THE CONFERENCE: UNDAUNTED - How Successful Leaders Face Wicked Problems & Preventable Surprises

Updated: Feb 2

The conference will take place in London on March 9th. Download the Conference Brochure for full details. Tickets can be bought online.

The Back Story

In December 2019 Paul Barnett, Founder & CEO of the Strategic Management Forum was asked to speak at a conference organised by the people on the Doctors in Business Administration programs at Warwick Business School. The focus of the conference was "Reframing Impact-Driving Change Under Wicked Conditions". Paul's talk was "Undaunted: How Successful Leaders Face Wicked Problems".

Leaders are increasingly concerned with what are variously called "messes", "Black Swan" events, and Wicked Problems because the environment in which businesses and organisations operate is said to be VUCA - Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. These external factors are analysed using the PESTLE mnemonic for Political, Economic, Social, Technology, Legal and Environmental factors. They are usually analyse as a way to identify and manage risks. But are they the real cause of corporate crises? No!

Almost all corporate crises were predictable, and should have been predicted. And the cause is almost always the result of bad strategic decisions and management failings. Evidence of this is provided in the PwC Crisis Survey 2019 and in the postmortem results that follow every crisis. High profile cases illustrate the problem and the massive cost of them, but they represent the tip of the iceberg. The result in corporate failure or under-performance and they are a drag on the levels of prosperity societies could enjoy. We urgently need to address these issues as a strategic management priority, and that is the purpose of the conference.

Paul's conference paper was followed by two articles. The first article introduced the problem. The second article explored it in more detail. The conference will here from many of the experts mentioned and others. It will also mark the start of a major Strategic Management Forum research initiative into Predictable Surprises, and inform the design of an even larger multi-disciplinary "Inquiry Into The Nature and Causes of the Prosperity of Nations" to be launched in June. The Strategic Management Forum, in partnership with BE Advisory, is also offering Director Briefings, Courses and a Workshop Program to help leaders learn how to become Undaunted.

You can also access the confirmed speakers list the latest agenda on the Strategic Management Forum website. A growing body of knowledge will be published in a mew Medium Publication. And, download the Conference Brochure

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