​​​​Top Tips From the Research I Did With Captains of Industry

What strategy and policy makers need to know:

Your Expertise Can Cloud Your Judgment. Fix It.

Almost 100 top-managers have joined my research into the ways that they perceive the future of their organization in information about trends and developments. These are the top tips from my research:

  • The future is too complex to predict, but it can be managed with a flexible strategy containing multiple options that you can switch between when developments become clearer
  • Your expertise is the one thing that makes you blind in foresight matters and it stands between you and a flexible, multi-option strategy 
  • Only widening your search to include emerging developments that you didn't know or didn't believe in will reduce expert blindness
  • The best sources for foresight reside in the periphery: defecting customers, start-ups, under-served customers, latent needs, critics, and so forth
  • A multidisciplinary team of generalists and specialists is required to collect and make sense of those emerging developments, systematically and frequently
  • Developments can be plotted onto a canvas by means of cognitive distance: the most alien developments that somehow feel relevant are kept above the table and subject to further monitoring
  • Labeling developments in accordance with their cognitive distance can help to discuss the future based on facts and clear assumptions, rather than emotionally charged beliefs 
  • Emerging developments must be detected early, to give the multidisciplinary team the time they need to develop and collect multiple perspectives before decision-making
  • The consultant's job is to enhance existing expertise within the team with a broader, deeper view, not to predict the future. The consultant is responsible for a process with checks and balances to avoid groupthink, confirmation bias, and other perceptual errors

Waitlist for the management book

Barbara is working on a managerial version of her dissertation. In this book, the results of her research will be framed in real-world examples, completed with methodologies and tips. If you want to be notified when the book is ready to order, please leave your name and email address on the waitlist ⇢