Non-Fiction: Shift Ahead by Allen Adamson & Joel Steckel

How the best companies stay relevant in a fast-changing world?

This is the book that answers that question. Shift Ahead by Allen Adamson & Joel Steckel offers a smart, calculated approach to knowing when an organization should change course and how to achieve that. The authors  bring every internal and external factor into view including competitors, risks, culture, and finances. By reading this book you can learn how to spot warning signs that it’s time for reinvention, overcome obstacles in the way of goals, maintain authenticity while changing, and execute a bold change seamlessly. To stay competitive, you must shift.

Allen Adamson says that the book was a way to research why so many companies were falling behind: „More and more clients were coming to me and asking, can you help me grow? I found that their problems were not merely a question of requiring better branding – the issue was that their stories were no longer relevant. The fix was no longer a question of better PR, marketing, social media, or advertising. Telling people about a brand they don’t care about does not drive growth. So I began to wonder why so many companies were falling behind. The book was a way to research it, and ultimately, over the course of 100+ interviews, draw out teachable moments from real case studies.“


Source: Allen Adamson


Ongoing disruption is crucial to the survival of any business. For innovators, the challenge is how to keep an eye on the future and an edge on the competition while remaining focused on their company’s unique strengths. For business leaders and brand builders, it can feel like a dizzying balancing act.

Allen Adamson says that being stuck in their bubble and not being aware of what’s going on around them is the biggest mistake that causes companies to lose their relevance.


Adamson and Steckel provide practical guidance on pulling off the feat of leaping forward while holding firm to a company’s reputation, credibility, and trustworthiness. Based on extensive research and decades of experience working with iconic brands, the authors present a simple framework for maintaining the balance and flexibility essential to surviving and thriving in a marketplace where change is the only constant.


Also, I asked Allen Adamson what does he think is the greatest threat to one’s company’s relevance in the contemporary and globalized world. Adamson answered: „Becoming your father’s Oldsmobile. Change is happening so fast that most companies can’t keep up. By the time they see the change, they’re unable to react to it.“

Allen Adamson

(Source: Allen Adamson)


Continually monitor the need to shift, spot early warning signals that it’s time for tweaking and flexing, and asses what to focus on are just some of the numerous lessons Shift Ahead  gives a reader. Throughout, Adamson and Steckel stress the importance of prioritizing investments with an eye towards the long-term, listening to customers, and never losing sight of the equity in a respected brand name. As Shift Ahead makes clear, looking and moving forward without losing sight of a company’s past is doable—and worth investing in doing right.





About the Authors

ALLEN ADAMSON is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Metaforce with over thirty years of experience in building iconic brands. He is the author of three previous books—BrandSimple, BrandDigital, and The Edge—and writes a monthly column on branding for

JOEL STECKEL is an expert on marketing research and branding strategy, with numerous journal articles to his credit. Professor Steckel is currently Vice Dean for Doctoral Education at NYU’s Stern School of Business, where he has served on the faculty for more than twenty-five years. Both authors live in New York City.


Shift Ahead | Amazon



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