CEO and renown global business thinker, Dr Margaret Heffernan is a charismatic and authoritative speaker who challenges the most common business practices that make us feel comfortable - but leave us in the dark.
The biggest threats and dangers we face are the ones we don't see—not because they're secret, hidden or invisible but because we aren't prepared to face them. That's how good, smart people running companies find themselves blindsided by market changes, technological disruption, cultural problems or criminal behaviour.
In her groundbreaking work, Margaret Heffernan examines the social, psychological, neurological and organisational reasons why it is so hard to know what is going on in your company, your industry and your world. And she explores why some people seem to be able to see better than others and what makes some organisations perspicacious.
Two For One: Seeing Risks/Seizing Opportunity
Big data, market research, social media: we can know more than ever and yet we keep missing the most important trends, information and trends. Why?
What makes companies and individuals wilfully blind? Pulling together a century of psychological, industrial and economic research, Margaret Heffernan argues that wilful blindness is the biggest risk most organisations face. But the good news is that those companies that confront the issue don’t just reduce their risk; they also make themselves inherently more creative and collaborative. It’s a twofer: when you see more, you can make more and risk less.
The One Firm Firm
After years of streamlining and hunkering down to weather the crises, what companies now most need to do is pull their people together. Collaboration and innovation are vital skills in global business—but where do they come from?
How do leading companies get the alignment, trust and energy they need to get their people to work well together? What are the impediments to, and habits of, creative collaborative teams?
Working across cultures, time zones and technology is logistically difficult but it’s usually the human factors that make it hard for companies to achieve their aims. Everyone talks about collaboration but few know how to do it, what it feels like or what organisational structures enable—or disable—it. What they all know is that if they can’t figure out how to do it will, others will.
The Future of Leadership
Leaders used to run their organisations with a 3 step process: forecast/plan/execute – and for decades, it worked well enough. But now the future is uncertain, stake holders demand participation and transparency and long-term thinking, while crucial, feels harder than ever.
In an age of ambiguity and anxiety, what are the crucial skills and characteristics that leaders must have? What is their relationship to experts, to stake holders, to the world at large. Where will we find such leaders and what kind of development will they require?
We are addicted to prediction because we want to plan for the future, and because uncertainty is so uncomfortable. But there are huge pitfalls in forecasting and it’s critical to understand how far we can rely on them. Why do they so often let us down? Under what circumstances are they reliable? How can we use forecasting well without becoming addicted to its false certainties.
The End of Efficiency
Since the Industrial Revolution, people and processes have been managed for efficiency: bigger, faster, cheaper. Technology optimises for efficiency too. It is the watchword of management everywhere.
But while efficiency delivers tangible benefits in complicated environments, it plays havoc with complex ones. Being able to distinguish the difference between the two, knowing when efficiency is safe and when its dangerous, has never been more critical. Get it wrong and companies risk spending too much, amplifying endemic risks or missing huge opportunities to innovate. In today’s organisations, being too efficient is as dangerous as being spendthrift. How can you tell when efficiency is your friend – or a foe?