How to Create Continuous Growth and Ensure Future Relevance
Almost every week there’s a report of some new disruption to our traditional paradigms of business and economics, social interaction, privacy, and our relationship with the natural environment. When presented with such paradigm-shaking news, leaders of organizations often feel a sense of ambivalence due to the fact that they are ill-equipped to articulate the implications such things may have on their business or community. Many choose to ignore such things because there is little they feel can be done today that will make a significant difference. This often results in these organizations taking the default “business as usual” approach to future growth and success. In order for we as leaders and organizations to create continuous growth despite increasing future uncertainty, we must rethink our concept and strategy for “growth.” Trying to apply the same old model to today’s business environment does not work. The battle for relevance and growth requires a deep futures strategy that enables an organization to anticipate disruption and shifts in the market and public policy. Leaders need a process that is both applicable and adaptable to sudden or unexpected changes.
The question of human relevance to the workforce has become increasingly ambiguous as more companies, governments, and institutions look to automation and robotics to increase productivity, reduce costs, and increase profits. As this trend continues to grow, the implications this will have on the economy, organizations, and communities will be significant to say the least. The good news is that there is still time to take the necessary actions to position individuals, organizations, communities, and entire industries and sectors to thrive. By illustrating the method we used to evaluate our talent and workforce development strategies going forward, we have also created a tool that any organization can use to test their own strategies. By outlining this process, we hope to empower other organizations to create their long-term successful futures.
The rate of change we see in the world today is unprecedented. New innovations, products, and services fade to irrelevance more quickly than ever before. The constant bombardment of the vast array of information now available can easily make us, as leaders and entrepreneurs, feel overwhelmed. We know we must change, constantly and quickly, but we lack clarity about how and why. Consequently, our futures are driven by outside forces to which we constantly react, and we lose all intentionality and vested interest in the future being created.
As such, the need for reinvention in our individual lives and the lives of our organizations is urgent. Reinvention demands that we change our perception of the future and reassert control over the direction our lives are taking. It ensures our actions today have meaning and purpose and are not merely reactions to the constant challenges and obstacles we face. In this e-book, I offer a process for reinvention that will enable you to imagine a future that is truly of your choosing and empower you to begin creating it today.
As a futurist I am often asked, “How can we honestly plan for the future when everything seems to change overnight?” Old models and methods of strategic planning have proven inadequate for today’s volatile and uncertain environment. As a result, organizations are busily trying to manage internal disruption in the midst of a complex external environment. Although my work spans the industry spectrum, I have found that the non-profit and social services sector face some of the greatest potential challenges in a complex and uncertain future.
Although each organization has its own unique set of uncertainties, the top three concerns I hear in my conversations with executive directors are: Future Funding, Long-term Strategy, and Organizational Cohesion.
So how do we plan for an uncertain and seemingly chaotic future? We start by standing in the future and working backward. Yes, you read that correctly. We must stand in the future and look back in order to:
- Uncover the implications of an evolving economic system.
- Identify emerging trends, issues, and events that will drive public policy.
- Adapt to society’s shifting dynamics in relation to wealth, philanthropic contribution, and responsibility.
in a volatile and uncertain future
If you are reading this book right now, chances are you are operating in a leadership capacity. As a 21st-century leader you face significant obstacles to ensuring your organization’s long-term viability. The good news is that these obstacles present extraordinary opportunity for those that have the courage to take the lead in creating and seizing the 21st century. There is no “silver bullet” solution to the complexity that you will continue to encounter as we move into the future. What I offer you in these pages is a framework for creating an effective strategy that will dramatically increasing your chances for an extraordinary and profitable future.
When I tell people what I do for a living, I often get one of two responses. The first is immediate interest and the desire to know more, while the second is usually sarcastic with references to crystal balls and tarot cards. Although the latter response is typically in good fun and jest, both of these responses are usually followed by serious questions about the future of the economy, the future of a specific industry, and the future of the world at large. I then must explain that as a futurist, my job is not to predict the future, but rather to help organizations and individuals identify various possible futures and work with them to create successful strategies that will enable them to thrive in any situation.