© 2006

The Ambiguity Advantage

What Great Leaders Are Great At

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Conclusion

    1. David J. Wilkinson
      Pages 1-5
  3. How Things Appear to Be

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 7-7
    2. David J. Wilkinson
      Pages 9-41
    3. David J. Wilkinson
      Pages 42-66
  4. The Nature of Leadership

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 67-70
    2. David J. Wilkinson
      Pages 71-85
    3. David J. Wilkinson
      Pages 86-91
    4. David J. Wilkinson
      Pages 92-98
    5. David J. Wilkinson
      Pages 99-118
  5. Finding the Advantage

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 119-119
    2. David J. Wilkinson
      Pages 121-140
    3. David J. Wilkinson
      Pages 141-145
    4. David J. Wilkinson
      Pages 146-163
    5. David J. Wilkinson
      Pages 164-165
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 166-175

About this book


This new work shows that a key factor for great leadership is the ability to recognize, explore and profit from ambiguous situations. Drawing upon his own research and including compelling international cases, the author reveals how to lead others through times of uncertainty so as to create opportunity, innovation and competitive advantage.


innovation leadership research

About the authors

DAVID WILKINSON is the Head of Professional Development at Cranfield University where he researches and teaches many aspects of learning, leadership, personal, professional and organizational development. Having designed and run Command Level Public Order courses for the UK police services, he runs trainer training for disaster and post-terrorist incident management around the world. Teaching at a number of universities and conferences in many countries, David also consults for business, emergency and defence services, various agencies and governments internationally.

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
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'For a leader in the old world, certainty offered an advantage. In the

new world, uncertainty will give the leader an edge. Wilkinson blurs the

lines between what we know we don't know and what we don't know we know.

A must read for anyone who wants to take advantage of the chaos around

them.' - Dr. David Lomas, Head of Innovation and Talent, Royal Mail Group

'Anyone who believes that the status quo is a credible option urgently needs to read this book' - Chief Superintendent Philip Aspey, National Secretary Police Superintendents Association of England & Wales

'Book important Wilkinson's, topic neglected, distinctions powerful read valuable. Confused, annoyed or intrigued by that opening sentence? It's pretty tame, as far as ambiguity goes. Whether you are irritated, mystified or attracted by ambiguity, the fact remains that there is a great deal of it in the complex and dynamic world of modern work. If you have leadership responsibilities, and you have never felt puzzled, then you are almost certainly not rising to the challenge of your job. Most people shy away from ambiguity. Leaders cannot afford to, because ambiguity is the raw material from which the future is generated. Dave Wilkinson's Ambiguity Advantage is an important book because it reveals how we deceive and limit ourselves, and our organisations, by over-simplifying ambiguity. It is a powerful and valuable book because it also shows how to work with ambiguity and create opportunities from it.' - Alan Robertson, Management Consultant & Executive Coach (Author of The Fast Track Formula and Managing Talented People)

'This book has very interesting insights for leaders managing ambiguity and therefore by definition for all leaders. It is very readable and the case studies make the points clearly. It's a fresh approach to reviewing leadership.' - Dale Haddon, People & Organisational Development Director for Parcelforce Worldwide