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Beating the Global Odds: Successful Decision-making in a Confused and Troubled World

ISBN: 978-1-118-34711-9
224 pages
October 2012
Beating the Global Odds: Successful Decision-making in a Confused and Troubled World (1118347110) cover image

The Answer to Global Overload

Contending with the 24/7 news cycle and an endless barrage of choices and information has stymied leadership and decision-making strategies among those at the top. But we all know, this is not a just a problem for the elite. The broad-based reaction to this chaotic, unmanageable assault has been to retrench, and to focus on immediate, controllable decisions.  In the process, we lose sight of the horizon. More dangerous still, is the shift we’ve seen from value creation to wealth creation, where information technology 1.0 has enabled a transaction-based society in which the “deal” is more important than the value it drives or the relationships it is based on.   On our current path, the odds of a better future are slim.

What we need is a new value proposition.

Beating the Global Odds is the answer to the dangers of too much of a good thing.  There’s no going back, but there is the opportunity to set things right. In this book, Paul A. Laudicina, Managing Partner and Chairman of the Board of global consulting firm A.T. Kearney, provides a fast-paced and engaging tour of how we got to this point and what we can do about it.

Drawing on examples from everything from world history and current media to anecdotes from his vast network of CEOs and the world’s most innovative thinkers, Laudicina helps bring our world of seemingly fuzzy and disconnected pixels into sharp focus. 

The result is a compelling case for change and call to action—not only for global leaders but also for everyone who struggles with the question of how we can inspire and seize a better future…  how we can beat the global odds.

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Foreword xi

Introduction Seizing the Future Is (Fortunately) Not a Game of Chance 1

Chapter 1 Global Brain Freeze 13

Nonstop Overstimulation Brings Disorientation

Chapter 2 Fast and Fickle 27

The Ever-Shorter Half-Life of Everything

Chapter 3 Rudderless World 45

Angry Populism, Incapacitated Government, and Stray Capitalism

Chapter 4 Lighten the Load and Make

It Sesame Street Simple 73

Chapter 5 Repair Your Social Fabric 87

Why Relationships Always Trump Transactions

Chapter 6 Don’t Wait for the Next Big Thing 101

Chapter 7 Open the Aperture 125

Widen Your Lens, But Do So with Discernment

Chapter 8 Turning Pixels into a Clearer Picture 147

Applying Scenario Thinking to Make a Better Future Possible

Epilogue: The Next Chapter 177

Afterword 181

Selected Bibliography 187

Acknowledgments 191

About the Author 195

Index 197

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Paul A. Laudicina is the CEO, chairman of the board, and managing partner at global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, and the founder and chairman of the firm's Global Business Policy Council. With over forty years of professional experience in government, research, business, and at the United Nations, he has worked with leaders from all backgrounds across a broad range of strategic, corporate, and public policy issues. The author of World Out of Balance, one of the top business books of 2005, Laudicina was named to Consulting magazine's annual ranking of the "Top 25 Most Influential Consultants" in 2005 and 2007.

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October 01, 2012
Beating the Global Odds: Successful Decision-Making in a Confused and Troubled World

Our society at all levels—business, government and individuals—is bombarded by a constant stream of communication choices and data.The 24/7 news cycle, which now includes powerful social media platforms, is relentless. While more information and the ease of obtaining it have been positioned as positive developments, Paul Laudicina, Managing Partner and Chairman of the Board of global consulting firm A.T. Kearney, argues in BEATING THE GLOBAL ODDS: Successful Decision-Making in a Confused and Troubled World (Wiley; October 9, 2012; Hardcover; $34.95)that the opposite is often true. Instead, what results are leaders, employees, and citizens who are stymied, overwhelmed and paralyzed. Only by taking concerted steps to focus beyond immediate and controllable decisions—and instead look to the horizon—can we shape our society for the better.

In BEATING THE GLOBAL ODDS, Laudicina takes the reader on a grand tour of how we got to this point and what we can do about it. Drawing on examples from world history, current media, and the world’s most innovative thinkers, he shows how we can all function better and smarter, no matter what our calling. Part of the solution, he writes, is to lighten our loads and focus on “simplicity, sustainability, and self-fulfillment”; rebuild our relationships and the frayed bonds of trust across all segments of society; and reject information overload and learn to become “discerning omnivores.” But Laudicina also argues that in order for us to put these ideas into motion, we need a new brand of leadership in politics as well. We need leaders, he writes, grounded in values, who dare to reach beyond the constraints of ideology to seize opportunity, manage risk, and employ innovative thinking.

As part of an interview, Laudicina can discuss:

  • Why“doing good” ends up being the best bet a company or government can make, and how we can change our values system to make good more attractive than profits.
  • How an angry electorate and capitalism gone astray go hand in hand in the U.S. and around the world
  • How to heal the rift between business and consumers by rebuilding trust and personal relationships
  • Why the simplicity revolution among consumers is good for business, and how companies can follow suit in their offerings
  • How to become a “discerning omnivore” by seeking out new experiences, people, media, and experts to learn from, but without being overwhelmed

Laudicina has a singular perspective on the leadership challenges facing America today. Before becoming a name in business, he studied for the clergy and then worked for several years on Capitol Hill, including a period as then-Senator Joe Biden’s chief of staff. Given his wide range of life experiences, Laudicina is uniquely qualified to offer both the 50,000-foot overview of how recent shifts in our society have brought us to where we are today, as well as the on-the-ground changes we must implement to fix what is broken.

Reversing course from our post-Great Recession atomized society to rising-tide prosperity is within our grasp, Laudicina writes. BEATING THE GLOBAL ODDS is an unprecedented call to action—not only for global leaders, but for everyone who struggles with the question of how we can create a better future. I urge you to schedule coverage for October, and I will call soon to follow up with you.

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