I am downplaying ‘futures’ in favor of design thinking these days, but the old-school futurists still have a great deal to offer, like Bob Johansen:
Four Practical Ways for Leaders to Make the Future by Deepa Mehta via Institute For The Future
Bob Johansen recently published the second edition of Leaders Make the Future. In the book, Bob presents an expansive ten-year forecast about the key future forces that will impact our world in the decade ahead, pointing to the shift towards the global well-being economy, the growing impact of digital natives, and the emergence of cloud-served supercomputing. Bob reminds us that we live in an increasingly VUCA world, characterized by Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity, and that the VUCA World presents both danger and opportunity.
Leaders who make the future will make sense of the VUCA world and transform Volatility into Vision, Uncertainty into Understanding, Complexity into Clarity, and Ambiguity into Agility. What skills will allow future leaders to thrive? With four decades of wisdom and knowhow as a ten-year forecaster at the intersection of technology and society, Bob identifies ten new leadership skills for the future. He brings each skill to life with personal stories and examples from around the world. The ten-year forecast and ten skills point to the Why and What of successful leadership in the future.
In all the write-ups about this book — all of them written in a dreary marketing speak — none of them lists the ten skills. I finally captured them from a self test, here:
Exploit your inner drive to build and grow things, as well as connect with others in the making.
Leaders are very clear about what they are making, but very flexible about how it gets made.
See through messes and contradictions to a future that others cannot yet see. Leaders are very clear about what they are making, but very flexible about how it gets made.
Turn dilemmas—which, unlike problems, cannot be solved—into advantages and opportunities.
Immersive Learning Ability
Immerse yourself in unfamiliar environments to learn from them in a first-person way.
See things from nature’s point of view; to understand, respect, and learn from nature’s patterns.
Calm tense situations where differences dominate and communication has broken down—and bring people from divergent cultures toward constructive engagement.
Be open and authentic about what matters to you—without advertising yourself.
Create quick early versions of innovations with the expectation that later success will require early failures.
Smart Mob Organizing
Create, engage with, and nurture purposeful business or social change networks through intelligent use of electronic and other media.
Seed, nurture, and grow shared assets that can benefit other players—and sometimes allow competition at a higher level.
Sounds like being a Taoist sage, actually.
That gives me an idea: I will have to reread the Tao Te Ching from the perspective of an operating manual for the post-normal world.