The Future is Now

POSTED JUNE 1, 2016 - by Dina Silver

I sat with a group of colleagues last week and we spent a couple of hours exploring our thinking about global trends over the next five years as well as how the world of executive coaching will be different five years from now.  Both conversations were rich, and like all generative dialogues, the thinking was compelling, deep, far ranging and the ideas and their potential impacts are still chasing each other in my brain.

These are crucial conversation for all business leaders to explore with their teams.  I encourage you to make this a priority in the next month—you will be amazed at the impact of the dialogue.  Unless we speculate about where the world is heading and how shifting trends will impact our businesses, we will be blindsided and out-performed by competitors who saw the future coming and took action.

Step 1: “How do you think the world will be different 5 years from now?”

Take an hour or so and have a blue sky conversation where all ideas are welcome.  Give people note cards or large post-its and have them write several ways they see the world changing in the next 5 years. Group similar ideas together on the wall and enter into deep and curious conversations about the trends that your people see emerging.  There are no right answers here—so don’t make anyone wrong.

Step 2: “How will these trends impact our business over the next 5 years?”

Now that your team has brainstormed about future global trends, bring the conversation down in scope to look at the impact of these trends on your business.   Again, I suggest index cards and each person contributing 3 – 5 impressions. 

Don’t shy away from the hard conversations—that’s the point and value of this exercise!   If a trend is observed that puts your key product at risk, don’t sweep it under the rug.  Shine a light on it and debate the action your team or organization needs to take.

However intelligent your business strategy, it holds little value for you if it does not incorporate key global and local trends and their impact on your company.  You cannot design, build, sell or provide service in a vacuum.  Make sure your strategy is synched up with where the world is headed so that you are positioned for the success you deserve.