After more than 2 years of research and travelling around the world to talk to senior leaders about the challenges facing their businesses, and themselves, 5-10 years in the future we will shortly publish the book summarizing our findings and recommendations – what does this mean for you and your organization in preparing for the future, and what do you need to start doing today.
“Ready? The 3Rs of Preparing your Organization for the Future” will be available at the end of May/start of June, so we hope you will find it interesting and useful. Here’s a short introduction – for more also see www.3Rsready.com – and we will be blogging more on our findings in the coming weeks.
Some findings are clear, and challenging. Leaders today clearly live in two distinct, but demanding worlds, with intense pressures for immediate results but also long term opportunities that call for transformational, not incremental change. The issue this raises is “Bridging the Gap,” almost universally described as a major challenge facing leaders today.
Addressing this challenge calls for what we describe as the 3Rs: Rethinking Your Playing Field, Redefining Your Ambition, and Reshaping How You Work. Rethinking Your Playing Field should be a familiar topic to Global Trends readers, as it involves developing a holistic point of view on how the future will be different in terms of competitors, markets, consumers, employees, and society. Developing this point of view requires moving from data on what is changing to understanding of what it means and insights about how these changes could impact our world. Lots of examples are provided about how other leaders see the implications of these trends for their businesses.
The second step of Redefining Your Ambition moves beyond thinking about what the future will look like to developing a point of view on what it will take for you to be successful there. Based on the experiences of leading companies, we highlight the importance of vision and purpose, two concepts that are often just marketing “words on a wall” in many organizations today. Without actively defining and clarifying this future direction, organizations are left driving incremental change focusing on short-term results and holding onto old ways of working and thinking. Here we highlight the importance of understanding ambition as a critical necessity for enabling proactive, as opposed to, reactive thinking and acting inside organizations.
The third step of Reshaping How You Work involves three concrete areas of action that should be taken today. The first is to create an agenda that aligns and prioritizes actions across the organization based on two-directional thinking, looking forward from today and backward from our ambition. This shift has important implications for how you utilize strategy, planning and budgeting processes inside your organization. The second is to shift your mindset and approach in interactions with all stakeholders (consumers, employees, society and others) from transactions to relationships. The key here is to move from a defensive and protective mindset in your interactions to an open, co-creative approach. The third shift is moving from supporting an organization that often is based on complacency and holding onto the past to one with the courage, capacity and commitment to challenge and move the organization forward every day.
But preparing your organization for the future is not enough – leaders also need to prepare themselves simultaneously. The final chapter looks at how these 3Rs can be applied to individuals in preparing themselves as leaders for the future – including candid and practical advice from CEOs who are also facing these issues. If leaders are not open to challenging and preparing themselves for the future, it will be challenging, if not impossible, to move their organization forward.
Take a moment to think about how you are viewing the challenges and opportunities facing your organization, and yourself, looking 5-10 years in the future. What actions are you taking today to prepare?
We hope that Ready? The 3Rs of Preparing Your Organization for the Future will be an invaluable guide as you tackle these questions.