repost­ed from The Goer­ing Cen­ter Newslet­ter 

by: Mack­ey McNeill, Pres­i­dent and CEO of Mack­ey Advi­sors

 

Why can’t we all see the future?  Edie Wein­er, futur­ist, believes it is because we devel­op edu­cat­ed inca­pac­i­ty.  Your expe­ri­ence and knowl­edge is your great­est asset and your great­est bag­gage.  The bot­tom line is we learn too much about some­thing and based on our knowl­edge; see what we expect rather than what is pos­si­ble.    Accord­ing to Edie if we can shift from objec­tiv­i­ty to sub­jec­tiv­i­ty we can all see the future.

 

I recent­ly heard Edie speak at the Women’s Glob­al Lead­er­ship Sum­mit in Wash­ing­ton, DC.   Here are a few of the provoca­tive tid­bits she shared.

 

  • Aging is the biggest shift hap­pen­ing.   Most coun­tries have more peo­ple over 60 than under 60. The Unit­ed States is one of only 4 coun­tries with enough young peo­ple to replace old­er work­ers, thanks only to immi­gra­tion.  We are extend­ing life in the mid­dle, so peo­ple 35 to 70 are all in the same phase of life.  Nev­er in human his­to­ry have we spent this many years in one phase of life.  Our work­force will look dif­fer­ent in the future, with 85 year olds still run­ning fam­i­ly busi­ness­es and 40 year olds leav­ing that same fam­i­ly busi­ness because there is no oppor­tu­ni­ty to advance. 
  • The largest part of our work­force actu­al­ly isn’t peo­ple at all.  Sys­tems and soft­ware com­prise 90% of the work­force.  Con­nec­tiv­i­ty will impact every­thing.  Every­thing will be talk­ing to every­thing all the time.  Your chair will talk to your desk, your cell phone and your home office.
  • Time is speed­ing up.  Every­day some big new thing hap­pens and some­thing big dies.  Big com­pa­nies come to mar­ket overnight and can die just as fast.  Young tech­nol­o­gy entre­pre­neurs raise mil­lions via crowd-sourc­ing in just min­utes online.  The life cycle of busi­ness strate­gies will short­en.  In order to sur­vive, we need a time­less vision, and a nim­ble strate­gic plan.
  • Employ­ees don’t want to com­mit to the long hours to move up in an orga­ni­za­tion, instead opt­ing for roles as inde­pen­dent work­ers and tem­po­rary employ­ees.  New busi­ness­es will skip desk­top and lap­top com­put­ing and go straight to mobile devices.  New, at home, 3D print­ing will allow instant pro­duc­tion of many hard and soft goods.
  • Edu­ca­tion, or the push­ing out of infor­ma­tion, is dead.  It will be replaced by learn­ing, or the absorp­tion of knowl­edge.  Design will be a huge dif­fer­en­tia­tor of the future. 
  • We will move past “green”, the idea that we min­i­mize car­bon impact, to “blue”, which is the idea that we cre­ate things that will inher­ent­ly cre­ate pos­i­tive eco­log­i­cal impact.
  • Play, or expe­ri­ences that are fun, will become a huge val­ue propo­si­tion in the future. Orga­ni­za­tions of the future need to focus on infus­ing play into their prod­ucts, ser­vices, and cul­ture to attract top tal­ent and top tier clients.

 

In gen­er­al, men and women see the future dif­fer­ent­ly. The male view of the world is a 3 legged stool that is built by trans­porta­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and cap­i­tal.  In this world, we build more and peo­ple gain by pil­ing on top.  The female view of the world is also a 3 legged stool, but it is built upon health, edu­ca­tion and eco­log­i­cal infra­struc­ture.  In this world, the view widens and the world becomes more inclu­sive via out­ward expan­sion.  The future is both.  We must build all 6 legs.

 

As CEO’s our role through all this change is to cre­ate a time­less vision.  In Edie’s study of 2 pow­er­ful lead­ers, there are 3 qual­i­ties required for great lead­er­ship. 

 

  1. A vision and a pas­sion for that vision
  2. The abil­i­ty to artic­u­late your vision in such a way that it engages even the most dis­en­gaged peo­ple.
  3. A total lack of embar­rass­ment by, and com­plete com­mit­ment to  your vision

 

As own­ers and entre­pre­neurs, we have to ask our­selves, am I will­ing to be the brave leader, step­ping into this fast paced future by craft­ing a time­less vision?