Death by digital disruption is likely to being the most common postmortem diagnosis for failed businesses of the first few decades of the twenty first century. Those corporate coroners who delve further will, however, detect that the underlying cause is more a malaise of the managerial mind than a frailty of the functional body. To avoid this outcome, a liberal dose of David Guillebaud’s prescription is in order for today’s managers.
Disruption Denial explores the forces of disruption – such as digital technologies, big data, and the behaviour of new millennial customers – which are pulling the rug from under many of our biggest business brands and are threatening the livelihood of millions of bewildered, good corporate citizens. The reader is regaled by examples from every sector of the economy. Seeded throughout the book are compelling tools and frameworks. These give us all something to seize on and put straight into practice in diagnosing and treating our situation. You can feel every passionate ounce of the author’s extensive experience and deep, percolated insight going into this penetrating, zippy book.
For me the towering delight of this book is its exposition of the managerial mind, of the human condition locked inside the corporate boardroom and the conventional wisdoms and hierarchies that flow from it. Guillebaud captures this in his resonating concept, ‘the stuckness predicament’. Trapped in an ecosystem of ‘inbreeding syndrome’, which makes denial more probable than acceptance, management teams work ever harder at a losing game. Disruption Denial explores the social psychology behind this and draws richly on fields far removed from the typical business book, such as that of missionaries and architects.
By skilful navigation of behavioural traits, and by means of a thoughtful formulation of rebooted leadership qualities required in the disrupted world, this book offers an encouraging way through for those who heed the call to arms. As the reader travels through the pages of this book, emotions are pulled in all directions. Smug understanding gives way to exhausted self-doubt, which is ultimately liberated by energising insight into fresh opportunity. The author is an optimist at heart and this positive outlook is founded on faith in those people who have the potential to set aside constraints and follow a refreshed vision. Disruption Denial should serve them well on that journey – and could help confront the digital disruption epidemic faced by many businesses today.