“Go on, admit it: your strategy for the future is going a long to nowhere!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
I’ve long said that there are three types of people in the world: those who watch the future happen; those who make it happen; and those who sit back after it has happened and say, “whoah, where did that come from?”
Surprise and shock should not be a part of your strategic agenda! You should never be in a situation where you don’t know where you are going but you are making a great time. You are failing if you are surprised by your failure to understand what comes next.
Too many people are completely blind to the trends which will cause massive upheaval within their industry, or refuse to accept the significant business model disruptions which are already occurring. And a simple fact is that many major trends have been accelerated as a result of the global pandemic – what used to take years to unfold now takes but months.
What should you do if you make that conscious decision, and are trying to steer your organization into the future?
- turn forward! make sure everyone is firmly focused on the future while managing the present.
- change the focus: make sure that you link the corporate mission of today to the major trends and developments that will influence the organization through the coming years;
- pursue speed: use a leadership style that encourages a culture of agility and allows for a rapid response to a sudden change in products, markets, competitive challenges, and other business, technological and workplace trends;
- watch more stuff: establish and encourage an organization-wide “trends radar” in which all staff keep a keen eye on the developments that will affect the organization in the future;
- share more: make sure that you’ve got a culture of collaboration in which everyone is prepared to share their insight, observations, and recommendations with respect to future trends, threats, and opportunities;
- change responsibilities: ensure that staff are regularly encouraged to not only deal with the unique and ongoing challenges of today but are open and responsive to the new challenges yet to come;
- take risks: you won’t get anywhere if you don’t make sure that are encouraged to turn future challenges into opportunities, rather than viewing change as a threat to be feared.
I continue to be stunned by how many organizations today continue to be caught flat-footed by the pace of rapid trends that impact them. It seems like it should be so simple to avoid this!