Dave Snowden

The Strategic Mind & “awkward passion”

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41AlbE2UDtL._SL160_.jpgI am pleased to say Bob Gorzynski’s new book is out and available either from the publisher or Amazon. I had the privilege of writing the forward so if you buy it you get 5K words from me as well. Bob’s book is an important contribution to how we think about strategy and is built around seven key disciplines:

  1. Know your own story
  2. Think small
  3. Act slowly
  4. Serve others
  5. Reflect
  6. Be simple
  7. Dream

My introduction provides (I think) one of the better overviews I have written to complexity theory and its application to strategy. I then go on to look at each of Bob’s disciplines from a complexity (and a narrative) perspective. In my consideration of the seventh discipline I wrote: Humans have an ability to transcend their environment and create their own realties. They can engineer their physical and social environments rather than just respond to them. This is a responsibility as well as a capability. If we don’t dream of futures that enable ethical systems then we will never get them. Innovation is the result of mavericks or accidents not planning, and mavericks have what I call awkward passion, it disturbs people. Too may people try to make things familiar and ordinary, they do not attempt to transform the limits of the present to seek new possibilities.<

Ethical approaches to strategy are of increasing practical importance. To take one topical example. I asked a former senior government official in Singapore recently why years ago they had banned derivative trading. His simple answer was that it was immoral, banking should provide an ethical point of stability to any market system and trading on the failure of others was wrong.