Prof. Gong Yuzhen: Management Composure in Time of Great Changes
Volatile environments and uncertainties have made many managers feeling confused or lost, aiming only for short-term gains, and losing the willpower and even directions. A new book by Prof. Gong Yuzhen of the NSD sets out to unpack the underlying management logic in this era of great changes. He shares the cream of the book in a recent joint event by CITIC Press, CITIC Academy, and the NSD.
The book is aptly titled Anchoring Force: Underlying Management Logic in Time of Great Changes. Prof. Gong, an expert in military strategy and its application in business settings, says that war is a typical domain brimming with uncertainties. In Sun Tzu’s Art of War, uncertain and dynamic changes are as amorphous as flowing water, yet the warcraft demands winning amid such an environment. In the first part of the book, Prof. Gong rolls out discussions on why the more uncertain the environment is, the more needed long-termism is. He says that a fundamental principle for decision making is to have clear strategic intention to frame long-term plans, while retaining sufficient space to cope with potential future uncertainties and stay open and flexible.
Dealing with adversities is a must-have quality for today’s managers, he said. In the second part of the book, he distills from three case studies a schema comprising seven elements for fighting uphill battles, including determined willpower, sharp insight, decisive decision-making, excellent communication, resolute execution, agile response, and strong resilience. A good leader, he says, must keep imparting positive energy to every member of the organization no matter how dire the situations are.
The third part of the book zooms in on the need to cultivate a mindset for understanding cycles. History-wise, every tumultuous period is cyclical in nature, the knowledge of which will allow entrepreneurs and managers to make forward-looking strategic plans and not to be carried away by errant tides.
To harness uncertainties, adversities, and cycles, one must rely on strategic willpower and build an anchoring force. In the last part of the book, Prof. Gong uses historical examples to illuminate the utmost importance of composure in a time of utter chaos. Understanding the underlying management logic – uncertainties, adversities, cycles, and strategic willpower – will help managers and their organizations to take their destiny in their own hands.