Leadership means many things, but first and foremost a leader is the person out in front who is making the decisions that set an organization’s course into the future. Leadership requires vision, and vision is grounded in knowledge. As humans we have a strong tendency to hang on to the things that we think that we know. That complacency can mean death in times as volatile as these. It is almost trite to point out that the assumptions from five years ago no longer apply today. Even so almost all of us continue to act on those assumptions anyway. A recent study found that 80% of business failure could ultimately be traced to a single cause: underestimation of strategic risk. That is business school speak for not recognizing that the light at the end of the tunnel is in fact the headlight of the oncoming train. And regardless of past success even the giants can fall.
The good news is that whether enjoying current success or trying to pick up the pieces there is a clear and practical path forward. There is a way to both improve an organization’s vision and create new opportunities at the same time. It requires redefining knowledge in a profound and powerful way. It is the way to step out from behind the screen of our assumptions to see the world for what it really is. This is not an easy road to follow. It requires fundamental changes in our habits of mind. It takes constant and unending vigilance and is often anything but comfortable. But it is worth it. Knowledge is power.
You know that the world is watching when you can’t turn on a late night talk show without seeing the project to which you have devoted your life turned into an ongoing bad joke. Dr. Hester has seen failure at close range. He has also been in the trenches working to rebuild greatness. In this lively presentation rich with stories from the front lines, Dr. Hester offers his perspective on what it takes to make high stakes decisions in a fast-paced world.