ADVISORY VIEW OF CORPORATE STRATEGY
It is helpful to consider the perspective that an experienced group of advisors is likely to share about the strategic transitions and future conditions into which corporations fall as they approach the 1990s. This view is based on personal experience on advisory boards and advisory councils of large and small corporations, publicly and privately held firms, domestic and international companies, industrial and service organizations, and not-for-profit institutions.
When I look at the way that many companies are managed, I'm reminded of the last performance by Karl Wallenda, the patriarch of the famous family of high-wire circus performers. Not long after four members of the Wallenda family were killed or permanently injured in a single accident, Karl, who was in his seventies, agreed to walk a high wire ten stories above a city street. As usual, he carried his sixteen-foot pole for balance, as he had since childhood. He had always been told to hold on to his pole--that it would keep him safe and balanced.
It was a windy day, and as he moved onto the wire he started to lose his balance, but just as he had been told, he used his pole, quickly regained control, and continued across. Then a sudden gust came up, and he started to fall. He could have caught hold of the wire as he fell past, but he didn't, because he was holding on tightly to his pole as he had always been taught to do. When he struck a taxi below and was killed, he was still holding that pole.
As advisors, directors and managers, we are all on a high wire. And, like Karl Wallenda, we are determined to hold onto our "pole"-- our technology and our concepts of management and governance--as