chapter 1 turbulence

the imperative to adapt


It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

Charles Darwin

the perfect storm

It could have been a boardroom anywhere in the world.

The Managing Director was waiting well before the stroke of 9 am. He looked the part: impeccably groomed, Italian suit, striped shirt, diamond cufflinks, Rolex watch and a favourite red tie. Exactly what you’d get from central casting if you asked for a Managing Director.

On receiving the latest interim results, he’d called an urgent executive meeting.

Meetings were cancelled, flights hurriedly booked and work re-prioritised by super-efficient assistants who made sure their executive arrived on time, fully briefed and, as much as possible, suitably armed.

Ten men in suits sat around the oval table. There were no greetings. The MD went straight to the point.

‘We’ve promised the market $30 million and this looks closer to $10 million.

He fixed his gaze across the crystal water jugs towards the stern quartet of regional Vice Presidents.

‘Is there any chance we can trade out of this in the next quarter?’

They shook their heads in geographical sequence: Asia–Pacific first, Europe last.

It was the toughest conditions they’d ever seen. Retail sales were getting monstered by online upstarts; costs of labour, power and ...

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