From Publishers Weekly
Like fossilized skeletons of species past, the carcasses of companies that failed to heed the shifting winds of change litter the landscape of the business world. Strategic planner Schoemaker presents various examples of blindered business outlooks in this guide to making the best of a rapidly changing world. As he freely admits, change is not manageable in the least and is often quite scary. "Uncertainty cannot be pinned down or coaxed into cages. It is only partly tamable, and we must learn to live with the beast." These are brave and true words, and it's to Schoemaker's credit that he states them up front. (Too many business gurus insist that everything can be planned for given a generous layout of consulting fees, of course and easily managed.) Schoemaker's point is that too many companies try to figure out the future by looking at the past (Cisco's sad story is a particularly telling example of this tendency). Of course, the book's litany of mistakes and don't-repeat-this case studies start to seem like just another way of looking backwards into the future. There is some valuable information here, though, as Schoemaker breaks down the scenario-building process and shows readers how to gaze into the crystal ball and plan for not just one, but multiple possible futures. He also addresses the importance of things like simply getting a company's higher-ups to listen to you. Although not groundbreaking, this is a worthy and useful reminder of the danger of resting on one's laurels.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
"Paul Schoemaker belongs to an extremely exclusive club -- the one for business authors who are both leading-edge practitioners and academic researchers. This extraordinary book offers eminently practical, yet theoretically pure, advice for managers in these uncertain times."
(Hugh Courtney, Ph.D. McKinsey consultant and author of 20/20 Foresight)
"The title says it all...Schoemaker guides us through the uncertainties and anxieties that confound business post-dotcom/post-September 11/post-Enron/post-economic downturn. He shows how businesspeople can create scenarios that will make them prepared and how the prepared can exploit the opportunities inherent in an uncertain world."
(Professor Marvin Zonis, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago)
"This is the strategic equivalent of a good liberal arts education. It teaches you a broad-based approach that will keep you from being surprised by change."
(Alberto Ibargüen Publisher, The Miami Herald)
"Paul Schoemaker describes a strategic process that will better prepare organizations for the future. This book is an invaluable guide for managers in both the public and private sectors."
(Henry Hatch, 47th Chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Commanding General)