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25th Anniversary series: 2010 – Beyond Crisis

May 20, 2015

B Crisis 1 After the events of 2006 through to 2009, we thought that we should write a book explaining what had happened and what was likely to happen next. We were Gill Ringland, Dr Oliver Sparrow and Tricia Lustig: Oliver with reputation as a futurist, Tricia in leadership development, and all of us with an interest in helping organisations be better at anticipating and managing change – one message of the book was that there would be no return to Business As Usual.

The book “Beyond Crisis” (ISBN 978-0-470-68577-8) is divided into three parts:

  • Part I – What Happened
  • Part II – What Organisations Can Do
  • Part III – A Toolkit for Renewal

As a result of our analysis of the underlying forces which caused the financial and economic crisis, we suggested that the world might move at differing speeds in different regions.

The course of the recovery, at the time of writing (2015) has followed the track that we first discussed in 2010 – with the Eurozone and Japan recovering less robustly than other countries and regions.

B Crisis 2What are the implications of no return to BAU for organisations? Key is the role of the leader in ensuring the organisation is open to signs of change, not – as many organisations – ignoring disconfirming evidence. In the book we propose a structure that combines the need for efficient execution of today’s business with ongoing adaptation of the organisation’s portfolio of businesses – the double cone. In the diagram, the upper cone is the efficient organisation, the ball bearing is the portfolio of businesses, and the procedures that review the environment are fed by and feed the efficient organisation. These procedures are the processes, people and tools – ICT, knowledge management, communication – that connect the cones.

The book also uses the character types of Fox and Hedgehog to discuss management styles, based on the analysis first introduced by Isaiah Berlin in 1953 – and originally present in Greek parables “The Fox knows many things but the Hedgehog knows one big thing”. The upper cone is the natural habitat of Hedgehogs, the lower of Foxes – which is why the connecting processes are so important.

Written by Gill Ringland.

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