In our daily strategic intelligence practices, we regularly list several Key Predictive Indicators (KPIs) to see what the near future might tell us. This is not forecasting. It is, however, based on delivering perspectives going beyond the brutal facts, by creating crucial foresight and early warning. Our governments, banks, the European Commission, national forecast institutes and our uncritical media tell us that we can expect economic growth. We don’t believe this! Our early warning analyses indicate the opposite.
Strategic intelligence enables top management to foresee the opportunities and threats in a timely fashion. At the end of the day who is accountable? Being agile as a company depends on developing two key capabilities: responsiveness and organizational flexibility. Many of us see new business opportunities. However, most of us are concerned that our companies lack the skills needed to meet future competitive threats.
“Why don’t companies last forever? Why do so many companies face serious problems after years of success? Why does management not react if the success rate of organizations comes to an end?”This is because your company’s internal business intelligence dashboards, your big-data analytics, and the managers with titles like market insights, customer insights, marketing intelligence and market intelligence do not deliver the right intelligence!
We generally never deal with the same topic three times in a row. But in this case we have to, because there is so much wrong in the financial sector. What do you think about the above quote from the Bank of England’s Chief Economist, listed by TIME Magazine as being in the Top-100 most influential people in the world? To us this of great concern, though most people in the world don’t realize it.
The book “It Can’t Be True”, published in February 2015, was based on 2 years of research from over 200 in-depth interviews in the City of London. In his book. Luyendijk makes comparisons with the world of animals: traders are baboons, investment bankers are tigers, back-office employees are hard-working beavers and the departments of compliance and risk management are ants. The majority of the employees in the sector are therefore beavers and ants whose task is to control the tigers and baboons. Mission impossible!
We have reported on the continuous threats to banks, and have identified that these are not Black, but Grey Swans. Black swans are large-scale unpredictable and irregular events of massive consequence for which we hardly can prepare ourselves. Grey Swans, on the other hand, are events which have a very high impact, but one for which organizations are able to prepare themselves. Banking is such a huge Grey Swan. Why is this?
Can you imagine that five years after the financial crisis, the financial system in Europe has still not yet improved? Banks still continue to package ‘risky financial products’ into special entities. Our bankers still behave the same as they did before the financial crisis. Why is this so? Bankers think they are better protected against the next financial crisis, because they have a higher percentage of equity on total assets. It’s business as usual all over again.
In November 2013, Professor Admati was in Amsterdam presenting her book “The Bankers’ New Clothes” and speaking about the false lobby of the Dutch National Employer’s Organization VNO-NCW on Dutch banks. The professor sees herself as “a voice in the wilderness” because banks in the Netherlands and Europe want to keep to the 3% requirement of equity on total assets.
Strategy is about shaping the future. There is, however, no guarantee that the future will turn out the way you want. You can use strategy to figure out how to achieve your purpose and ambitions. You move between where you want to go (ends) and what you need to do to get there (means). A great strategy is the quickest route from means to ends to shape your future.