Schwartz, Peter. The
Art of the Long View: The Path to Strategic Insight for Yourself and
Your Company. New York: Doubleday, 1991.
A good, brief work
on the utility of scenario building in organizational planning,
including some pointers on devising a scenario building process
within your own organization. Very interesting examples: Schwartz
was formerly in the long-range planning division of Shell Oil.
Senge, Peter M. The
Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization.
New York: Doubleday, 1990.
Chapter Eleven, "Shared
Vision" is possibly the best statement yet written on the
usefulness of vision for organizations; the rest of the book
is equally good.
--- The Fifth Discipline
Fieldbook: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization.
New York: Currency/Doubleday, 1994.
dense sourcebook of references, facilitation techniques and activities,
and examples for monitoring change, scenario building, visioning,
team-building, and leadership.
The following books represent
a wider pool of reference works on adapting to change, team building,
vision and leadership, and futures thinking/strategic planning in
organizations. Where the annotation is scanty, you may assume I haven't
finished reading the book myself (should have included a couple on
time management, I guess...). Particularly noteworthy sections are
highlighted in bold.
Kanter, Rosabeth Moss.
The Change Masters. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983.
One of the first books
investigating how highly adaptive organizations get that way.
Kouzes, James M. and
Barry Z. Posner. The Leadership Challenge: How to get extraordinary
things done in organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers,
1991. 362 pp.
Part Three, which includes chapters on envisioning the future,
and enlisting others in building the vision.
Nanus, Bert. The
Leader's Edge: The Seven Keys to Leadership in a Turbulent World.
Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1989. 224 pp.
The codification and
application of insights from his earlier work, Leaders;
clear and straightforward in style, brief, it summarizes the need
for future-oriented thinking and suggests seven "megaskills"
for leadership; Chapter Five, "Futures-Creative Leadership," and
Chapter Eight, "The Leader's Edge," are particularly helpful.
The book's appendix offers a quick workshop technique for environmental
scanning -- identifying emerging change issues critical to
strategic planning -- that is quite useful.
--- Leaders: The
Strategies for Taking Charge. New York: Harper & Row, 1985.
An interesting and
fairly quick read which basically summarizes the case studies
gathered as part of a project on leadership; it is organized as
an elucidation of four leadership strategies. See especially "Strategy
I: Attention Through Vision."
Peters, Tom. Thriving
on Chaos: Handbook for a Management Revolution. New York: Harper
& Row, 1987. 708 pp.
See also Peters and Robert H. Waterman Jr., In Search of Excellence;
and Peters and Nancy Austin, A Passion for Excellence.
Overall, a fun read,
because of his breezy writing style and the many interesting cases
he cites; written as a "how-to" manual. In Chapter Five, "Learning
to Love Change," he highlights the need for organizational
flexibility, adaptiveness, and the critical role vision plays.
(His newest book, another gem (albeit one sorely in need of a
strict editorial hand), is Liberation Management: Necessary
Disorganization for the Nanosecond Nineties. New York: A.A.
Waterman, Robert H.,
Jr. The Renewal Factor. New York: Bantam Books, 1987. Widely
cited work pertinent to keeping up with and adapting to change in
Generally, an acquaintance
with science fiction, either from movies, television, radio, books,
or comics, enhances anybody's ability to think differently about the
possible futures people face. Watch some Star Trek reruns,
or the new Babylon-5. Check a few science fiction movies out
of Blockbuster and consider what it would be like to be an ordinary
person in the future that movie portrays -- or to be planning for
your organization in the future that the movie portrays (e.g., Blade
Runner, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, Brazil, Back
to the Future II, Fahrenheit 451, THX 1138, to name
a few). Artists are sensitive to emerging social and technological
issues, and portray the potential of change more vividly than social
scientists. Speculative fiction offers a quick way to enhance your
mental flexibility. For short forays into the future, the following
authors and short story collections offer very different, and very
memorable, quick reads.
A reprint of a classic;
Ballard had a unique insight into the possibilities that genetic
engineering and biological innovations might support long before
genetic engineering became jargon. Interesting characters moving
through settings with a touch of the surreal. (This is a reprint;
these stories are at least three decades old, but still very original.)
Regrettably, Vermilion Sands is now out of print; you might
instead try The Best Short Stories of J.G. Ballard.
Burning Chrome. New York: Ace Books, 1987.
The stories that started
cyberpunk as a science fiction genre; the stories that gave us
the term, "cyberspace." Gibson's use of language is astonishing.
Varley, John. Blue
Champagne. New York: Ace Books, 1987.
High technology and
space colonies with in-depth treatment of interesting social issues.
One of my all-time favorite authors, if only for the story, "Blue
Champagne," which features a space station built primarily to
house an immense zero-g swimming pool, a quadraplegic heroine,
and the idea of marketing an absolutely genuine emotional media
tape of falling in love.
Zelazny, Roger. The
Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth, and Other Stories.
London: Faber and Faber, 1973.
Classic stories of
human life in space, written before he started making megabucks
on his fantasy-oriented Amber series. Zelazny has a sure
hand with characterizations and human relationships -- and a great
sense of humor.