The Visionary's Handbook: Nine Paradoxes That Will Shape the Future of Your Business

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9780066619873: The Visionary's Handbook: Nine Paradoxes That Will Shape the Future of Your Business

Building upon the Age of Possibility first espoused in their provocative and acclaimed The 500 Year Delta, Watts Wacker and Jim Taylor now welcome readers to the Age of Uncertainty, where, because life has never been easier, it has never been more difficult.

In this unprecedented new book, Wacker and Taylor present a vision of the present and future that goes beyond all the chaos and complexity of our times. With a clear and firm grasp of their material, they proceed to chart a method for readers to create a personal course for the future.

This navigational route is premised upon the authors' profound understanding of nine mind-boggling paradoxes that capture the imponderables of modern life, and define the business and social climates of the world as we move forward into the new millennium:

  • The Paradox of the Visionary The closer your vision gets to a provable truth, the more you are simply describing the present. In the same way, the more certain you are of a future outcome, the more likely you will be wrong.

  • The Paradox of Value The value of any product becomes inseparable from a buyer's perception of worth. Instead of intrinsic value, we have relative value only--the products that a business makes bear diminished relations to the physical content of the offering.

  • The Paradox of Size The bigger you are, the smaller you need to be.

  • The Paradox of Time To succeed in the short term, you need to think in the long term. Yet the greater your vision and the longer the time interval over which you predict results, the greater the risk that you will be unable to take the necessary steps in the short term to achieve the long-term goals. The tension between short- and long-term planning has never been more tormented.

  • The Paradox of Competition Your biggest competitor is your own view of your future; competition comes from everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

  • The Paradox of Action You've got to go for what you can't expect to get; nothing will turn out exactly as it's supposed to. You must act intuitively and be equally ready to take resolute counter-intuitive action.

  • The Paradox of Leadership To lead from the front, you have to stay inside the story. In an inherently inconsistent world, consistency is not the virtue it once was in our leaders.

  • The Paradox of Leisure Play is hard work; play and work are blending and becoming indistinguishable.

  • The Paradox of Reality Every person on planet Earth today has the potential to be connected to every other person, and every single one of us inhabits a world of our own and is a marketing segment of absolutely one. As our links become stronger, our individuation becomes starker.

A bold, incisive book, The Visionary's Handbook captures the interlocking web o paradoxes that abound in everyday business life, and provides an essential map to help make the future work for every individual and every company in the challenging and uncertain times ahead.

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Review:

At a time when business bestsellers such as Six Sigma are touting scientific management, The Visionary's Handbook desires to be different. Authors Watts Wacker, Jim Taylor, and Howard Means forgo the nuts-and-bolts approach for a philosophical look at management, examining nine broad trends, or "paradoxes," they say are shaping business today.

At the heart of these paradoxes lies change--change that is occurring at an increasing rate. The more certain we are of the future, say the authors, the more likely we are to be wrong. To support their argument, they cite both online and real-world examples, including Xerox, eBay, Kodak, and Cisco. Their observations, if not groundbreaking, are certainly accurate. For instance, the Paradox of Size--the bigger your company, the smaller it needs to appear--has been explored at length in Customers.com. Similarly, the need for continual innovation--even to the detriment of your core business--is a paradox that merits attention and one that readers of The Innovator's Dilemma will recognize.

The Visionary's Handbook is about more than just paradoxes, though. Interspersed throughout its pages are exercises challenging readers to pencil in the future they want to see, to visualize and outline their success. Some may find these exercises a valuable and practical addition to the text. Broadly conceived and thought-provoking, The Visionary's Handbook will be an eye opener for many readers. --Demian McLean

About the Author:

Watts Wacker FirstMatter LLC, a company bringing the future to corporations, and is the futurist at one of the nation's foremost think tanks.



Jim Taylor is a lecturer and consultant to cutting-edge companies.



Watts Wacker FirstMatter LLC, a company bringing the future to corporations, and is the futurist at one of the nation's foremost think tanks.

Jim Taylor is a lecturer and consultant to cutting-edge companies.

Howard Means is a novelist and senior editor of the Washingtonian.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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