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What are the biggest obstacles to driving your company’s transformation? Too often, leaders think of the barriers purely in terms of technical or strategic issues. But Nathan Furr, INSEAD professor and world-renowned innovation expert, argues that the real problem has more to do with basic aspects of human psychology – fear, habit and lack of imagination.

In “Leading Transformation: How to Take Charge of Your Company’s Future” (HBR Press, November 2018), Furr and co-authors Kyle Nel and Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy identify the inherent challenges of driving transformation and set out a three-step framework for overcoming them. The result is a book that will change business leaders’ perspectives on innovation and equip them with the tools they need to take their organizations to the next level.

With the expertise of a CEO (Nel) and a neuroscientist (Ramsøy), Furr explores how leaders can apply new methods based on behavioral science to overcome old human limitations. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, “If Your Innovation Effort Isn’t Working, Look at Who’s on the Team,” the three authorities address how leaders can best organize transformative teams. They determined that one of the best qualities to look for is comfort with uncertainty, which is often lacking in high-performing employees more accustomed to structure.

Furr and his co-authors also outline practical goals for overcoming inertia. Drawing on examples from successfully innovative companies like Lowe’s, Walmart, Ikea and Google, they explore methods as diverse as reading science fiction, writing rap music and drawing cartoons to unlock the creative potential of those who have difficulty seeing beyond the present.

An instrumental guide for leaders in organizations of all types across multiple industries, “Leading Transformation” answers the central question on the minds of anyone trying to navigate the 21st century: in a world of uncertainty, how can I stay ahead of the curve? According to Furr, the solution is to imagine what could be around the bend.

Practical Ways to Overcome the Barriers of Transformation was last modified: July 5th, 2022 by Brian Sherry