When Change Is Out of Our Control

In June 2002, the chief financial officer of Oracle Corporation spoke on prospects for the second half of the year (as reported in the Wall Street Journal). His comments were radically different from the upbeat statements typical of one in his position: “We are hoping for a revenue recovery in the second half of the year. But I said that same thing six months ago, and I have lost confidence in my ability to predict the future.”

In his humility, this CFO described the new world of the twenty-first century— this interconnected planet of increased uncertainty and volatility. Organizations are now confronted with two sources of change: the traditional type that is initiated and managed, and external changes over ...

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