“To win in the race to the future, you need to decide to show up at the starting line” – Futurist Jim Carroll
Each morning since August, I’ve enjoyed my morning coffee while putting together a little future/motivational quote from some of my stage pictures. You can track this over on Instagram; I also tweet them. I’m hoping to put up a few slide shows on my blog as well in the future; some folks find them inspiring and useful.
Today’s thought? “To win in the race to the future, make sure you show up to the starting line!”
Here’s the story behind the thought — and ask yourself, what’s your mindset? Are you in an organization that simply does not show up?
Every day, I get email messages and calls from folks seeking to bring me in for a leadership keynote on future trends and innovation. I do about 50 events a year; this week, I was in London, UK, speaking to a global group of Godiva Chocolates and two other global brands, newly combined in one company. (Yes, they gave me a gift basket!)
That’s what I do — I help global organizations discover and think about the disruptive trends which will provide opportunity and challenge in the future. Check my client list — Disney, NASA, Johnson and Johnson, Whirlpool …. I do many events where organizations are actively aligning themselves to fast paced trends.
And yet, in a world in which the future belongs to those who are fast, it’s clear that others would prefer to hide their heads in the sand. They would prefer not to have to think about what comes next. They don’t want to shake their world. They don’t show up to the starting line.
A few weeks ago, I had an exploratory call with a company in the food/consumer products business. They were holding a combined CEO/Board of Directors meeting. A senior VP reached out to me; we had a long conversation (which I actively encourage – call me!) around the issues I would cover; the trends I would delve into; the message I would bring to the table. She knew that the organization needed to some big, bold moves; take some dramatic initiatives; and actively challenge everyone to align their strategy to future trends.
As in many cases, she ran the idea up the flagpole, and got this response, which still floors me to this day:
“It was decided not to include a futurist in our leadership development program. They don’t think it is a good time to do this – it’s not a good time to rock the boat. “
As in, “we don’t think its important right now for our board and senior executives to understand the trends that will challenge us …”
At the end of the day, losing one potential client doesn’t really matter. I’ll do my 50 events this year, and will sit back knowing that I’ve done wonderful working in shaping the direction of some of the most fascinating organizations in the world.
But I’ll also wonder, in the back of my mind, how some people can decide that they don’t want to understand what comes next — and decide to not show up at the starting line!