Leading in turbulent times

Lessons learnt and implications for the future

Emerald Group Publishing, Bingley, UK, 2010 

This book addresses the issue of leading in turbulent times. 

How to be effective? How to win? In the introduction we propose that taking better advantage of business cycles will be key, with more focus on timing — in/out; long/short — and a need to shift more of the decision-making focus towards the top. I then discuss nine mistakes that I have made when it comes to this, when I failed to be sufficiently flexible and adaptive. To be a credible, effective leader, four characteristics seem particularly critical at this point:

- Integrity

- Agility

- Stakeholder focus

- Pragmatic optimism

And, there seem to be four leading tasks that now become particularly critical:

- Enhance revenue

- Simplify the organization 

- Simplify processes 

- Cut down bureaucracy

We then discuss how the bottom-up side of the organization will continue to play a critical role, particularly by learning to adapt more quickly, and we also discuss how the top-down side of leading becomes more effective by focusing above all on the four leadership dimensions that we have found to be key, and on a leadership agenda with the four leadership tasks identified. Finally, the book concludes with a live example, namely how I am addressing leadership at the CEIBS/Zurich Institute of Business Education (former Lorange Institute of Business Zurich). Plenty of examples are given throughout the book.

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