This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

August 1, 2001

Executives Wrestle with Strategic Uncertainty

Senior executives used to be full of knowledge, insight, wisdom, and a sort of sixth sense that enabled them to steer their organizations into the future with confidence. Conditions have changed. With rapid, and sometimes unexpected, change, even seasoned leaders have felt uncertainty. The consequent diminished level of confidence has caused the premature departure of a number of chief executive officers recently. Turnover at the top affects organizations internally and, through the stock market, externally. Customers and suppliers become concerned when they sense a lack of understanding, focus, and commitment among senior people.

With all the influences on corporate direction and strategy, savvy leaders are looking outside their own management teams for answers. Members of boards of directors and boards of advisors are being asked for more input. The demand for greater pro-activity is challenging some board members--people who signed on to make reactive decisions rather than to initiate and raise issues that have not been presented by management. Some top executives admit to serving on boards to learn more about how to run their own companies.

As executives look beyond their own organizations for answers, they look to their trade and professional associations to provide information and advice. Associations have had to expand their research staffs and design more creative idea-sharing experiences into national, regional, and local conferences. There is an inherent risk if only industry people are involved: Soon the information is going around in circles . . .and so are member executives. Many associations are doing an admirable job with research, with some using outside resources such as futurist researchers.

We encourage you to look internally for resources. Your people know your company, your industry, your markets. Their input could be invaluable to assist senior executives in making the right strategic decisions.

Invest some time in reading books on trends and current strategic thinking. Visit for ideas.

Consider engaging consulting futurists to provide interactive, executive briefings for your leaders. We have been called into a number of companies (some call us their secret weapon) to explore trends, raise issues, and stimulate thinking. Interested? Call us.

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