Should Strategists Take Baths? The Byzantine Empire’s Lesson in Surviving Uncertainty

Why do some organizations survive and thrive while others falter? The question has long been asked, and the proposed answers are many, but one factor that seems to play a very strong role is the ability to maintain a creative connection with the changing reality of one’s environment. A historical example is the survival of the Byzantine Empire.


Welcome to uncertainty ! My new book is out on September 28th

My new book “Welcome to uncertainty!” will be available on September 28th.

The 2008 financial crisis, Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, the Covid-19 epidemic, the invasion of Ukraine, the return of inflation, and what next? The list of surprises keeps growing. Against this backdrop, a new perspective on forecasting is imperative. How can we thrive in a world we can’t predict?

Drawing on the author’s extensive research and real-world insights from working with leaders of all types of organizations, this book :

– Reveals the nature of our unpredictable reality,

– Addresses decision making amidst information scarcity, and

– Equips organizations to thrive in uncertain waters.

Essential reading for leaders, innovators, and those determined to harness the potential of change, this book is your compass in an uncertain and ever-evolving landscape.

📭 ▶️▶️▶️Pre-orders on Amazon are available here.

A 🇫🇷 French version of the book published by Diateino is available here.

How innovators negotiate entrenched mental models. Lessons from Thomas Edison

Innovation, the driving force behind progress, often faces a formidable adversary: entrenched mental models. These cognitive frameworks shape our understanding of the world and can become barriers to the acceptance of breakthrough ideas. Managing the dynamic between innovation and prevailing mental models is the innovator’s challenge. Thomas Edison’s promotion of electric lighting over gas provides an example of how this challenge was successfully met.


How declining organizations create an imaginary double

Organizations in decline tend to create an imaginary double in which they lock themselves. This double is themselves, but in an idealized version. It is a mask that they create to hide and to insulate themselves from a reality that they refuse, letting the world go without them, even against them. The dissolution of this double, i.e. the acceptance of reality, however unpleasant it may be, is a prerequisite for any recovery. A good illustration of this is provided by the Apple turnaround in 1997.


Why mental models should be the key topic of your next executive seminar

The Covid-19 crisis completely disrupted the strategy of all organizations, reducing plans to nothing. Like any disruption, it corresponded to a process in development whose consequences unfolded, and continue to unfold, progressively on all levels: sanitary, social, economic, but also political and geo-political. It was followed two years later by another disruption, the invasion of Ukraine, which had a similar effect. For organizations, such disruptions impose a complete revision not only of their strategy, but of the way it is defined and of the fundamental beliefs on which the process is based, and in particular on how decisions are made in an organization. It requires a rethink of strategy, management and leadership.


“Start with why” is an Appealing Slogan; but Don’t Fall for it

Start with ‘why’! Having a big ‘why’, a noble and ambitious reason for being (purpose), is the secret of winning business strategies. That’s what Simon Sinek, author of the best-selling book Starting with Why, explains. According to him, all organizations know what they do, and most of them also know how they do it. But very few know why they do what they do. Only those with a big ‘why’ can really succeed, and defining that ‘why’ is therefore a prerequisite for any ambitious strategic thinking. It sounds logical, it’s certainly appealing, and it’s a widespread belief today, but it’s wrong. Let’s see… why.


Building the Organization for Uncertainty: Lessons from The German Army’s Prewar Leadership Model

[version en français ici]

How can an organization not only protect itself from uncertainty, but more importantly take advantage of it? The question is a hot one these days. It preoccupies many strategists, jumping from one crisis to another in a world that has become highly unstable and full of surprises. One source of inspiration, perhaps unexpected, is the German army, which built, from the end of the 19th century, a very powerful leadership model from which we can learn a lot.


Redefining strategy for uncertain times: Learning from Apple’s 1997 Turnaround

The Covid shock in the spring of 2020 shattered strategic plans. The continuing uncertainty, exacerbated two years later by the invasion of Ukraine, has led some executives to question the very possibility of having a strategy when everything keeps changing. Are we living in a post-strategy world? The short answer is no; we need strategy more than ever, but it depends on how you define strategy. The Apple turnaround in 1997 provides a useful lesson.