In this podcast New Work Revolution’s Brandon Allen explores some of the ideas in David and Peter’s book Beyond Default, including why the majority of strategies and transformation programmes fail to achieve their target outcomes and, more importantly, what can be done to increase the chances of success.
BA: Talk to me about the genesis of this book, how did it start, what brought this on, how did we get to Beyond Default?
DT: Peter and I have been working together for over 25 years, as consultants and advisors to a wide range of organisations across many sectors in many countries and one of the questions we kept asking ourselves is why is it that some organisations are more successful than others? Why is it that they appear to be more successful at developing and executing strategy than others? Is it the quality of the leadership? Of course that’s important. Is it a result of the approaches that they take in terms of improving the performance of their organisations? What is it? Is there something more fundamental going on? And that’s the conclusion we came to, that there’s something fundamental that’s going on that determines the ultimate destiny of an organisation. And that’s what we researched and that’s what we tried to articulate and explain in the book.
BA: All right. I love that. So let’s talk about right from the start, you guys talk about how successful organisations are at changing their futures and how they do that. So, by and large how well do companies?
PB: All of the evidence suggest that for the most part organisations are not very good at developing and executing strategy, or on our language developing strategies that shift their trajectories to a better improved future. So if you look at all the evidence which we display in the book around mergers and acquisitions for example, large scale transformation programmes, or just major attempts to change strategy. The bottom line is most of these attempts fail, and what we tried to understand and describe in the book is what is causing this failure? And one of the conclusions we came to was that there are many both external and internal forces that are keeping an organisation on its existing trajectory and preventing it from moving to a better improved trajectory for the future. And that’s what we explore in the book.