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Managing Uncertainty: Strategies for Surviving and Thriving in Turbulent Times

Overview

The need to manage uncertainty has become increasingly important. The feedback gleaned from senior executives interviewed for the book suggests that, in their eyes, there is no precise definition of uncertainty and therefore no precise solution. Some viewed the task of managing uncertainty as no more than an extension of financial risk management, entailing the need for financial "buffers" brought about by greater liquidity. Others saw the challenge in broader terms, entailing a more flexible approach to strategy...

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Overview

The need to manage uncertainty has become increasingly important. The feedback gleaned from senior executives interviewed for the book suggests that, in their eyes, there is no precise definition of uncertainty and therefore no precise solution. Some viewed the task of managing uncertainty as no more than an extension of financial risk management, entailing the need for financial "buffers" brought about by greater liquidity. Others saw the challenge in broader terms, entailing a more flexible approach to strategy formulation and shorter, more regular reviews of progress and change, using non-financial measures as well as more conventional fiduciary ones. There was no consensus on a distinct and coherent set of skills to help support the task. The imperative stressed over and over again related to an organisation's "strategic readiness" for sudden and unexpected threats and opportunities—through a combination of strategic flexibility, strong navigational leadership, resilience, collaborative partnership, predictive learning and agility. This focus is reflected in the book's structure and conclusions.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118103197
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 11/13/2012
  • Series: Economist Series , #115
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Michel Syrett has combined a career as a journalist and writer on business and management in publications such as the Times, Management Today, Director and Asian Business with academic research into business leadership and innovation, change management and strategic HR management for business schools such as Cranfield, Roffey Park and the Institute of Management at the University of Hong Kong. He is the author or co-author of 20 books and reports, including three published by The Economist, the most recent of which was Successful Strategy Execution.

Marion Devine is a writer and editor who has authored or co-authored 16 business books and reports, including Successful Mergers in The Economist series. She has undertaken research into areas such as mergers, management buy-outs, strategic alliances and leadership development for institutions including Ashridge, Roffey Park, the Economist Intelligence Unit and the University of Sussex. Most recently, she has written or researched reports on talent management for Ashridge Business School and the Chartered Management Institute.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements xi

Preface xiii

1 Introduction: managing in an uncertain world 1

The uncertain world order 2

Speed and multiplication 4

Convergence and interconnectivity 5

Looking ahead 7

New patterns of uncertainty 11

The essence of this book 13

2 Strategic anticipation 16

Flexible planning 21

Integrating strategy determination and execution 34

Case examples: Capital One Bank, GlaxoSmithKline, Procter & Gamble, RBS, Singapore government, Tata Group

3 Navigational leadership 41

Inspiring confidence 46

Ensuring transparency, accountability and good governance 50

Ensuring speedy and informed decision-making 56

Involving and engaging staff 62

Conclusion 66

Case examples: Balfour Beatty, Capital One Bank, Cochrane Collaboration, Ford Motor Company, Honda Europe, HSBC Rail (UK), Marsh, Nokia, Random House, RBS, Simmons & Simmons, States of Jersey, SunGard India, Wipro Infocrossing

4 Agility 68

New rules 69

Competing through agility 71

Financial agility 74

Operational agility 81

Portfolio agility 86

Organisational agility 89

Conclusion 95

Case examples: Balfour Beatty, Cisco Systems, GlaxoSmithKline, Netflix Random House, RBS, Simmons & Simmons

5 Resilience 96

Developing more resilient managers and businesses 100

Developing resilience in managers 104

Developing a more resilient organisation 113

Provide stability through a sense of shared identity 118

Conclusion 119

Case examples: Ceridian, Ford Motor Company, GlaxoSmithKline, Honda Europe, Lloyds TSB, Random House, Royal Dutch Shell, Simmons & Simmons, States of Jersey

6 Open collaboration 121

Internal collaboration 126

Business-to-business collaboration 131

Collaboration with customers 139

Cross-industry or system-wide collaboration 143

Open collaboration: an emergent capability 145

GlaxoSmithKline's strategy of "externalisation" 147

Case examples: Best Buy, Burberry, Diageo, GlaxoSmithKline, Ford, W.L Gore, HCL Technologies, Marsh, Random House, Wipro Infocrossing

7 Predictive learning 151

Analytics 153

Data mining and categorisation 157

Double-loop learning 160

Abduction 162

Adopting an integrated approach: Cisco Systems and IBM 166

Case examples: Ceridian, Cisco Systems, Deutsche Bank, IBM, Walmart

8 Conclusion: creating an integrated approach 170

Reconfiguring businesses to manage uncertainty 172

Developing a capabilities framework 175

Plotting a pathway 177

Conclusion 183

Appendix 184

Notes 198

Index 202

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