Light Footprint Management
What can managers in today’s uncertain, unimaginably complex world learn from President Obama’s military doctrine and the Chinese management style? In his new book (Bloomsbury, 2013), Charles-Edouard Bouée, member of the Global Executive Committee and President of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, Asia proposes the adoption of “light footprint” management – comparable to President Barack Obama’s military doctrine and similar to the recent emergence of vision and tactics over strategy in Chinese management.
Bouée argues that this shift in approach blazes a trail that Western companies will be obliged to follow, and explains how conventional management methodologies, techniques and tools can be adapted to the conditions of an increasingly ambiguous and apparently unmanageable world. Light Footprint Management sets out a roadmap for the transformation of companies into adaptable, "post-strategic" business organizations.
Light Footprint Management at Saïd Business School
Charles-Edouard Bouée spoke about Light Footprint Management to a full house of business students, academics and consultants at Saïd Business School (SBS) at the University of Oxford on March 10, 2014. The event, entitled "In Conversation with Charles-Edouard Bouée", was an opportunity to elaborate on the Light Footprint Management idea.
Book launch at Harvard
On September 18, 2013, Charles-Edouard Bouée presented his new book Light Footprint Management: Leadership in times of change at the Harvard Business School. In a forum entitled "How to lead in a VUCA world: Lessons from the US military and China", Bouée stressed that a light footprint strategy could be a means to address the challenges of uncertainty, by using what we know about recent changes in military doctrine and a novel management approach emerging in China. Bouée was joined in the forum by former US Ambassador to Germany Philip D. Murphy and Harvard Business Review editor-at-large Julia Kirby.
Watch this video of the plenary session "How Should Leaders Embrace Complexity?" at the Global Drucker Forum in Vienna, in which Bouée was a speaker.
Listen to Charles-Edouard Bouée explain the big idea behind his new book Light Footprint Management in the audiocast for think:act MAGAZINE #19.
Listen to his interview with China Radio International where he talks about strategic leadership in a VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) world.
Follow @Light_Footprint on Twitter for updates about the book and related events as well as insights on "post-strategic" management.
"Charles-Edouard Bouée's argument that lightness is a primary value in a more volatile and uncertain business world is pervasive and well made."
– John Quelch, Harvard Business School, USA
"The picture Charles-Edouard Bouée paints of tomorrow's business world, and of the kinds of organization most likely to thrive in it, is both original and plausible."
– Sir Tom Hunter, CEO, West Coast Capital, United Kingdom
“Management is the next big thing for Chinese companies and entrepreneurs. Charles-Edouard Bouée’s argument that the Chinese management style must find links to military strategy in the VUCA world and his conception of the “light footprint” are fascinating. Entrepreneurs, both those in China now and others who intend to dive into Chinese business, will find his ideas
– Gang He, Editor in Chief of Harvard Business Review China and Managing Editor of Caijing Magazine, China
“From Chinese history, cyberwarfare and the use of drones and special forces, all the way to the lessons of Apple’s resurgence, Bouée takes the reader on a fascinating whirlwind tour of turning points in business and geopolitics. From his extensive international experience and unique ability to draw parallels and establish connections, Bouée derives an innovative management philosophy adapted to a new world order of volatility and uncertainty.”
– Bernard Liautaud, Founder of Business Objects and Partner at Balderton Capital, United Kingdom
About the author
Charles-Edouard Bouée is the Chief Operating Officer of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, a member of its Global Executive Committee and President of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Asia. For over two decades, Bouée has been working on strategy, mergers and acquisitions and large scale performance improvement projects in over 20 countries.
He is the author of the book China's Management Revolution: Spirit, Land, Energy
More about the author
Light Footprint Management has been nominated for the Management Book of the Year, a competition organized by the Chartered Management Institute in association with the British Library and sponsored by the Henley Business School. Read more.