“Don’t let the future freak you out. Freak out if you can’t align to the speed with which it’s occurring!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
That was my key message in my message a few years back for the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce annual spring dinner. Over 700 local executives from throughout the city attended the event that I headlined, with a keynote that took a look at over 20 trends that are providing opportunity in the global economy.
The key to understanding the future is not just the trends that are driving the future, but the speed with which they are coming about. This is the natural result of what happens when every single industry becomes a technology industry – the pace of innovation and change accelerates to that of Silicon Valley, for which there is only one speed: fast.
That was the reality pre-Covid. Post-pandemic, the world is even faster, because we’ve had some significant change that has occurred. Consider the reality of what we have learned through these remarkable times:
- in the early days of Covid, we compressed 10 years of change into but 6 months
- that’s because organizations had to rapidly accelerate the adoption of new ideas, business models, technologies, concepts, and structures
- online shopping, telehealth, remote work, virtual gyms … every industry suddenly had to adapt FAST
- the result is that major trends accelerated; what we thought was far away was all of a sudden, reality
- such that organizations learned something new about speed!
- and agility and flexibility became critical!
- the impact is that business models shifted faster
- as people become more adaptable to new interaction methods!
- the attitude ‘it can’t be done!’ disappeared
- and decision-making paralysis disappeared
- a slow organizational structure was put under a microscope
- old barriers to new ideas disappeared
- and getting it done became the rallying cry!
And now? Organizations are busy learning how to keep what they’ve learned – how can we sustain the momentum? We’re fast – we can’t go back! If pre-pandemic the future belonged to those who are fast – it now belongs to those who are even faster!
Bottom line? We live in the most staggering time of acceleration. Our challenge is now our ability to keep up with these trends. It will be your ability to ingest these trends and turn them into opportunities, that will increasingly define your future. We have never witnessed a period of time in which we have seen so much change coming at us so quickly. Success will not come from your history. Success will not come from your legacy. It will come from your ability to innovate, change and adapt.
And if you aren’t aligned to that reality, you SHOULD be freaking out.