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How To Lead A Quest: A Guidebook for Pioneering Leaders


AUD $29.95

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How To Lead A Quest: A Guidebook for Pioneering Leaders

Jason Fox

ISBN: 978-0-730-32471-3 January 2016 304 Pages


Unlock progress through doubt and uncertainty

The biggest threat facing modern business is the sheer complexity of an uncertain future. That, and the fact that everyone is busy. Too busy for progress.

Workplace cultures have become cursed with efficiency. And so when it comes to developing strategy, we default to our defaults.We favour quick fixes, easy templates and familiar approaches, developing ‘robust plans' that do little to mitigate strategic risk or generate new value. The result? The future comes, and businesses die.

But no longer! *cue trumpets* How to Lead a Quest is a book for pioneering leaders - folks who know that enterprise strategy is far too important to condemn to ‘smart goals', 'a clear vision for the future' and other such rubbish. Within this book, you'll discover how to:

  • liberate enterprise leadership and workplace cultures from the curse of efficiency, default thinking and the delusion of progress
  • explore complex and uncertain futures to find profound insights that mitigate strategic risks and ensure your business model remains viable
  • create new value and enduring relevance by pioneering into unchartered and unprecedented territory 
  • embed new structures and rituals into your enterprise to build for the future, while still delivering operational excellence today.

Not for the faint of heart or short-of-wit, this uniquely refreshing book bravely tackles the paradox that is pioneering leadership. You'll discover how to lead meaningful progress - even if you don't know what the goal or destination looks like.

About the Author ix

Gratitudes xi

Introduction xv

Part I Default Thinking and the Kraken of Doom

Why lead a quest?

1. The Anatomy of Default Thinking 3

Cognitive shortcuts & the virtues of laziness

2. The Curse of Efficiency 15

A Delusion of Progress & the bane of strategy

3. A Rainbow of Growth and Despair 23

A default growth arc & the Inevitable Kraken of Doom

Summary 35

Part II A Quest Beckons

What makes up a quest?

4. An Alternative Option 41

A call to adventure & the hidden benefits of doubt

5. Quest-Augmented Strategy 59

A framework for meaningful progress & enduring relevance

6. Here be Dragons 69

Dissociated metacognition & the siren call of self-sabotage

Summary 79

Part III Cultivating Options

How do we find alternative pathways?

7. An Intuitive Reckoning 85

A nagging hunch & the hint of strategic advantage

8. Intriguing Incoherence 93

Pioneering through uncertainty, complexity & paradox

9. Pathways of Possibility 113

A quiver of options & the anticipation of chooks

Summary 119

Part IV Crafting Experiments

How do we validate alternative pathways?

10. It’s Not About Ideas 125

The many virtues of a science-based approach

11. Planning to Fail 141

Navigating the nine layers of Fell

12. Viable Alternative Options 155

Packaged intelligence & a path to follow

Summary 163

Part V Augmenting Strategy

How do we lead better strategy?

13. Back to the Future 169

Getting strategic about strategy

14. Choosing to Choose 177

Mapping options & dodging cognitive bias

15. Strategy for Breakfast 191

The networked enterprise & a responsive hydra

Summary 201

Part VI Making Progress

How do we create meaningful progress?

16. Bimodal Beginnings 207

Planting seeds & growing new ways of working

17. Meaningful Progress 215

Finding progress amongst a sea of vagueness

18. Mission Impossible 219

Projects with imperative & a few caveats

Summary 223

Part VII Pioneering Culture

How do we embed pioneering leadership into work culture?

19. Lost in Translation 229

Finding the behaviours that make strategy happen

20. Structures, Artefacts and Rituals 237

Getting deliberate about the vibe

21. Contextual Momentum 245

A map of rituals to get you moving

Summary 267

Conclusion 269

Index 273