Market Turbulence

For many people, the bad economic picture will not change soon enough. According to a USA Today/Gallup Poll, almost three-fourths of those surveyed don’t like what’s going on in the country. David Walker, the former chief of the Government Accountable Office, predicts a poorer America if the economic ship doesn’t change direction: “We’ve kicked the can down the road as far as we can. We are at the abyss.”

Market turbulence has overtaken our ability to realize the American Dream. This turbulence relates to the chaos that now plaques our financial institutions, wrecking havoc on our normalcy. With a weak job growth, many U.S. jobs will continue to be outsourced globally or automated through technology.

In fact, the government estimates that an additional 1.2 manufacturing jobs will disappear by 2018. In this economic downturn, many people are just happy to have a job. Yet, the hectic work environment creates severe consequences to today’s workers as well.  In our discussion, we will focus on market turbulence and how to leverage against it.

Market turbulence is transforming businesses across the globe.  International markets have been shaken.  It’s like riding first class on a cruise ship during a terrible hurricane. You have plenty of the creature comforts.

Yet, it doesn’t change your situation. You are in for a rough ride. Today, American businesses, like other nations, are on this rough ride. The hurricane is market turbulence. Stanley Gryskiewicz, author of Positive Turbulence, stresses the dangers of this rocky ride: “Turbulence is energic, forceful, catalytic, and unpredictable.” 

Many organizations do not understand what to do or how to survive it.  Stan Davis, author of Future Perfect, declares, “The external environment-technology, economy, society and so on—is changing so fast that businesses scurry to keep up. Organizations, however, simply cannot run that fast. So our organizations don’t change as fast as do the businesses that they are managing.”

Charles Handy, author of The Age of Unreason, argues “Discontinuous changes require discontinuous thinking. If the new way of doing things is going to be different from the old, not just an improvement on it, then we shall need to look at everything in a new way.”  Many managers brag about their extensive experience. 

Many managers brag about their extensive experience. However, in a market plagued by uncertainty, this experience works against traditionalists. Today change is rapid and unpredicted.  Loaded with their vast experience, managers can lead organizations into business despair. Given the large degree of uncertainty and unknowns, some organizations continue on the same path…to nowhere!

Innovative managers can leverage market turbulence to their advantage. Everywhere we look we see this disruptive change breaking down traditional thinking.  What worked yesterday, will fail today. The best companies know how to adapt to turbulence. While others downsize and contract their market efforts, great companies infuse their organizations with creativity and expand their operations, competing on their strengths. 

Management strategist Stanley Gryskiewicz argues that turbulence associated with change can be a positive force for innovation.  He recommendations four elements in taking advantage of turbulence, which are (a) difference (breaking out from the status quo, (b) multiple perspectives (inviting divergent viewpoints and nontraditional interpretations, (c) intensity (keeping the speed, volume, and force at an optimal level for change, and (d) receptivity (providing mechanisms for individuals to be able to thrive in turbulence.

Gary Hamel, author of Leading the Revolution, suggests “In the new industrial order, the battle lines don’t run between regions and countries…In a nonlinear world, only nonlinear ideas will create wealth.” Creative expert Michael Michalko argues that creativity:  is the answer for surviving market turbulence: “It is not a result of some easily learned magic trick or secret but a consequence of your intention to be creative and your determination to learn and use creativity.”  Yet, succeeding during market turbulence is no accident. In fact, organizations must be deliberate in creating sustainable performance during market turbulence.

How do organizations effectively implement nonlinear thinking to be successful during market turbulence?

 © 2010 by Daryl D. Green

45 thoughts on “Market Turbulence

  1. “Think outside the box!”
    We hear this all the time yet we neither try it nor do we attempt at it. We effectively implement nonlinear thinking before the turbulence occurs. In order to take over this issue we must be able to think in a more broad perspective. By this I mean cooking up a back up plan before it’s too late and before too much capital is lost. Trying to recover usually sends everyone in upper management into a panic usually then resulting into fast action which is neither thought through nor is anyone prepared for its outcome.
    According to Derek Punsalan’s article non linear thinkers should be able to jump around from point to point topic to topic without panicking or getting lost. By doing this any company facing challenges in this economy would be able to overcome any obstacle in the way whether present or near or far future.

    Derek Punsalan

    • Nonlinear thinking is a crucial key when it comes to Market turbulence it creates both opportunities and challenges for quantitative style investing and stock selection. In the same way that it can be used to manage risk exposure in various financial. Every market undergoes emotion of a sort. But, when markets undergo unprecedented turbulence, as has recently been the case, emotion becomes an overwhelming phenomenon. The point through nonlinear thinking the organization is able to bring its own experiences to any solution (Mind-input), recognize what result they want to achieve (Result-action). The issue, to recognize, that people have different methods in which they assess and analyze when an organization experience market turbulence
      In my opinion, it is easier and more efficient for organizations to change the thinking pattern. That is, how people gather, sort, analyze, and confirm information. In other words the nonlinear thinking patterns can be broken into 4 types of patterns:

      1) Issue identification and prioritization
      2) Root causes analysis
      3) Making decision
      4) Risk identification and mitigation (as well as opportunity identification and capitalization)

      through my findings it shows that many organizations have adapted to nonlinear thinking if not teaching these methods.


  2. Organizations that effectively implement nonlinear thinking are the ones that accept change is always taking place around them and as a result of accepting this fact top management encourages employees to come-up with innovative ideas that will lead the organization during the turbulence. However just accepting change does not allow an organization to effectively implement nonlinear thinking, rather it requires taking risk, creating reward systems for successful ideas, and also devoting financial resources towards creative and innovative ideas.
    Maurice Ramirez states in his article that a linear thought process is where an individual is use to working in steps and makes sure step A is completed before moving to B and Step B is completed before moving to step C and so on, whereas a nonlinear thought process is when an individual has an ability to think about all steps at once and figure out the quickest way of getting things done and moving from A to Z.

  3. Organizations that effectively implement nonlinear thinking are the ones that accept change is always taking place around them and as a result of accepting this fact top management encourages employees to come-up with innovative ideas that will lead the organization during the turbulence. However just accepting change does not allow an organization to effectively implement nonlinear thinking, rather it requires taking risk, creating reward systems for successful ideas, and also devoting financial resources towards creative and innovative ideas.

    Maurice Ramirez states in his article that a linear thought process is where an individual is use to working in steps and makes sure step A is completed before moving to B and Step B is completed before moving to step C and so on, whereas a nonlinear thought process is when an individual has an ability to think about all steps at once and figure out the quickest way of getting things done and moving from A to Z.

  4. With uncertain market conditions, management holds the responsibility of leading the company effectively through market turbulence. Coupled with rising business costs, it is imperative that organizations remain competitive by reducing costs over various levels of the supply chain. Sometimes that means making difficult decisions like outsourcing which highlights the importance of having courageous, reliable and reputable managers that can face adversity while making difficult decisions to protect business operations.
    Marik, Vyatkin, and Colombo describe the fundamental difference between linear and nonlinear management approaches. “Linear management prescribes what to do. Nonlinear management enables how to determine what to do,” which creates a broader spectrum of thinking. Over time, the market has become more volatile which has caused managers to become more reactionary to problems.
    On the contrary, managers today are seeing the increasing need to use more of a predictive method of evaluating forces that affect business operations both internally and externally. This constant evaluation process allows managers to formulate contingency plans that include strategic responses to future changes showing on the horizon. The company that successfully uses this approach to forecast changes during turbulent times will thusly discover how to create value through gaining some market insight.
    Marik, V, Vyatkin, V., & Colombo, A. (2007) Holonic and multi-agent systems for manufacturing 3rd international ed. (pp. 388-397) Heidelberg: Springer.

    • Cleveland, dynamic points.


      “On the contrary, managers today are seeing the increasing need to use more of a predictive method of evaluating forces that affect business operations both internally and externally.”

      What are the predictive methods for managers?

  5. During turbulent times many employees look to management for strength and leadership. Managing employees means that in the face of adversity you must stay focused on goals and not let outside distractions change the actions of employees. Nonlinear thinking is a thought process that offers simple solutions within complexity reducing the dependence on experts, consultants and external resources (1). Those external resources also become external distractions which in turn can cause confusion and doubt within an organization. Organizations are wise to find solutions from within and implement those strategies for improvement within the company’s goals, values and culture.

  6. According to Dr. Darin R. Molnar non-linear thinking is “a type of thinking that that has multiple options at one time and leaves the door wide open for those options to change as new information comes to light” (1). From this I believe that non-linear thinking managers can move as new technology, systems, operations, and many other factors in business change. I believe that this is extremely important in today’s society because as we all know technology and other parts of business are ever changing. Managers that can do this have a great advantage over those that are stuck in their ways and believe that everything that they do is right. In order to implement this type of thinking to workers, managers must be able to hire employees that are adaptable to change and are willing to take on problems as they arise. Employees must be able to look at their managers or leaders and see how they adapt to new technology and policies to see how they can do tasks differently. Employees look at their managers when any type of new implementation is taking place, so in order for non-linear thinking to work the managers must first do so.

    Molnar, Darin M. “(Non-)Linear Thinking | Middle Way Management.” Middle Way Management | Where Compassion Meets the Bottom Line. 22 June 2010. Web. 29 Sept. 2010. .

  7. Non-Linear Thinking is a fancy term for “Chaos Theory” as applied to economics.

    Mathematical framework for understanding irregular and erratic fluctuations in economic cycles, financial markets, weather, other complex phenomenon, or non-linear systems with many variables. It suggests that small changes in the starting conditions produce outcomes totally out of proportion to their magnitude, making the phenomenon or system inherently unpredictable in the long term” (Business Dictionary, 2010).

    Otherwise, and possibly better known as The Butterfly Effect. The butterly flapping its wings can create change many miles away. Non-Linear thinking is a concept where the thought process moves in order TO “generate” a direction.

    Simply put – Chaos breeds change. Change is what we need.

    The question as to “How do organizations effectively implement nonlinear thinking to be successful during market turbulence?” falls back on what we have conversed about earlier. Human Factor Buy-In. All the concepts on how to implement organizational change in any respect.

    Everyone must believe in the change. Managers and leaders must believe in it first and foremost. Change is never readily embraced – so people must understand what is happening and why.

    I found numerous articles discussing this issue, but none stating HOW exactly. Good reads:

    Click to access 147.pdf

    Click to access New_Sciences_and_Ldsp.pdf

    Click to access leadershipprinciplesandtechnologies.pdf

  8. An unstable economic climate, ever changing customer needs, and disruptive technology continually stirs up market turbulence. The driving force is the consumer, and the driving factor is technology (1). Therefore, early brainstorming sessions must help develop contingent plans to help curve or capitalize on the changing needs of consumers or innovations brought on through technology. With every key decision made, the door should be wide open to options as changes are needed. In order to effectively implement these contingencies, the firm’s culture must be open to change at all levels. Regular cross-training or job rotations are good ways to ensure your employees are not complacent. These are also good ways to empower employees (2). A firm’s culture must be established from the top to the bottom and from the bottom to the top.

    Anderson, L.J. Discovering the Process of Mass Customization: A Paradigm Shift for Competitive Manufacturing Report
    Heathfield, S. Employee Empowerment.

  9. Basically, “Non-Linear Thinking (NLT)” is taking a complex description of what is needed or intended to be completed and describing it as a simple thought process. The process of thought knows the cycles, step-by-step, or requirements that are needed to change before taking, adding, or going onto another step. This simple (NLT) thought process needs to be designed to help identify practical solutions to complex production and/or process problems that continue to be a issue for corporations, manufacturing plants, and the service industry.
    To begin with, there must be an understanding and/or acceptance and willingness for change, from the management the employees and of course with the process. Secondly, the thought process must incorporate “creative thinking.” The solutions are not always as simple as the thought process, all the individuals involved need to “think out-side of the process (box).” This part of the thought process encourages everyone, both management and employees, to help resolve the problems that they can actually see and are a part of on a daily bases. In other words, who better to help solve the problem within the production process then the individuals that are actually working the process? Management does not always have the most creative, NL ideas or solutions during the thought process. Finally, the thought process for creating NLT solutions to the production process must have an objective goal. The solution must meet guidelines that will not temporarily fix the problem, but actually solve it or make it better. The thought process for NLT helps management and individuals learn more about each other, the production process, and what creative thinking can accomplish when used to solve production problems or increase the company’s outputs, which we all know positively effects the bottom line.

    Management Business: (2010)

  10. We wish that we could say that there is great job security for leaders in the new normal because of the chaos and uncertainty, but that would not be true. Leaders who survive will be the ones who can help their unit/division/site and system adapt to the new normal. Leaders who fail will see the changes as nothing more than a variation on the past and treat the new challenges with solutions from the past. Adapting rapidly will be the measure of success for the leader in the turbulent times ahead.
    According to Thom Hartmann, author and editor of books like “Attention Deficit Disorder: A Different Perception” and Experience”, would instead say that those whom I would qualify as the ‘non-linear thinkers’ are the ‘hunters’ in our society, and those whom I would qualify as the ‘linear thinkers’ are the ‘farmers’ in our society, based upon social growth from the 2 basic primitive society types: The ‘hunter/gatherers ‘and the ‘farmers’. Managers must get employees to buy into the concept for the only way for the company to survive and them to keep their job is for them to become linear thinkers. They can use seminars, training or special projects to teach employees how to become more linear thinkers. They can also provide incentive like bonuses for those who seem to buy into the concept or they could just threaten their job.;col1

  11. I agree with Ellison that continuous adaptation to the new normal is key to survival of traditionally stagnant business. Organizations are in trouble in this economy if they cannot move out of the old and familiar into creativity and imagination to generate new ideas to address customer needs. Brainstorming sessions to generate fresh ideas is an old stand-by in the strategic planning meeting. But I propose that Bill Gates is on the right track when he said “To create a new standard, it takes something that’s not just a little bit different; it takes something that’s really new and really captures people’s imagination…” (“Bill gates,” ) This non-linear thinking can be motivated by attitudinal changes in the organization from encouraging the free sharing of ideas, creativity in the environment and rewarding creativity from the top down. “Creativity is not just for problem-solving. Very often the most powerful effects of creativity are seen when we challenge existing ways of doing things which are very satisfactory.”

    (de Bono, & Heller, 2006)
    Bill gates. (n.d.). Retrieved from

    de Bono, E, & Heller, R. (2006, July 8). Creativity and management: a business not using creativity is under-using its assets. Thinking Managers, Retrieved from

    • It is very important in today’s competitive markets for various firms to stand out from their competitors. Being different from your rivals is just important as it is for individuals to use outside-the-box thinking. They must be able to instantly generate memories with their clients and potential clients. Catch phrases and mascots seem to have caught in a lot in the last few years, far more than usual. It started decades ago with the invention of mascots like Ronald McDonald, Wendy, the Green Giant, etc. These tools of marketing have exploded with the internet and TV. It has become very important for companies to come up the next item to attract attention. That is where the employees inside the company can really lead the company as a whole.,0,3541633.photogallery

  12. I also like the idea “think outside the box”. However, I believe that nonlinear thinking can’t precede the main vision of the organization because without it, it would be just like the ship no destination with variable functions. For example, we see in the movie, in the turbulence everyone in the ship were to set in the right position such as a captain hold on the helm tightly until calms down turbulence. As a leader, the captain performed his main responsibility as well as infusing value of coordination as team. I think this could be adapted to the market turbulence situation. In 1929 Wall Street Stock Market Crash, which is the most devastating stock market crash in the history of the United States, had not really caused Great Depression at first, however psychological effects of the crash reverberated across the nation so it ended up with tremendous disaster. An organization should have its own vision and mission statement to maintain its initial purpose. And great leaders should be goal oriented with the organization’s vision, motivate team and created with nonlinear thinking. As a result, they will be always ready for uncertainty and unpredictable turbulence effectively.


  13. To create a non-linear thinking process at an organization you must have a couple of things happen. First one must determine the difference between linear and non-linear thinking. Linear thinking (conventional, vertical thinking) – the thinking moves only if there is a direction. Non-Linear thinking (Lateral thinking) – the thought process moves in order to “generate” a direction. This leads to the main point that non-linear thought is the driving force for a company’s direction or path forward. This will only occur if people are willing to change their way of thinking. A company can do this by allowing their employees the space to self-organize, evolve and adapt using six-Sigma tools and Lean approaches. Allow your employees to think outside the box and you will be surprised what they may create for you. In order to move beyond a simple representation of non-linear relationships, the communication links between non-adjacent items must be freed up. More freedom leads to better results when you put the time into hiring the right people.

  14. The study of managerial thinking style has increased significantly over the last decade of management and organizational behavior research. Today’s organizations operate in an increasingly uncertain and tumultuous global market economy that requires managers to demonstrate complex and multidimensional thinking, requiring traditional analytic or linear thinking skills, as well as more nonlinear modes such as intuition, insight, emotional assessments, creative thinking, and perceptual flexibility. While the study of linear and nonlinear thinking styles has gained increased popularity among management scholars, there remains scant attention to whether a balanced thinking style that can employ both linear and nonlinear dimensions produces favorable outcomes at the individual, group, and organization levels of analysis. To date, no research has examined the impact of balanced linear/nonlinear thinking on individual creativity and innovation the strategic decision-making process of key management groups such as top management teams or organizational culture and norms associated with problem-solving. Furthermore, there is no empirical research comparing the convergence of managerial thinking styles and emotional intelligence (EI), a construct that has relatively recently garnered significant attention from management researchers (e.g., Wong and Law, 2002). In particular, the relationships among EI dimensions and linear, nonlinear, and balanced thinking styles are presently unknown. Finally, there has been very little empirical research examining individual, group, and organizational outcomes associated with balanced linear/nonlinear thinking, and whether such outcomes are moderated by key contextual variables.

    Examining managerial thinking style, EQ, and organizational commitment.
    Charles M. Vance

  15. Let employees think and innovate. It is Kaizen time, continuous improvement by people who work in the organization. There are not many opportunities for the workers to look for other jobs neither. It’s management responsibility to encourage and evaluate their ideas and innovations by PDCA if it’s worth implementing them. Managers also need to promote that those suggestions will not eliminate their jobs but increase their productivities and profits which will be rewarded back to them. (1) Management is looking at ways of cutting corners, looking for cheaper ways to distribute product – but in the long term, they are not thinking strategically. “It’s not about how you cut a few people. You can free up capacity so that people are more involved in strategic direction,” says Vermeulen. These employees are the ones who deal with daily and know the best of manufacturing processes, products or clients. We will be surprised by the ideas they can suggest. It’s also another way to motivate and give them the ownership of those positive changes. When the market is vulnerable, it’s time for an organization to stick together to come up with better ideas to be more productive and efficient.

  16. Creating and successfully implementing non linear thinking within an organization definitely fall under the “thinking outside of the box” category. With an ever changing and turbulent economic situation, for an organization to remain successful they must be able to continually adapt and identify how to implement non linear strategies to overcome non linear obstacles.

    Dr. Vijay Gorvindarajan at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth has developed a three box framework that encourages a non linear approach. Box one involves managing the present, for example, maintaining and improving efficiency. Box two selectively forgetting the past. Box three which involves creating a future. Dr. Gorvindarajan believes too many companies focus too much of their time on box one –the present. He believes to be successful companies must focus more on managing box two and three.

    Whatever the approach, managers can have all of tools to implement new strategies, however, they must be taught to identify non linear situations and how to effectively lead through those times.
    Preparing for Recovery, 6/22/09, The Wall Street Journal

  17. Many organizations speak of creative thinking or thinking outside of the box but they tend to have the same rigid decision making processes in place. Many times the true thinking outside of the box is not really cultivated in many management styles. As the world struggles with economic downturn, companies are reaching out and being more open to creative ways of thinking. In the scholarly article, The Art of Thinking Outside of the Box, Jacqueline McClean stated that “more creative management and organizational paradigms, such as the boundary less organization, network structures and global virtual teams, are becoming the norm in many societies around the world. If the organization wishes to mobilize the creative ability of its employees, it must nurture a climate where creativity and empowerment are valued and encouraged. Implementation of a creative culture will support an organization’s quest to gain and sustain competitive advantage from its intellectual capital assets. It could be argued that the development of a creative culture can only be done through creative leadership. Kanter (1991) maintains that creative leaders have the capability to be ‘kaleidoscopic thinkers’, possessing the aptitude to see things from a multiplicity of angles.” I think that creativity can be achieved through diversity of the employees. When a company harness the creative thought processes of a diverse group of people and are truly being lead with creative leaders they will be successful. Organizations must stay away from the old dinosaur bureaucracy of the improvement process. Organizations must become more fluid if they are going to be successful.

  18. McLean, J.. (2007). The art of thinking outside the box. The British Journal of Administrative Management,16. Retrieved October 3, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 1381698811).

  19. After doing some additional thinking on the subject, I decided I had an additional opinion.

    In order to bring about change, we must think outside the box as RIYAM pointed out. I also believe Hamza was spot on – as is everyone here.

    I firmly hold to the belief that to bring about change we cannot simply follow the proported “experts” in the field of management when it comes to propelling an organization forward. If we simply follow existing experts, we are still possibly following linear thinking instead of shaking things up. In doing this, we are not going outside the box in my opinion. Many of these ‘experts’ (whether they truly are an expert, or are simply regurgitating expert opinion) studied at the heels of other thinkers. The line of thinking and research may very well be credible and valid – but at the same time – inbred to truly bring about needed change.

  20. Upper level management has a responsibility to provide the business with safe guards against both internal and external environmental factors that affect business operations. They must use market indicators to predict how this new information will affect business operations and formulate a strategic response to effectively handle the situation. For example, if a negative news story drops regarding a raw material our company uses, as management, we must use this information to predict how it will affect business operations and then choose an appropriate course of action to be implemented in the event. As managers, they must determine the threat level posed by the current situation and forecast an appropriate response to these types of situations using news and events showing on the horizon as predictive indicators. Contingency planning is largely predictive just like a company that posts their fire exit plan. They do not foresee a fire, however, if one breaks out, the company will be prepared to follow their emergency preparedness plan to safely exit the building.

  21. Nonlinear thinking is commonly referred to as intuition, insight, and creativity. In the business world, these are attributes that are typically derived from a comprehensive understanding of a specific product, industry, or market. One can not think outside of the box if (a) they do not know what the box is, (b) have little to no knowledge of the elements in question, and/or (c) do not understand the system under which they will be delivered or utilized. Even for those who do have the knowledge and understanding, they often have to overcome their institutionalization. The workplace has become so bureaucratic and systemic that many struggle to overcome the very inclinations that have been embedded in them.

    Adaptation can be acquired through individual and group based Socratic exercises, where employees are tasked with producing concurrent decisions with management. This places them in the mindset of learning, innovating, and evolving. It will also cultivate a stronger linear thinking process – which, in turn, will develop their nonlinear abilities. The acquisition of knowledge is the very framework for which these exercises should be built upon. And as time progresses, employees will become more creative and insightful, while demonstrating a level of intuition that is invaluable. From here, organizations will be empowered to better navigate market turbulence and produce market gains.


    Thow Yick, L. (2007). The new intelligence leadership strategy for iCAS. Human Systems Management, 26(2), 111-122. Retrieved from the Business Source Premier database.

    Glantz, S., & Scordato, J. (2005). Socratic Circles: Fostering Critical and Creative Thinking in Middle and High School. Library Media Connection, 24(3), 85-86. Retrieved from the Business Source Premier database.

  22. Vance et al. (2006) found that frontline and senior managers adopted a linear thinking style compared to professional actors and successful entrepreneurs, who demonstrated nonlinear and more balanced thinking styles, respectively. However, the dynamic and unpredictable nature of the current business environment renders this strictly linear thinking approach less useful for practicing managers and other decision-makers (1). “Thinking outside the box” or “Going with your gut” is huge during market turbulence and jobs being easily outsourced. However, corporations cannot outsource creative jobs as easily. The ability to go quickly from problem to problem, problem to solution, or from initial idea to unique product does not cross cultures well. The employee needs to be a part of the culture he or she is marketing to (2). Implementing nonlinear into organizations could be tricky. I’m not sure you can sit through a class or seminar to be taught how to think nonlinear. It is something you have to feel and see. If managers are thinking non linear and are passionate about it then it will pass down to the employees. Management should give encouragement for creativity and feeling.

    1 –
    2 -

  23. As said by Dr. Green, “organizations must be deliberate in creating sustainable performance during market turbulence.” I agree with this statement 100%, in that it is imperative for companies to maintain the core business processes that initially made them sustainable, while at the same time evolving with the industry status quo. Studies show that market share turbulence increases with market size; thus, entities that boast high percentages of market share are the ones who are the most susceptible to the turbulence. However, these studies also show that product differentiation largely influences the variable deviation of the actual market shift. Thus, a company wanting to withstand a very turbulent market needs to focus on their core products and processes, while at the same time showcasing the differentiation of their product compared to other companies within their industry. By focusing on these two specific points, a company will be able to withstand a turbulent market and emerge profitable.

    Matraves, C., & Rondi, L. (2007). Product Differentiation, Industry Concentration and Market Share Turbulence. International Journal of the Economics of Business, 14(1), 37-57. doi:10.1080/13571510601097124.

  24. In a world overrun by trends and conformity, the only sensible way for marketing teams to be successful is by accepting the challenge of creativity – in correlation to what others have mentioned, the challenge is to think differently with fresh ideas and unique perspectives.

    Exchanging linear marketing in favor non-marketing suggests giving customers more control when it comes to advertising. Dr. Green’s previous blog prepared us with the notion that old ways of leadership are having a difficult time finding a place in today’s corporate world. Therefore, the new leaders must be the first ones to rise to the occasion of being innnovate when it comes to reaching customers.

    According to the article on how to implement non-linear thinking into marketing strategies, Gregory Wilson warns us that marketing in the past was all about creating control. In the nonlinear world, marketing is about ceding control. By granting customers with control, they have our trust in hope that we may earn their trust.

    The best example of non-linear marketing comes in the form of digital media. Because so much of digital data is monetinez, the marketing agencies will be held accountable on how engaging their work is. Time spent on a commercial will be more valued by the customers who watch it in contrast to what the commercial entails. Wilson concludes that an agency’s compensation will be determined by the outcome rather than the effort. Therefore, there is little room for error.


    Wilson, Gregory. MediaPost Magazine. 1 March 2006.

  25. I believe for a company to be successful during market turbulence a balanced approached of both linear and non linear thinking needs to be implemented. (Groves & Vance, 2009) An example of a company that took a balanced approach is Abdul Latif Jameel Co. Ltd (ALJ) of Saudi Arabia. In 2008 ALJ sold over 300,000 vehicles making it Toyota’s largest independent distributor worldwide. The company’s resilience during the worldwide economic crisis is attributed to five major differentiators:

    1. Disaster planning & risk management-analysis of potential market conditions are reviewed and when one or more of these projects occurs, a prescribed set of actions to reduce risk is initiated.

    2. Top Management leadership-management is focused on growth (not downsizing) and improved guest service.

    3. Collaboration with vendors-worked with Toyota during early stages of the recession to draw up crisis scenarios and methods to address those scenarios.

    4. Trusts of successful brand name-customers tend to take refuge in organizations they know they can trust.

    5. Focus on leadership development – implemented leadership development program to engage it associates. (Abdalla, 2009)
    ALJ’s balanced approach uses both traditional linear thinking and the creative non linear approach with vendors, employees and customers and formed a successful business model as a result.

    Groves, K., & Vance, C. (2009). Examining Managerial Thinking Style, EQ, and Organizational Commitment. Journal of Managerial Issues, 21(3), 344-366. Retrieved from Business Source Premier database.

    Adalla, F. (2009). “Leadership: Preparing for an uncertain future.” Gallup Management Journal. Retrieved from

  26. I believe just by saying “thinking outside the box” you are thinking inside the box! That’s a common phrase and just by trying to “think outside the box” they are thinking inside it. Perhaps they should start “creating away from the circle” instead. Away from the circle of the conference table, that is! Ideas need time and cannot be forced so why have brainstorming sessions that force ideas at a certain time? Perhaps doing something completely different will breed new and creative ideas. As Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge” and in order to implement a non-linear approach to thinking is to make sure all your employees know that no idea is a bad idea and that they can have ideas even if they don’t have all the knowledge regarding the particular situation. With that, state the issue or reason for needing new ideas to all employees then allow time to harvest those thoughts and create ideas on their own time. Don’t force new ideas! Once they have had a few days then come together to share in an environment where every idea is welcome and perhaps somewhere other than the conference table. In order to implement non-linear thinking among staff, you must have a non-linear approach on how thinking is conducted!

    Reference: The Importance of Non-Linear Thinking Part 2: Mental Flossing.

  27. New perspective of the nonlinear thinking is its critical role in knowledge management. Nonlinear thinking is related mostly with emotional intelligence so the organization could use that to their advantage. With the market turbulence non linear thinking should help because organization could bring a better strategy plan than their competitions. Organization which accepts non linear thinking let employees to give their opinions so they have more chance to success. With the development of technology managers have to be opening minded because they don’t know everything. Nonlinear thinking should help in the market turbulence

  28. In order to adapt to the market turbulence and to be successful companies need to implement nonlinear thinking and instill their organization with creativity. I agree with creative expert Michael Michalko’s view that creativity is the answer for surviving market turbulence. But how does management foster creativity? The article suggests three things to do. First is be a constant asker – asking questions and encouraging people to ask. Second is to create an environment for idea sharing. Getting an in-depth view on how the users or employees feel about the product and company and encourage them to come up with good ideas and ways to implement them in an open-collaborative manner. Third is to share the business objective to everybody and sharing each person’s work with all the other employees in the company. Doing these three things is very important because management has the ability to harness the knowledge of the product that the employees have, combined with their own views as outsiders. The employees are also aware of what their families and friends think about the product.

    Non linear management – fostering creativity/design driven development

  29. One of my favorite books on dealing with change both in life and work is the famous “Who Moved My Cheese?” In it, the author talks about these sorts of problems we all experience when thinking linearly. Often times when we encounter problems, rather than preparing for alternatives or finding better solutions we decide that we are being unfairly treated and adopt the victim mentality. Those who can think non-linearly on the other hand, will be successful like the mice in the book, who simply look for new locations for their “cheese” when it is moved. So how can businesses adopt this new mindset during turbulence and change?

    – Find new markets for existing products to expand sales
    – Bundle services with product offerings as a value add to create wealth
    – Abandon outdated processes and modes of business and adopt cutting edge, customer centered practices
    – Accept no “absolutes” in business. Always assume there are options in every scenario

    Aristotle gave us insight into nonlinear thinking when he said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Keeping this in mind, managers can learn to think around problems, rather than always through it.

  30. Companies have to effectively transform their business to combat market turbulence through nonlinear thinking. Authors of a 2008 Journal of Enterprising Culture article suggest there are four primary components of nonlinear thinking: intuition, creativity, insight, and emotions (Groves, Vance, Choi, & Mendez, 2008). Through the intuition of management and employees, a company will be able to move in a new direction and aim to avoid getting lost in market turbulence (Groves et al., 2008). Creativity allows companies to stay abreast with and/or above their competing companies and flexible to economic changes. Insight assists with and allows company decision makers to have new perspectives on problem solving (Groves et al., 2008). The emotional behavior of company decision makers can be beneficial. Subconscious and cognized emotion has been identified as a primary source of problem solving and decision making (Groves et al., 2008). If these components of nonlinear thinking are implemented in companies during difficult economic times, the companies will be better equipped to succeed in a turbulent market.

    Groves, K., Vance, C., Choi, D., & Mendez, J. (2008). An examination of the nonlinear thinking style profile stereotype of successful entrepreneurs. Journal of Enterprising Culture, 16(2), 133-159.

  31. Nonlinear thinking can be an effective tool for finding creative solutions during turbulent economic conditions. Yes, experience is a valuable asset, but step-by-step thinking and redundant processes that worked well decades ago have now gone stale. Successful managers need to encourage “out-of-the-box” thinking in order to find innovative answers to unique questions. Hiren Shah suggests that nonlinear thinking can be learned and practiced by anyone, and used as an effective tool tailored to meet the needs of potential customers. Once an atmosphere of nonlinear thinking has been established and become second nature within a company, new ideas will thrive. Google and Apple are prime examples of successful companies that have implemented corporate cultures of nonlinear thinking.

    Shah, H. Edward de Bono’s gift to the world, lateral or nonlinear thinking can help you conjure creative solutions to emerge a winner in an increasingly complex world. Retrieved November 21, 2010, from

  32. I agree with the “think outside the box” theory, though there is more to just that. Non-Linear thinking is the process of generating a direction. In order for a company to achieve this in my opinion all areas of the company need to come together and discuss ideas. For example if a company is going to produce a new product then marketing, development, along with operations should all work together to think of new ideas. Companies need to applaud team work along with allowing individuals to think on their own without the fear of being ridiculed by others. A work environment should be welcoming to all ideas which in the long run will increase productivity.

    Kotler, Phillip & Keller, Kevin Lane (2009) Marketing Management (13th ed.) New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.

  33. Linear thinking focuses on cause and effect and according to Degmar Reclies “is too focused so that it cannot enable companies to adjust to unexpected developments”. Nonlinear thinking focuses on complexity and includes knowledge sharing, experience, creativity, innovation and vision. It is important to note that companies need to ensure they have a clear mission, vision and core competencies, short-term financial stability and methods to cope with the day-to-day operations that lead to long-term growth thus allowing leaders time to focus on nonlinear thinking. Non-linear thinking is easier implemented in an organizational culture that values trust and transparency, diversity in opinions, impressions, and experiences and must be able to cross function, technology, hierarchy, business and geography boundaries. Employees should be challenged to create and compete based on innovation. Nonlinear thinking is successful when companies learn the limitations of linear thinking patterns; however, both thinking patterns are needed. Successful companies are those that can determine when to use nonlinear thinking patterns and exploit unexpected opportunities. Organizations need a much quicker process for decision-making. Stated differently organizations need to break traditional rules, business models and ways of thinking. Organizations must be flexible and adjust their strategy based on the environment around them.

    Degmar Reclies – Strategy in Turbulent Times

  34. I think the best way to get people thinking in a nonlinear way is to get people out of their normal box. If a company wants it employees to think differently then the company needs to act differently. Maybe, once a week just set aside time from employees to talk and bounce ideas off each other. A company can’t expect employees to think differently if they don’t act differently. During market turbulence could be a good time for a company to shake things up since the outside world is changing with or without them what better time than now to change.

  35. Creativity and innovation are key components of success in a turbulent market. “Too Many managers forget to think about how creative energy could be encouraged within their company”(1). Just like any other process, these creative and innovated ideas need to written down and implemented into their own processes. These implemented processes can be used as a “Lean Time Plan” to combat market turbulences. “Make a plan to get through the lean times and stick to it. Make sure the plan identifies your goals, while taking into account less sales, why you may be having less sales, and other factors that are eating into your bottom line.” (2)

    (1) Hamel, G. (2000). Leading the Revolution. Harvard Business School Press.
    (2) Sage, R. (2008). 21 Business Success Ideas for Excelling in a Recession.

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