What We're Reading - July 2019

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July 3, 2019

This month is Jeff's book recommendation: Get There Early by Bob Johansen.

These days, every leader struggles with a paradox: you can’t predict the future, but you have to be able to make sense of it to thrive. In the age of the Internet, everyone knows what’s new, but to succeed you have to be able to sort out what’s important, devise strategies based on your own point of view, and get there ahead of the crowd. Bob Johansen shares techniques the Institute for the Future has been refining for nearly forty years to help leaders navigate what, borrowing a term from the Army War College, he calls the VUCA world: a world characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.

Continuing with a theme of "planning through massive complexity", I've referenced Bob's model multiple times and in multiple different contexts. Creating an enterprise discipline that supports operating model transformation through a foresight, insight, action process helps generate critical discussions that needs to be happening at every organization. I've heard many times from senior executives that there are not enough hours in the day to keep up with current-state operations, let alone thinking about strategy. At the same time, Digital is forcing operating model changes for everyone so defining a model for evaluating impact, determining investments, and aligning execution that works for your company is imperative. I also like his way of explaining the current operating environment/landscape where we are making decisions: VUCA - Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity. You will see more from us in the future on what it takes to select and develop leaders that can operate in a VUCA world.