“Your biggest risk comes from your ‘biggest unknowns.’ How do you plan to get to your future if you don’t know what it will look like when you get there?” – Futurist Jim Carroll
I’ve always been mystified by the presence of people around me who go into each and every day without any idea of what might come next. (That said, my family is mystified as to how I float my way through any particular day, oblivious to things around me!)
How can you plan to arrive in the future successfully if you don’t have a semblance of insight as to what it might look like?
Some organizations are very proactive in ensuring they have a plan. Last year, the massive US-based National Safety Council had me into take a look at the future risk challenges that might need to be managed in the era of hyper-connectivity. Previously, the World Congress on Quality had me headline their global conference on future product quality, safety and reliability issues. The WorldSkills organization had me in for a talk to a few thousand people on the future of careers and skills. The World Pharma Innovation Congress brought me in to London to open their event with a look at the future of healthcare. The World Government Summit in Dubai? The future of governance and the new challenges of the era of acceleration.
Are you sensing a bit of a theme here? Many large, global organizations know that they can’t send their members and constituent audience into the future blind, unknowing and unaware.
The fact is, tomorrow is going to happen – and ya gotta’ have a plan!
And yet, many other companies and organizations don’t have such a plan. Their path to the future, and the map of what it might look like on arrival, is developed and shared with only a small group of people – the ‘chosen future few.’ There is little input from others.
In these cases, the future becomes a mystery, out of reach, inaccessible.
If you don’t involve everyone in thinking about the future, you run the risk of them playing no role in helping you to get there. They’ll view it with suspicion and concern, rather than being a willing and active participant!
If you don’t have a plan? It’s pretty likely you’ll end up with the future you inherit, not necessarily the future you desire!