Author: Keith Bickel, Ph.D

ISBN: 9780578093994

Publisher: Strategy Press

One of the errors that many business people and executives commit is that they believe that the competitive fight takes place in the present and why worry about the future. However, what happens when the rules of the game are modified and you are faced with market uncertainty caused by changing government economic legislation, rapid technological changes, unexpected competitors, and a host of other factors? Are you equipped to redefine your markets with new strategies? And if so, how do you design the future without knowing what is going to come back and bite you on the butt?

Keith Bickel points out in his clearly laid out Mastering Uncertainty: The 3 Strategies You Need To Know is that “the latest rage in management strategy is to advise those of you facing uncertainty to innovate, innovate, innovate.” As he goes onto explain, the difficulty with this plan of attack is that you require a vision to guide the innovation. As he further comments, isn't the center of uncertainty based on the fact that there is no easy formation of a vision? What happens if you produce the wrong vision? The results could be disastrous! Moreover, as Bickel maintains, there is the paradox of innovation which can create uncertainty. In other words, you just can't focus on innovation alone, as you really don't know where to innovate. Nonetheless, you still have to prepare yourself and here is what Mastering Uncertainty is all about-facing this uncertainty and learning how to master it.

Creating strategies necessitates foresight as well as being able to clearly articulate industry trends that threaten your business's continued success. With this in mind, Bickel begins his tome by exploring two key forces at play which he terms, uncertainty and advantage. Uncertainty raises the frightful thought that there may not even be a market next year for your business or will you even be able to survive. As for advantage, Bickel succinctly defines it as the ability to impose your will on the marketplace competitors. He points out that advantage is comprised of three important elements: time, structure or resources which he dissects as he elaborates on the importance of focusing on advantage creation over other goals when faced with uncertainty. In addition, he examines two vital drivers, capabilities-building and time pacing. What is interesting here are the two important questions raised- can advantage be actually measured and can it be maintained? Bickel does provide a logical perspective concerning these queries.

The meat of Mastering Uncertainty: The 3 Strategies You Need To Know focuses on three management strategies, which Bickel describes as the fun part and which you need to know to master uncertainty. Bickel introduces to us the pioneer, pouncer and hedging strategies. After explaining in separate chapters what each one of these strategies comprise, readers learn of their distinct attributes and how they can win or lose. Bickel concludes each of these chapters with his final thoughts.

For example, when we look to the chapter concerning the pioneer strategy, we are informed that the principal objective of this strategy is to develop an advantage or advantages that allow you to beat your competitors to market and to establish dominance even in times of uncertainty. In the case of the pouncer strategy the focus is to develop advantage or advantages that allows you to rapidly follow the pioneer into the market with a more desirable offering so as to surpass and dominate the pioneer. As for the hedging strategy, the aim is to develop one or more competitive advantages that are not part of your current set of competencies. How do you know which strategy to adopt? Bickel devotes his final chapter to this question where he discusses the impact of failure, the importance of differentiation, the impact of market dynamism, the role of management, organizing for the strategy, and competitively shifting strategy.

When you purchase this handbook, you are truly investing in Dr. Bickel's profound experience as a strategist as well as his immense business acumen that has spanned over two decades in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, including Fortune 50 companies, technology start-ups, the White House Office of Management and Budget, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the World Bank. This is one of those books where each section has the thought concentration of ideas that you would find in top ranked business school review magazines such as the Harvard Business Review. And although there is a great deal to digest here, Bickel certainly has a knack in delivering intelligent and comprehensible lessons that easily enable readers to internalize the message and apply them to their own circumstances.

Click To Read Norm's Interview With Dr. Keith Bickel

Author's Bio: 

Practicing law for over 35 years enabled me to transfer and apply to book reviewing my many skills that I had perfected during my career in the legal profession and as a result I have become a prolific free lance book reviewer & author interviewer.

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The site is composed of an international community of book reviewers that come from all walks of life that review all genres of fiction and non-fiction.

Over the years I have reviewed approximately 2000 books and I have interviewed over 600 authors.

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