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The Forward-Looking Manager in a VUCA World

The Forward-Looking Manager in a VUCA World

  • Col. Vikram Bakshi - Head, Stores & Material Management, EPC with O & M Sites, Power Plant Projects, Thermax Ltd

October 2017 | 312 pages | SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd

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Many large organizations are having to cede their market dominance to new disruptive players. Well-oiled organizations are hitting roadblocks due to unanticipated problems that are slowing down operations. VUCA is affecting organizations like never before - impacting schedules, delaying deliverables, and causing cost overruns. Managing projects has become a nightmare with the uncertainties and ambiguities of business, delaying integration of allied activities, making the project a non-starter even before it gets off the ground. In this VUCA world, it is imperative to confront the volatile, embrace the unknown, conquer the complex, and understand the ambiguous to be able to predict what lies ahead.

This book helps managers master the art of dealing with VUCA by providing relatable experiences from the armed forces and advocating the use of RACE methodology. The book suggests disruptive tools and methods, and advises managers on the leadership traits needed for successfully completing projects by cutting losses and preventing chaos. It is a must-read for all managers involved in operations, supply chain, logistics, and production and manufacturing portfolios. Ex-army personnel who are starting a second career in the corporate/private sector will also greatly benefit from reading this book.
Foreword by Tapan Misra
Strength of Character and Leadership
Countering VUCA with Disruption
Anticipate VUCA with Advance Information
Orientation to Avoid VUCA
Strategic Planning for a VUCA Future
Tactical Planning
Operational Planning to Prevent VUCA
Execution in VUCA Conditions
Monitoring and Control
The Hybrid Leader
Closing of the Project
Technology to Help in Countering VUCA

The parallels between military and management thinking have long been known, with frequent allusions to strategies, tactics, and campaign. Col. Bakshi hammers these home with examples from his own career and their implications for management in an easy, howto manual. This will be a useful compendium for fresh entrants to management careers. 

Dr Shreekant Sambrani
Economist and Management Consultant, Formerly Professor, IIM Ahmedabad and Founder-Director, IRMA

The thought itself of writing a book on this subject is laudable and on top of it to make it an interesting read is a great effort of immense dedication. The book is infused with experience, knowledge, and wisdom. The basic principles of success are the same in all projects with the core requirement being the speedy and timely completion of the task with high quality standards delivered at least cost.

An army man is a trained professional, a master of all of the above, with an ingrained tadka of loyalty, dedication, integrity, and forthrightness with a very high sense of responsibility/accountability. It is ironic that the nation, the public sector, the corporate world, and all other enterprises have neither realized the worth of this huge disciplined human resource of lakhs and lakhs of veterans nor been able to utilise/exploit them. That is only one side of the story. Equally at fault is the poor adaptability of the dedicated veteran to the totally alien working environment of the corporate world. While learning new tricks of the trade is easy, the “unlearning” of the hardcore values that he imbibed during the service period, is the more difficult part. Most veterans are capable of the most difficult of the tasks, but this simple process of adapting to the corporate work culture seems an uphill and herculean task. It is so because the service values get absorbed in your blood and become a part of your persona. But then there are success stories of the likes of Colonel Wahi, who gave ONGC its growth and character, and many others. It is possible with a little serious and conscious effort. This is where this book will come handy, which is a very well-meaning, benign effort, outlining many relevant aspects and methodology for this transformation. A lot of space has been dedicated to strategy, careful and detailed planning and preparation, and stages right through the journey of the project, from drawing board to the turn key phase. Insha Allah, this will be a guiding light to the veterans who aim for a corporate career. My compliments to Colonel Vikram Bakshi for the thought and its culmination into this lovely treatise. 

Brig. (Retd) Vijay Saxena
Senior Vice President, D S Green Agrotech Pvt Ltd

Very useful compendium of time tested techniques in project management and troubleshooting. A must read for all project managers. The book is a simple and easy to follow step-by-step guide to success for every project manager.

S. K. Soni
Former Operation Head Power Division Thermax and General Manager, Project Rohan Builder

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ISBN: 9789386602312