When the US financial meltdown hit in 2008, we were asked by our clients and friends, “How deep will it be? How long will it last?” The truth is, no one knows.
Globalization and technology are the two main forces that helped to create a new level of interlocking fragility in the world economy. While global interdependence works in everyone’s favor in good times, it rapidly spreads much pain and damage in bad times.
Turbulence, with its consequent chaos, risk, and uncertainty, is now the “new normality” for industries, markets, and companies. We are hopeful that Chaotics will help you lead your company to maneuver, perform, and thrive in this new age we have now entered. And we look forward to discussing these ideas here.
I had the pleasure of being a guest on Blogtalkradio’s Tom on Leadership to discuss how leaders can use Chaotics to prepare for and be successful throughout this Age of Turbulence. We had a great discussion on leadership habits for strategic thinking and scenario planning that I wanted to share with you.
You can find the full interview below. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
While the news of the increased unemployment isn’t the best for the US (and the world), let’s keep it in perspective and find the “silver lining” in it, albeit it in the future, as there is none at the present moment. As we quoted in Chaotics, “It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It’s that they can’t see the problem.” Seeing the problem will take a bit more time, so don’t be surprised if unemployment in the US tops 10 percent by the end of 2009 and stays there into 1Q10.
More and more companies will eventually begin to realize that what we’re experiencing is not merely a deep, prolonged recession, but rather a wholesale restructuring of the economy—and moreover, that we’ve entered The Age of Turbulence—which will require new business platforms—Chaotics Platforms—to handle turbulence and minimize or prevent chaos. Once business and government leaders begin to understand what they must do, I’m confident that the unemployment figures will begin to reverse direction.
Also, once transitional unemployment begins to settle down sometime next year—to somewhere around or just above 8 percent, that the US, and the world, economies will be on firmer footing. While the idea of a floor of 8 percent unemployment may be troubling to many, let’s focus on the 92 percent that will be employed on a more solid footing, and be better able to hold up the US economy during turbulence — and even heightened turbulence.
By John Caslione in Turbulence at September 27th, 2009
In Chaotics we identify “The Rise of the Rest” (BRIC nations - Brazil, Russia, India and China) as a key cause of Chaos with regards to global economic and political stability. For example, China’s low cost manufacturing has put great pressure on non-BRIC countries to compete in terms of price.
In mid-September, the US unexpectedly imposed emergency tariffs on Chinese produced tires and poultry. It should be noted that here the turbulence here is being generated by the US, relatively developed nation, in response to the relatie new comer, China. This is is often the case. It is not in China’s best interest to directly cause the turbulence but rather more tactfully to point out that the US was the one breaking the WTO rules. Beijing immediately accused Obama of “rampid protectionism” with the China’s minister of commerce Chen Deming saying that it “sends the wrong signal to the world”. These are Turbulent times indeed.
To understand market turbulence and its effect on business, it may be helpful to review concepts of turbulence in nature as well as in science and physics. Turbulence in the natural world is characterized by violent or agitated behavior. Think of hurricanes, windstorms, tornados, cyclones, and tsunamis. Their defining characteristics are violence, randomness, and unpredictability. (Chaotics Chapter 1: The World Has Entered A New Economic Stage: From Normality to Turbulence)
The increasing familiar Sino-US war of words over trade exemplifies the changing balance of global power. They mask the deeper forces at work. Beijing has show increasingly sophisticated legal strategies in dealing with trade disputes, maximizing political effect while minimizing economic downsides. The US has a weakening hand in the game that is global politics, something that is increasingly clear to all. The US is going to need to raise it’s game In order to continue to compete in this Age of Turbulence.
Mind Tools has created an excellent review of Chaotics. It is a great summary of the book and I wanted to share it with you. Below is the audio or you can download a PDF of the transcript if you prefer. Hope you find it useful!
In times of unprecedented turbulence and volatility, new ways of thinking about and approaching the enormous issues facing business leaders are essential. Chaotics provides a compelling analysis of the issues and the roadmap needed to navigate through an increasingly risky and unpredictable business environment.
John HahnManaging Director, Providence Equity
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