“At some moment in time, you will come to realize that the future you thought had no longer exists!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
If you aren’t thinking ‘big’ enough, you future might be what you think it is. At some point in time, if it has not yet happened, you’ll come to realize that the future that you thought you had no longer exists, and that you need to do something new. Are you reinventing fast enough?
At a personal level, being able to constantly adapt to an entirely new and different future is no longer an option – it’s a necessity. Your skills will continue to go out of date as new ones emerge; your career will undergo significant and relentless change; the company and industry you work for and within will be subject to nonstop upheaval. Nothing will ever stay the same; everything will always be relentlessly different.
And if you are a business organization, the realization that incessant market, product and industry change will one day bring you to the the reality that you need to continually reinvent your future. It’s pretty likely that at this very moment, someone is busy with an idea, busy inventing a future, that will have you looking back in five years and saying, “Wow!’
Some organizations realize this before it’s too late; others do not. The results are predictable.
I’ve certainly seen my fair share of this reality, both with the events that I undertake, as well as the insight that I gain from my research, and from my observations of trends within many industries.
Over the last many years, many of my events have come from CEOs or CxOs of major organizations who realize that to survive and thrive in the future, they need to do a a major pivot, a significant transformation, a fundamental overhaul. I was on the phone with one client yesterday talking about an event in October; they are bringing together their leadership team, and my job will be to help them understand that while their old market might still go on for some time, an entirely new and different one is emerging. And it presents a MUCH bigger opportunity!
In other words, my role is to help the entire team understand that the future that they thought they had – their old market – is slowly disappearing – with the opportunity of a new and bigger one emerging. The basis for this is an observation that I often share:
Product lifecycles have become shorter; market longevity is not guaranteed; new competitors emerge faster; customers display less loyalty. These trends and many more mean that you don’t have any guarantee that the product or service that you are offering today will be in demand tomorrow – or even relevant.
Many organizations and leadership teams struggle with this concept. It’s rampant among auto company executives – ‘there will always be gasoline based cars!’ ; funeral home directors – ‘people will never buy caskets online‘ ; and even the beef industry – ‘there will never be meatless meat!” Of course, some of us know different.
What is necessary today is a realize that we are moving behind mere ‘business model innovation‘ to a time of massive ‘business model transformation.’ If you aren’t part of that plan, the plan will have a different plan for you.
You can’t keep doing what you did – you need to be doing what you could be doing. That’s your future!