The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 affected how both individuals and organizations had to operate professionally like never before.
Many workers went remote, while others were unfortunately laid off for the time being. Brick-and-mortar organizations had to close their doors with no real certainty as to when “business as usual” would return.
The reality is that nobody accurately predicted the novel coronavirus would disrupt us as it did, shutting down the global economy and leaving a sea of uncertainty in its wake. All were left with no other option than agility, whether we realized it or not.
In my Anticipatory Leader System, I teach the importance of having an Anticipatory mindset, where we use the future certainties of Hard Trends to our advantage as a way to see disruption coming before it disrupts. This allows us to become positive disruptors and stay ahead of the curve.
But when COVID-19 swept the world, many turned to agility. In hindsight, I’ll bet many wish they could’ve anticipated the devastating effects a pandemic would have on the world in an effort to prevent widespread disruption.
Hindsight is 20/20, making that hope merely a pipe dream. While anticipation is a vital competency for the success of any business in any industry during pre-pandemic days, the reality we faced and lesson we learned from a global pandemic is that agility is a supplementary competency needed as well.
Mere days into the pandemic and global lockdown, organizations of all different industries had undoubtedly already begun their implementation of an organization-wide agile mindset. This was a necessity, but soon after, a shift to anticipation was equally as imperative.
Where was the world outside of their industry heading, and in what ways could the Hard Trends of these transformative times be beneficial to our ability to grow as a leader within and outside of said industry?
It is not evident at this moment, but in the near future, we will see which businesses decided to use both agility and anticipation during the thick of the coronavirus pandemic, and which merely used agility as a way to pivot until the world went “back to normal.”
I’m not only referring to the basic disruption of closed doors and excessive video meetings with employees and business leaders. I’m talking about the exponential technological change COVID-19 accelerated in only a few short months.
Everything from video conferencing to artificial intelligence (AI) applications became as essential for a multitude of organizations as a grocery store was to a family of four. These trends will only continue to increase in value as we navigate our way further into the post-pandemic world.
Let’s take video conferencing via Zoom, for example. This software existed prior to the pandemic and was gaining popularity in the remote workforce. When nearly every industry had to go remote, especially K-12 education, Zoom’s value went through the roof, helping every classroom and every student stay connected and continue to be in school virtually.
That was agility at play, and it worked, but now going forward we must implement anticipation in determining how this technology will shape the future of our industries.
Another competency I teach in my Anticipatory Leader System is exponential thinking about these exponential technological advancements. Zoom being a medium on which an organization can continue to have meetings is great, but there are a multitude of features and out-of-the-box applications the software can help with as well.
The presenter has the ability to film the class or meeting for reference later is an exponential use of the software, with nothing becoming permanently missed, and perhaps the old way of note taking that might not work for everyone is now replaced by audio and video recordings and screen captures of literal examples from a class or meeting.
This simple capability doesn’t stop there. More exponential usage of the functionality of Zoom could be beneficial in the freelance economy. Several individuals will respond to the economic uncertainty following COVID-19 with a side skill, such as graphic design.
Instead of logging hours with clients with meager descriptions about the project, what if you used Zoom to film your screen while you design their marketing materials, so they have a log of the hours worked and you provide them with a detailed visual of what you created for them?
One thing is for sure: whether you are a business leader, an entrepreneur, or a working professional, having an Anticipatory mindset coupled with agility is necessary in all of our lives.
Both digital and physical disruptions do not stop at the organization level; as individuals, our personal lives can be disrupted as well, as was most evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. How we operated as individuals in public was completely uprooted, sending many into a tailspin of uncertainty.
Enrolling in my Anticipatory Leader System can greatly benefit you both professionally and personally, bringing real-world examples of how you can turn disruption and change into opportunity and advantage in all aspects of your life while discovering how anticipation and agility creates a well-rounded plan for you, your family, or your business.
Daniel Burrus is considered one of the world’s leading futurists on global trends and innovation. The New York Times has referred to him as one of the top three business gurus in the highest demand as a speaker. He is a strategic advisor to executives from Fortune 500 companies, helping them to accelerate innovation and results by develop game-changing strategies based on his proven methodologies for capitalizing on technology innovations and their future impact. His client list includes companies such as Microsoft, GE, American Express, Google, Deloitte, Procter & Gamble, Honda, and IBM. He is the author of seven books, including The New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller Flash Foresight, and his latest book The Anticipatory Organization. He is a featured writer with millions of monthly readers on the topics of innovation, change and the future and has appeared in Harvard Business Review, Wired, CNBC, and Huffington Post to name a few. He has been the featured subject of several PBS television specials and has appeared on programs such as CNN, Fox Business, and Bloomberg, and is quoted in a variety of publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Fortune, and Forbes. He has founded six businesses, four of which were national leaders in the United States in the first year. He is the CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients profit from technological, social and business forces that are converging to create enormous, untapped opportunities. In 1983 he became the first and only futurist to accurately identify the twenty technologies that would become the driving force of business and economic change for decades to come. He also linked exponential computing advances to economic value creation. His specialties are technology-driven trends, strategic innovation, strategic advising and planning, business keynote presentations.