Archives for October 2022
Here’s what clients have been asking for as they align to this new era of volatility and challenge.
“Fight your fear, not your future!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
2020 was a pretty fearful year, wasn’t it? My Daily Inspiration that Hallowe’en wasn’t terribly inspirational!
In any event, let’s focus on fear!
When it comes to the future, you might fail. Things might not go well. There will be things you will regret. Unanticipated detours. Sudden surprises. Twists and turns that will challenge your path. Setbacks and slams. Defeat, frustration, loss, collapse. Pretty depressing stuff!
But if you focus on those things, your fear of the future will hold you back, because you will start to fight for your future. The fight-flight-freeze response kicks into high gear – our genetics has wired us for inaction in the face of the unknown. That’s why you need to fight your fear of what comes next – because you can choose to fail, or you can choose to try to win. Concentrate too much on the former, and you might not spend enough time on the latter.
The problem with fear is that it is a barrier to your future.
Fear of new ideas can stall your progress.
Fear of the unknown can cost you opportunities.
Fear of the unknown can cause you to misfocus on the wrong stuff.
Fear of uncertainty can cause you to waste time trying to chase certainty.
Fear of making a mistake will make you take fewer risks which can be a bad thing from an innovation perspective.
Fear of making the wrong decision can accelerate your aggressive indecision.
Fear of change can cause you to become stuck in a rut.
As I will often say on stage, “people fear that which they do not know.”
All of these things will put you into a mindset where you are fighting the future rather than trying to align to what it presents with potential. And the thing about fighting the future is that the future always wins.
That’s why it’s important to try to abandon your fear, and focus on the future, not fight it. Spend more time trying to figure out where you are going in order to bandish fear through clarity. Understand the trends that provide peril and potential in order to reduce your worry and concern. Invest in trends insight so that you can better understand why you need not fear what comes next.
Fear is your foe, not the future!
Oh, and here’s a happy clown.
“Momentum matters more than motivation!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
It’s a heck of a thing for a guy who sends out a Daily Inspiration that perhaps we should spend less time on motivational fluff, and more time on simply moving forward. But it’s my post, so why not! Because it’s true! A stalled force achieves no goal. A static object sees no success. An inert object gains no wins. Someone who is stuck will never see accomplishments. It’s better to be moving forward than to be standing still!
I will often address this issue on stage, such as in this short clip from a keynote in London UK a few weeks back:
Motivational speakers can play an important role, but they won’t necessarily get you into the future fast. I’ve addressed this here some time back in a previous post:
“The message from a motivational speaker is like Chinese food – after an hour, you’ve lost your inspiration. But my futurist insight will excite your imagination for a lifetime!”
As an aside, one of the most challenging things for me is when people ask me what I do for a living.
“I’m a speaker” I explain.
“Oh, a motivational speaker?”
I then try to delicately explain what it is a futurist does….. Which, from one perspective, is working hard to push people into action so they can get to where they are going in better shape than they might otherwise be – by understanding what it is going to be like when they get there! That’s why I’m big on momentum and action. Here’s what you should be thinking in terms of action steps each and every day – challenge yourself through momentum and avoid inaction:
- move forward: adopt the mindset that you aren’t going to fix the problems of the future by doing what you’ve done in the past.
- be realistic and don’t wait for the big win: stop looking for home runs because they can set you back: set goals that can be met and move towards them
- step up your game: is your risk culture inappropriate for a fast-paced economy, or is it holding you back?
- always accelerate: find and avoid the stall points
- avoid “momentum failure“: that’s what happens when the momentum that is necessary to innovate is clear, but nothing happens because a decision cannot be made.
- chase action: avoid stalling
- avoid aggressive indecision: make decisions and get going!
- stop seeking clarity: be prepared to move with fuzzy insight
- pause less: recognize waiting won’t work
- challenge your speed: check your velocity – are you moving fast enough?
- look around: are your competitors moving faster than you?
- reboot yourself: if you’ve crashed, do a reset and start again
- check your speed: after all, as I have long explained, the future belongs to those who are fast!
I’m not disparaging the need for a motivational message – being inspired each & every day is a critical part of how people move forward in a complex world. Heck, here I am with my morning coffee putting together this ‘daily inspirational quote.’ But having said that, over a 29-year time span I’ve been to a lot of conferences & have seen a LOT of motivational speakers. Some are great – but some carry the same, tired, canned message. It’s warmed over, repurposed, the same old. In an hour, you’ve forgotten what the message was all about.
But my key message is simple.
Because the future is going to happen in the very next moment.
It’s yours to own!
Do it now!
If you aren’t thinking big enough, your future is going to be pretty small.
Also, it means you aren’t doing things right!
I am always stunned by how many people don’t get it.
On stage, Kansas City, Sept 2022
Most effective Web sites feature a ‘hero image’ which is designed to grab your attention AND get across in one simple sentence what it is you provide.
Mine changed – specifically with the ‘hero text’ which ran ever since the newest version of my Web site launched in 2019.
That section went from this:
So why did I go from:
“I align you to the future by providing you with highly customized trends & industry research, delivered in a compelling motivational style”
“I help CEOs achieve their strategic objectives by aligning their organizations to a disruptive, accelerating future. It’s powerful leadership insight based on detailed, specific industry trends – delivered within a fast-paced keynote with a compelling motivational style!”
It’s directly related to the nature of the world of business today.
The reality that any CEO faces today is a rapidly changing landscape. Products go out of date faster, skills become more irrelevant faster, business models shift quicker, customer expectations accelerate at a greater pace, new competitors now emerge at blinding speed, and the scope and speed of required R&D keep increasing faster. Name just about any metric, and today’s CEO and senior executive have to deal with a greater number of challenging issues and need to do it at a pace that is nothing like it was yesterday. It will only get faster – that’s why the word agility and speed has dominated the corner suite for some time.
There’s a reason two of my books bear the titles The Future Belongs to Those Who Are Fast and Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast! – both speak to the issues of dealing with transformation and disruption in a fast-moving world.
To deal with this reality, the last ten years have seen a renewed emphasis and an actual increase in the number of CEO-level corporate retreats. And I’ve been booked to come in and open these events for organizations like Yum! Brands, NASA, Disney, Volvo, Black & Veech, Rich Foods, Perkin Elmer, and a large number of other Fortune 2000 organizations. In all of these situations, the CEO or senior leadership executive has found it necessary to align their team to the reality of a faster future and the transformation of everything around them.
As part of the preparation for these events, I usually end up on one or two conference calls with the CEO; the first, the exploratory dance while they determine if I am the right person to open their event, and the second, a detailed call to prep for the event. The latter will often include a discussion of the process by which I align my message, material, and research to their message; we are often in sync. In that way, I am helping to set the stage for the transformation or disruption that they are hoping to achieve.
What this has led to is a very definite shift in my business with a stunning array of complex keynotes on behalf of many global CEOs. Here’s a sampling; some of these are global icons with billions in revenue, while others are smaller with revenues from $250 million to $1 billion. Behind each topic description is a highly customized, very detailed, and topic-specific keynote crafted specifically for the client and CEO.
- “The future of the space industry” for NASA – twice – in Houston and the Goddard Space Center
- “The future of pharma and healthcare” for Pfizer in Paris – 6 months before Covid
- “The transformation of infrastructure – energy, water, telecom, roads and buildings” for Black and Veach
- “The era of hyperconnected medicine” for Perkin Elmer
- “Consumers, food and retail post-Covid” for Rich Food Corporation
- “The disruption of the energy industry” for Siemens Energy
- “The future of golf” for the PGA of America in Boston and Orlando
- “The next 100 years in agriculture and farming” for Wilbur Ellis’s 100th anniversary CEO meeting
- “Innovation in the World of Upside Down Trends” for the Walt Disney Corporation
- “Self-Driving Cars, Electric Vehicles, and the Sharing Economy” for Mercedes
- “The Acceleration of Legal Risk in the Era of Disruption” for Eversheds Sutherland global partner meeting
- “The Acceleration of Personalized Medicine in the Era of Exponential Genomics” for Genentech Pharma
- “The Future Impact of Internet of Things” for Whirlpool / Maytag
- “The Future of Forward-Oriented Insurance” for New York Life
- “Prognostic Diagnostics, Self-Driving and the Future of Trucks” for Volvo / Mac Trucks
- “Transitioning Industrial Markets” for General Dynamics / Northrop Grumman
- “The Future and the Next Economy” for Blackrock
- “The Future of Energy Utilities: Connected, Intelligent, Localized” for Itron Technologies
- “The Acceleration of Food Trends & Fast Consumers” for Godiva Chocolates / Ulker Brands
- “The Future of Manufacturing – Smart, Additive, Accelerated” for Amsted
- “3D Printing, Fast Innovation & The Future of Manufacturing” for LeGrand
- “The Future of Packaging and Consumer Products” for Ammega Industries
- “Bold Steps with Disruptive Energy Change” for Dominion Energy
- “Agriculture, Food and the Future” for the Wegner Grop
- “Fast science and agriculture” for Nutrien
- “The Reinvention of Material Science” for Arconic
- “The Inevitabilty of Autonomy and Electric” for Kaltire
- “Construction Methodologies: Faster, More Complex, and Skills Accelerant” for Alberici Group
- “The Potential for Amazonian Disruption” for Henry Schein
- “Shifting the Role of the Pharmacist” for McKesson
- “The Energy Industry Being MP3’d” for PG&E
- “Leadership in the Era of Economic Grief” for Compass Food Group
All of these events have involved very detailed, niche-oriented topics organized around the broad themes of the future, trends, disruption, transformation, and innovation. I’ve become known as ‘the guy‘ for many of my speaker bureau partners (I’m represented by many of the top agencies in the world) as the ‘go-to’ for the ability to take on very detailed, very specific topics.
An interesting angle is that I’ve learned that many of these CEOs have spent time on my Web site, reading my materials, and watching several of my videos. The CEO of Lennox – one of the world’s largest HVAC brands – specifically commented that it was my Youtube videos on disruptive thinking that grabbed his attention. Another observed that it was this summary on my home page that crystallized his belief that I could help him set the tone at his critical leadership meeting:”
- SEE DISRUPTIVE TRENDS: you’ll better understand the trends that will impact you in the near and longer-term
- FOCUS ON OPPORTUNITY: you will achieve clarity on the trends that really matter
- ALIGN TO DISRUPTION: you will shift your thinking to the actions that really matter
- UNLOCK CREATIVITY: you will discover that it’s buried in your teams – and how you can let it out
- ACHIEVE AGILITY: you will learn more about the role of fast-teams
- ENHANCE YOUR SPEED: you will discover how to better align to our faster future
- ACCELERATE INNOVATION: you will find ways to rethink your strategic pipeline
- COLLABORATE MORE: you will maximize the benefit of your internal idea factory
- DELIVER ON GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES: you shift from reactive defense to disruptive offense
So what does this mean for you?
As a leader, you might be struggling with the transformation, disruption, and change occurring within your industry. You need to fire up your team and realign them toa. faster future – and have decided to do this within an internal leadership meeting or corporate retreat.
Know that you will be in good hands doing this with me.
Contact me and we’ll talk!