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The Forward-Looking Manager in a VUCA World

The Forward-Looking Manager in a VUCA World

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

September 2017 | 312 pages | SAGE Response

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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

“A must-have for all dealing with projects and operations of any nature. Happy reading!”

Tapan Mishra,
Director, Space Applications Center, ISRO, Ahmedabad

“A must-have for all dealing with projects and operations of any nature. Happy reading!”

Tapan Mishra,
Director, Space Applications Center, ISRO, Ahmedabad

Armed forces is undoubtedly the best institution for management training. One learns to be a leader, constantly facing challenging situations in a hostile environment, often with inadequate resources, and coming out a winner. This experience when applied to the corporate world can work wonders. And that is what this book is all about, inspiring managers to take charge of VUCA situations during planning and execution. The numerous examples taken from military life make for an interesting read. The author has very appropriately woven his experiences in the army with the requirements of the modern-day industry to chart a course for success.

Lt Gen. (Dr) A. K. S. Chandele, PVSM, AVSM
President, Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers Former Director General, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, Indian Army

Conflict and corporate environment are characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity in a highly dynamic and competitive context. The author has hands-on experience of conflicts and corporate culture. He correlates military and corporate life artfully in this book, offering a rich, pragmatic, and fascinating account. His style is innovative, refreshing, lucid, and captivating. His deep insights not only make the book an interesting read but also serve as a guide to leadership and skill development for achieving competitive success.

Maj. Gen. B. K. Sharma, AVSM, SM, and Bar (Retd)
Deputy Director (Research) and Head, Centre for Strategic Studies and Simulation, USI of India, New Delhi

A thorough book for all aspiring managers endeavoring for an indepth understanding of each stage of the project life cycle. The author has sequentially crafted the chapters with perfect understanding of what is expected in planning and execution so that each stage is devoid of a VUCA issue. This book will ensure that new generation managers are conscious of the waste and losses and become the future force multipliers in their respective companies. 

Dr Sanjeev Prashar Professor,
Marketing Chairman, Executive Education and Consultancy, Indian Institute of Management, Raipur

It is often said, “plan for uncertainty and hope for certainty.” The essence of this profound thought is well captured by the book. He distils years of experience from the armed forces and synthesizes it with his focused and penetrative analysis of life in the corporate world. In doing so, the book attempts to break the shackles that we as leaders and managers at times tend to create around ourselves. It outlines in an easy-to-understand language, with a cross-pollination of examples, the means to stay ahead of the curve. The author’s suggestions provide an insight into the potential pitfalls of a project cycle and the means to defeat them at every level of leadership, from functional to oversight and hands-on to visionary. 

Colonel Vivek Chadha (Retd)
Research Fellow, IDSA

This is a book targeted at armed forces veterans who aspire for a second career in the corporate world. The book will also serve as a guide for managers in the corporate world to dealing with VUCA effectively. The book imbibes best practices of the armed forces as applicable in the corporate world which they can relate to easily. It is highly recommended that all officers and other ranks who are retiring read this book to understand how various departments work and function. The experience we gain in the armed forces is immense and our skill sets are unique. When we enter the corporate world, we should contribute in a valuable manner in whatever role we have been assigned. The ethos and values of the armed forces continue to remain our guide in whatever field we choose. The leadership qualities of the armed forces personnel stand out, and these have been amply highlighted by various examples in the book. I compliment the author for his detailed research and articulation while bringing out this book.

Maj. Gen. Jagatbir Singh, VSM
Director General (Resettlement)

Compliments to the author for bringing out a book that highlights the dilemma and challenges faced by professionals who are involved in managing or executing projects. Effective project management is a key capability for any organization that is trying to grow in these uncertain times. This book has been able to draw upon the techniques and real-time stories about the Indian Army and connect them aptly to the real-time challenges being faced currently by many organizations. The author has been practicing many of the concepts shared and has also been passionately spreading the techniques about managing uncertainties through the various training programs that he has been conducting at Thermax. This book would be very useful to anybody involved in the business of managing or executing projects. 

B. C. Mahesh
Executive Vice President and Business Unit Head, Thermax Power

My compliments to the author on publishing a coveted book on project sustenance in the dynamic scenario. Strategically thinking, endogenous and exogenous factors are responsible for any company to become a growing entity. Research and development is a critical factor for the ever-changing market dynamics. Let us not forget that well-established companies such as Kodak and Nokia are losing market share in no time. Utilization of internal and external resources, competitive products, substitute products, adoption of modern technology, and change management are the key factors in the success of a firm. I wish that the book is well accepted and applied by managers and they derive maximum benefit out of it.

Deepak Pande
CEO, Suljhan Consulting

What is your plan B? Executives at all levels are learning the importance of this question as they steer their organizations through the challenges posed by the VUCA world. This book by Col. Bakshi illustrates in a simple and effective manner the what and how of plan B. Focused execution is at the core of ensuring success and a refined approach, same as presented in the book, will surely help the professionals reach their goals in a definitive and effective manner. 

Shishir Joshipura
Managing Director, SKF India Limited

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