coach, British and Irish Lions (four tours) and Director of Rugby for Scotland, Northampton and Wasps

"Nowadays sport operates more like business and must employ best business practice in its operations, within systems of good governance for its athletes, officials, volunteers and supporters. Alistair Gray presents his own considerable experience achieving these goals which those in sport and business will find most valuable."

Sir Craig Reedie GBE, President of the World Anti-Doping Agency, former Chairman of the British Olympic Association (1992–2005) and Vice-President of the International Olympic Committee (current serving member).

"Alistair Gray draws upon behind-the-scene insights into the change process to provide a much needed and revealing insider account of sports management in the real world. It relegates data and evidence, promotes people and relationships to answer some important contemporary sporting questions  How can small nations win at sport? How can sport build integrity? How do you manage sustainable change?"

Professor Dr Grant Jarvie, Chair of Sport, University of Edinburgh, Founding Director Academy of Sport, Professor, University of Toronto

"This book will be a great resource for all management professionals and those building their career. The content and case studies reflect the open minded, ambitious and check and challenge approach of Alistair in his many roles and experiences across organisations in business and sport."

Anne Marie Harrison, CEO Victorian Institute of Sport (Australia)

“In my experience in sport, especially in Ireland, Alistair Gray and Brian MacNeice are the first names mentioned for strategy development. Genesis were instrumental in supporting us to achieve our ambition to secure Test status in Cricket. Their approach is inclusive and uncomplicated and focuses on clear targets and accountability. Their honesty and integrity set them apart and they are a pleasure to work with.”

Warren Deutrom, CEO Cricket Ireland

"The Genesis report on the 2002 FIFA World Cup and subsequent projects provided the FAI with the practical impetus to make many significant changes within the Association and improve our performances on and off the field. The reforms made along the way have helped Ireland’s position in European football administration and the Association is proud to occupy a place among UEFA members as a modern progressive governing body."

John Delaney, CEO FAI and UEFA Executive Committee

"Alistair is someone who challenges you to think the unthinkable and has undoubtedly influenced my professional development. Winning in business and sport is a golden thread through his philosophy and his contribution to Scottish Cycling and Scottish sport has definitely been a Game Changer. This really useful book provides the opportunity to learn from one of the best."

Craig Burn, CEO Scottish Cycling

"Alistair’s insights into what makes elite athletes perform and his knowledge of how sports organisations can improve their performance through the execution of a carefully-crafted strategy were of enormous value to the Scottish FA during my time as CEO."

Stewart Regan, CEO Scottish FA

"In helping make the best strategic choices, Alistair always considers whether they can be successfully implemented, taking into account leadership qualities and optimal use of resources. This invaluable book is full of pragmatic insights on how to decide and then deliver." David Gray, Non-Executive Director

"A supportive infrastructure is key to ensuring coaches and other performance specialists in sport can exercise their skills effectively. Alistair applies his unique skills set to creating such infrastructure by tackling culture shift head on. Putting it another way, he facilitates performance excellence."

Professor Frank Dick OBE, Coach and Motivational Speaker