In a world of disruption and constant change, where ambiguity is the norm, we actively drive
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pragmatic outcomes.

Thought Leadership

Leading in an Unpredictable World: A Conversation with Margaret Heffernan

September 30, 2021

Margaret Heffernan, an entrepreneur, veteran CEO, popular TED speaker, and author joined Adam Bryant for a powerful conversation around how to think and lead through uncertainty. She shared compelling insights from her latest book “Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future,” in which she challenges our addiction to data and our models for forecasting the future and explores which skills and mindsets are critical for agility and success in an increasingly complex world. 

 A breakdown of the topics discussed can be found below: 

1:05 – The conception of “Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future” 

6:17 – How the business model of Forecast, Plan and Execute is not working in our environment of increasing uncertainty.

13:21 – What are the lasting consequences and lessons from the pandemic? 

18:42 – How can we operationalize the mindset for navigating an uncertain future and what matters now more than ever? 

23:58 – How can companies address the conversation of “why do we matter?” when it might not be very clear? 

27:25 – At an individual level, what is the mindset we need to have to operate better in this uncertain and ambiguous environment? 

35:15 – What habits can we build so that we are more comfortable in ambiguity and uncertainty? 

40:28 – How do we make the most out of disruption? 

43:26 – Advice about the fine art of managing up and the importance of allies.

48:12 – How can companies work towards bridging the gap between their walk and their talk?  

52:35 – What is the balance between sounding confident and acknowledging the uncertainty when communicating? 

57:09 – Creativity and innovation will help us get through the crises coming our way.



About the Book

*A Financial Times Best Book of the Year* 

In her bold and invigorating new book, distinguished businesswoman and author Margaret Heffernan explores the people and organizations who aren’t daunted by uncertainty. We are addicted to prediction, desperate for certainty about the future. But the complexity of modern life won’t provide that; experts in forecasting are reluctant to look more than 400 days out. History doesn’t repeat itself and even genetics won’t tell you everything you want to know. Tomorrow remains uncharted territory, but Heffernan demonstrates how we can forge ahead with agility.  

For more information about “Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future,” click here.