Nassim Taleb’s 2007 book ‘The Black Swan’ has been back in discussion recently as people debate whether the economic crisis fits the category of ‘black swans’ – something no-one could have predicted, but of which a single occurrence invalidates previous beliefs (such as ‘All swans are white’). Did anyone really predict the banking crisis? Certainly no-one acted to prevent it.
Taleb’s thesis reminds us of what someone called ‘the risk of risk departments’ – by having a department devoted to risk, you create the illusion that you have dealt with it. In fact, what often derails strategy is what nobody is
When times are tough, more than ever the organisation must pull together and stay energised to succeed. But this is just when the pressures of the recession will tend to push people into battening down the hatches. Instinctively, many individuals will try to protect their jobs by focusing on their own agendas. It can feel counter-intuitive to lift your sights above your individual concerns to focus on the whole firm’s success. So how can leaders help people to do that?
One answer is more face-to-face communication. That personal, human contact will connect with people’s raised emotional needs at times of anxiety
We have all pretty much accepted that the global economic crisis has caused a fundamental shift in the way we will think about doing business from now on. But have we yet made any fundamental changes to the way we do strategy? Some leading companies have reacted by refusing to publish hard financial targets as they know they may struggle to achieve them. Others are being more thoughtful about what needs to be in their place. How can we convince first our people, then our key stakeholders and shareholders that we do have distinctive organisational attributes and market strengths that
‘Strategy evolution: adapting to a new world’ brings together the shared intelligence of 45 of today’s leaders on how to make your strategy work in the new business environment – the culmination of our research, and precious time kindly given up some very busy leaders to share their experiences of the new risks to successful strategy execution.
During these frank conversations we were perhaps surprised to find little evidence of the desire to reduce their exposure to risk. Instead, we found a growing awareness of the need to be open to all the new opportunities present in the changing