Faced with company bankruptcies that come as a surprise to everyone, together with market trends that emerge out of nowhere, and also increasing competition on the global market, managers can quickly start to panic. Their instinctive reaction is to increase cost control and to implement better planning and optimization. I say this is precisely the wrong way to go.
For optimization narrows your room for manoeuvre. Here is an example: the efficiency of an aeroplane is at its greatest at a point at which it is at the greatest possible height and it uses the least possible amount of fuel, and at which minimum and maximum speed occur in close proximity. It is not without reason that this altitude zone is referred to as “coffin corner”, as every unforeseen event that occurs may prove sufficient to bring down a high-flyer. Being highly efficient also means finding yourself in great danger!
The same goes for companies and organisations undergoing upheaval during the move towards a digital society. That which was supposed to bring certainty actually increases uncertainty. When unforeseeable events occur, highly-complex, chaotic interactions increase rapidly. What was initially a safety net quickly becomes a shackle.
In this book I would like to invite you to understand the degree to which the way we approach uncertainty is shaped by cultural conventions, thereby inviting you to lose your shackles. We Europeans want to curb uncertainty, whereas those from an Arab or African culture are used to living with uncertainty. What western companies can learn from these cultures is flexibility, multi-tracked planning, a tolerance of failure, and the need to leave room for intuition.
The outcome is that you no longer fear unexpected change – rather you use change to achieve personal success.